This is part 5 of 5. If you wish to read or refresh before continuing see:
Warnings & Advice from a Saint, Part 1
Warnings & Advice from a Saint, Part 2
Warnings & Advice from a Saint, Part 3
Warnings & Advice from a Saint, Part 4
Following are some personal comments. Feel free to skip the text in blue to get straight to the “good stuff” from J. Donald Walters.
An Amazing Blueprint
These excerpts from “Material Success” are all found in just a single lesson of a 26-lesson set (lesson 11). This set is an amazing blueprint for how to conduct business and live a life that reflects high integrity, honesty and spiritual values in everyday life. Although sorely needed, this is NOT something taught in any college level course.
A Funny (in a Sad Way) Story
It’s September 2005; I’m working to win a $1.3 million software development contract with a client in St. Louis. My company had already completed a large project for them, and I was on “good terms” with their IT Director, Fred. He wanted me to succeed, he wanted me to get the project.
One problem: Fred said I would have to give him an estimate that showed the work could be completed in 3 months.
I investigated the project request, interviewed the people who’d tried and failed to complete it in an earlier attempt, and crunched the numbers. I came back with 12 to 18 months of effort, more than four times the effort Fred wanted to see. I showed him my estimates and project plan.
He got upset and argued with me about the schedule.
I insisted it couldn’t be done in 3 months.
He looks at me conspiratorially and says, “Well, you know and I know it can’t be done by the end of the year. Just lie and tell management what they wanna hear: you can get it done in 3 months. Then when the third month rolls around and you’re not done what are they gonna do? They can’t pull the plug on you, they’re already committed. They’ll have to let you finish!”
I protested, “That would be lying. I know there’s absolutely NO WAY it can be done in 3 months! Look at my schedule, even if we add another person…”
Fred shakes his head and, in a condescending father-to-son tone, drops this pearl of wisdom on me, “Scott, sometimes you just have to rise above truth and honesty and do the right thing–lie.”
The Cornerstone for Rebuilding the World
The economic and environmental problems that hold the world in its grasp today could NOT HAPPEN if the principles found in the pages of this work were practiced today. And, guess what? They would work even if only a meaningful fraction of us put them into use daily.
Once this current collapse has run its course over the next few years I predict these 26 lessons will become the cornerstone for rebuilding a sustainable, humane and soul-satisfying new world: one in which business is conducted with concern for the higher good of this planet and all of us on it.
Excerpt #5 from J. Donald Walters’ 2005 “Material Success”
Energy: Your Most Essential Investment
The most important investment to keep at your command is your own energy, mental as well as physical. All human energy is mental primarily. I’ve quoted my Guru heretofore as saying, “The greater the will power, the greater the flow of energy.”
Some of the wealthiest families in the world have been reduced to penury as a result of relying too much, and too passively, on their handed-down inheritance. Your energy can be expanded, quite literally, to infinity. Alternatively, it can contract to virtual nonexistence. Some of the greatest fortunes on earth have been made by people who started with almost no money, but with great zeal.
Money is one of mankind’s three great delusions, the other two being sex and “wine” (that is to say, intoxication of all kinds, including hallucinogenic drugs).
Money is listed with these three for several reasons.
1) The expectation it gives of happiness.
2) The expectation of security.
3) The false belief that, with money, one becomes powerful, important, and superior to anyone with less money.
With the sense of superiority money very often gives a further delusion: the thought that people without money are worthless. Wealthy people often succeed in imposing this delusion on the poor, making them, by contempt for them, actually feel worthless.
What makes these three delusions supreme is the fact that they strengthen the ego, alienating people thereby from their eternal reality: soul-identity with Infinite Consciousness.
Why Are the Wealthy Often Less Happy?
The delusion that money can bring happiness evaporates not long after its acquisition. Wealthy people are seldom happy. If they are newly rich, they may delight for a time in the thought of being able to buy whatever they want. That delight soon palls, however, for the very desire for things is itself an affirmation of lack, which in turn is a kind of poverty. Though they can remove that lack with money, their very consciousness that they lack anything becomes, in time, a habit!
The more constant they are in seeking fulfillment outwardly, the more difficult they find it to be happy. It is not possible to fulfill every desire; thus it happens that wealthy people are often less happy than those who have relatively little.
In poverty, a person is obliged to limit his desires to the essentials: food, clothing, and shelter. The rich, however, want far more. Their desires are never ending. They want utterly unnecessary “necessities,” necessary, to them, only because they imagine they need them. In fact, these things can become suffocating luxuries; they create an inner emptiness, which people excavate with the shovel of ceaseless desires. Their emptiness of heart may not show outwardly, but it cries to them from within.
The One Way Money Brings Happiness
The proof that money doesn’t bring happiness is underscored by the sad fact that statistics show suicide to be more prevalent among the rich than among the poor.
Money, ultimately, brings happiness only if it is shared. When it is used generously to help others, one feels happy in himself and finds his happiness expanding to include others’ well-being.
