In Applied Spirituality - The Monk and the Entrepreneur I talked about the need to increase ones nervous system capacity in order to achieve inner peace and conscious awakening, while ALSO making money, having a family… doing things in the world. In some traditions this is known as the householder path as opposed to the monastic path.
There is another challenge that comes with pursuing spiritual growth and the material world at the same time - a difference in speed
In spiritual growth you are tempted to slow down, to silence the mind, to focus on depth and subtlety and direct experience of the moment.
When playing the game of wealth creation you are tempted to speed up, the mind is active and busy, optimizing, prioritizing, maximizing the output in every moment.
Switching contexts is hard.
When I get on a video call with one of my spiritual teachers things move very slowly. The call might open with a meditation or a breathing practice. We feel into each others hearts. We let things unfold. Imagine squeezing one of these calls in between a packed day of video meetings with founders, investors, business partners. That’s what the path feels like a lot of the time.
Speed vs depth. You have to get good at stretching in both directions.
To play the game of wealth creation you can’t get complacent, you can’t get too satisfied with the inherent truth and perfection of the present moment, you need to keep moving! And yet you can’t let the hectic nature of playing that game wind up your mind so tightly that you are unable to let it go in the next moment.
It truly is difficult. You will be forced to confront the question of how much you really need money. How much wealth do you really need to create? Because doing so brings a certain amount of suffering and makes the pursuit of spiritual awakening more difficult.
But so does struggling with the lower levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy. You CAN be happy and peaceful and awakened with nowhere to live and nothing to eat (extreme example), but it’s just harder.
What’s most important is to make a conscious choice. Discover the right balance of speed and depth for your life, and accept the consequences of that choice.