It is perhaps true that too much wealth does not addle the brain; but it is very evident that too much wealth addles the spirit of democratic citizenship: "We the People" steadily changes to become: "Everything is about me and mine". This is our sad state of current affairs... which is not only a profound commentary upon politics and economics in our nation, but more importantly, a true reflection of our culture and our religion. Our religion! Most folks who will be voting for Republicans in the 2012 election consider themselves to be "Christian"... and voting so because of their faith... Yet, the Master they declare "Lord" taught a Way that included a deep and radical love for all that was to be enfleshed by nonviolence, justice, simplicity of life, equality for women, and reverence for the Earth.
Even a cursory glance at the life stories and styles, speeches, and policy proposals of the candidates for President, from among the dominant parties, reveals that the one clearly adores money and believes that capitalism is a gift from God (but according to the Master, the love of money precludes one from the ability to love God), and the other as tending us (as much as the political system will allow) towards an increase of concern for the other, an increase in the possibility of justice for all, a clear passion for equality for women, and the great work of building peace and reverence for this precious blue Planet... (all in deep harmony with the Master's story of the Last Judgement -- Matthew 25: 31-46).
The coming election results will reveal whether or not -- at this moment in time -- we are going to choose the democratic spirit and all the hard work it requires, or slip into the haze of an ill-placed trust that the wealthy will create the conditions of justice for all... and while this is of great immediate importance, it is all somewhat beside the point...
The Way as articulated by the Master's words and life, and other luminaries such as Francis of Assisi, Rumi, Meister Eckhart, Mira, Kabir, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen, Paramahansa Yogananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Simone Weil, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Merton, Bede Griffiths, and Dorothy Day shine a very clear light on the Truth of our human predicament: we have been given the breath of life as a free gift to use in the exploration of love and the service of others. One of Gandhi's core teachings was "as the means, so the end". The application of this teaching is the genuine way forward: if we want peace, if we want justice, if we want equality, if we want tenderness, if we want gentleness and harmlessness, if we want respect and dignity, if we want food for all, if we want to save this precious blue Planet: if what we truly want is the good and the beautiful for us and for all, then we enter everyone of our days as servants of love and practitioners of beauty! In other words, "as the means, so the end."
There is no more powerful force on this precious blue Planet than a small gathering of folks who live everyday their dedication and commitment to transformation: "We were created by Love, for Love, to become Love" (Simone Weil). It is possible to live this with passion, with joy, with mutual tenderness, with delightful pleasure abundantly given and shared, and so become radiant beings consciously evolving into love without limits!
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.