Money, in this case, can be a real blessing, not a misfortune. Rich people who center their attention on themselves, and on their own needs and interests, find the initial sense of self-expansion which comes with the acquisition of wealth shrinking in an ever-tightening vice.
None of this is to say that wealth is, in itself, a misfortune. Everything can be enjoyed, provided certain basic conditions are met:
1) One must enjoy money – indeed, all things – in moderation. One must rigidly exclude the temptation to define himself by them.
2) He must employ his gifts to be of help to others also, and not only for selfish ends.
3) He must develop non-attachment, realizing that nothing possessed can be permanently one’s own.
4) One must understand that the source of all happiness lies in oneself, never in outside things. One must develop an inner life – particularly by meditation, and by offering himself to God.
Include Others in Your Investments
Sharing with others is particularly important when it comes to simplifying your lifestyle. Simplicity will probably be more natural to country living.
Do you, personally, know how to grow food? how to build a home? how to maintain a home? If you want to live alone, or with only your intimate family, you may find country living more difficult than you thought.
One of the advantages of living in community with others is that the larger the group, the greater the chance that someone among you will have at least one special skill needed by the community to maintain itself.
Paramhansa Yogananda himself recommended to most people that they pool their resources with a few friends. If you can find a few in your circle of friends who would like to join you in this venture, get them to join you also in investing a certain sum of money. Try, when holding meetings with friends, to agree on a sum that all of you can afford. Help them to understand that this investment is vitally important for their own future safety and well-being.
Let me repeat, Paramhansa Yogananda’s advice to people was to “get land.” This was among the most urgent things I ever heard him say in public talks.
It is important for those joining you to invest at least some of their own funds in this project. Without that commitment, you may find it difficult, later on, to get their help in other vital matters also, when that help is really needed.
If you join hands with others, you will probably want to set up some kind of legal society. I strongly suggest that the basic sum of money people invest be non-refundable. Otherwise, even one person dropping out might cause the whole venture to collapse. At Ananda Village we insisted on the non-refundability of the basic membership fee.
For now, I suggest that each of you take on a special assignment: study one particular aspect of the project. Hold regular meetings to discuss these matters further. It may be wise, initially, to get no more than ten families involved. This figure is not absolute, of course. The main point I want to make is, Don’t admit too many members at first. At the same time, don’t have too few, for too small a number may severely hamper your beginning efforts. The number you envision must be flexible enough, of course, to accommodate actual realities.
Much more might be said on this subject. Some of it will be covered in future lessons. I suggest here, in addition, that before actually moving on such a project, and after all of you feel sincerely committed to this idea, a few of you visit me in India, or visit the people directing our communities in Italy or in America. Try, if possible, to spend some time in one of our Ananda communities; live among us for at least a week. This is a matter in which understanding must come largely by osmosis. It cannot come only through the written or spoken word.
Subtle Forces Are Now Withdrawing Their Energy
Greed is in the process, at present, of attracting global poverty. It is also alienating mankind at present from divine blessings. The universe functions on certain clear principles, which are emphasized in the yoga teachings: loving energy, conscious harmony, mutuality of sharing. It has been said that subtle forces are consciously responsible for plant life on this planet, and that these forces are, at the present time, withdrawing their energy.
People nowadays scoff at this as “superstition.” My Guru said it is a mistake to do so. It is, he said, important not only to draw what we can from nature, but also to give back to it, by praying to God through those subtle entities, and by loving and showing them gratitude. It is an error to treat them as though they had no existence. In seizing what we can only for ourselves, we withdraw ourselves from nature’s abundance. When we do that, nature, in return, withdraws her abundance.
Everything in the Universe Is Conscious
Man, being more conscious than the lower forms of life, has a powerful influence on his environment and, in the aggregate, on the planet. When people live in harmony with one another and with nature, all good things flourish. When people live in disharmony, however, they starve themselves of divine energy. Our planet then reacts with outrage.
Famines, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other natural disasters are on the increase these days. My Guru said it is because of the growing disharmony in people’s hearts.
Develop an attitude of generous giving. Don’t take from life, selfishly. All nature, now, is responding to your love. Feel love for everything, and feel your love expanding like a roseate cloud, blessing and bringing everything joyfully to life.
You and all life are one. You and infinite life forever share together, dancing in rhythms of perpetual laughter and love.
End Note from Scott
These extensive excerpts were created by scanning/OCRing the original lesson and proofreading it carefully. Any mistakes in the transcription are my own. I’ve omitted references to India as well as some of the deeper spiritual sections, including the final inspiring meditation, to make this more accessible to the average secular American. I encourage you to read “Material Success Through Yoga Principals” in its entirety. In light of the current worldwide economic situation the publisher has graciously made it available at no charge online. [link]
“Material Success” is actually a total of 26 individual lessons; the excerpts you’ve been reading are all from lesson 11. The entire lesson set is available for purchase and includes DVDs as well. Proceeds from sales help support the new cooperative community J. Donald Walters has founded in India. This one joins successful communities in Italy and the United States. The first intentional community, the 840-acre Ananda Village in California, celebrated its 40th year in 2008.