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$500 million or a sense of immortality?

If you were invited to choose between one of the following two options, which would you choose?

1.  A check for $500 million, made out to you personally. The IRS isn't going to touch it. It's absolutely free and clear, and of course, would get you well on the way to being a billionaire.

2.  An increasing sense of the timelessness and immortality of your own being. Caution. You're still going to lose your physical body somewhere along the line, mind you, in this deal.

Personally, I'd go for #2.

Personally, I'd go for #2. Here are some of my reasons.

It's true that I could probably think of some ways to spend that kind of money, or some of it. I could see JoAnn and me on a nice world cruise, for example. I could see myself at the wheel of a shiny new Jaguar motor car, like the one in the picture. Fresh from Britain maybe, or maybe not.

It would be colored British racing green of course, and I admit I’d be thrilled to bits for awhile anyway. I mean, think about it. The comfort and elegance. The speed of it. The luxury of it. The Englishness of it.

I suppose I could become a philanthropist, too, come to that. But here’s what concerns me about #1. At the end of the day, I worry if the $500 million in cash would make me truly happy and meaningful. If it would make me whole. If it would make me free, and fulfill my destiny.

The world needs a calm center

In these dangerous times, the world needs a calm center more than ever before. We ourselves need a calm center more than ever before. And the only place I know where true calm exists is in the eternal love and truth of my own timeless Being.

I find that when I am still, heart opened to the truth of my existence, I sense the presence of true meaning and happiness that is limitless. I realize anew that happiness already exists. I realize that peace and freedom already exist.

It is my own happiness. It is the happiness of my own Being and it is already free, and whole, and at peace. This is what I want to offer and share and experience more than anything else. What is worth trading for this?

What is worth trading for "Intimations of immortality," as I think the poet William Wordsworth named his famous poem? 

The truth of you doesn’t age at all

As I think about these things, some words from the British poet, Rupert Brooke, that I read long ago, come to my mind. The young handsome poet wrote these words shortly before his untimely death in World War I:

“We have built a house that is not for time’s throwing. We have gained a peace unshaken by pain forever. War knows no power. Safe shall be my going, secretly armed against all death's endeavour; Safe though all safety's lost; Safe where men fall; And if these poor limbs should die, safest of all.”

The true promise of aging

I think this is one of the profound privileges of aging -- the true promise of aging -- the opportunity to connect more deeply with the truth of our existence.

When we think of aging, we sometimes become anxious at the thought of becoming increasingly decrepit, perhaps dependent on others. 

But "Be still," it was said, "and know that I am God."

When we are willing to set aside, for a moment, our busy thoughts and preoccupations, and simply “be still," as it was put, we discover what these words really mean.

We find the truth that sets us free. Not an external truth, but the truth of our own being.

I’d love to hear any thoughts or comments you may have on this post.

Bye for now, and God bless.

Picture credit:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5174/5484026814_64f4453cef.jpg

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandra / Always Well Within April 19, 2011 at 1:39 am

I’m with you, Christopher: absolutely #2. As the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.” Any joys that money brings are only temporary and it usually brings an equal amount of suffering and sorrow.

I read a story recently of a rich man who lost everything and ended up on the streets in India. There’s nothing reliable about material reality and it’s foolish to put all our hopes into it. Thanks for wising us up on that!
Sandra / Always Well Within recently posted..1 in 3 Gluten Sensitive Could It Be You

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Christopher Foster April 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm

You’re a jewel Sandra. Just seeing the name of your blog makes me happy. Always well within. It’s kind of a paradox that even if our thoughts are raising a bit of a ruckus for the moment — who we truly are is not bothered at all. So happy to share this journey with you.

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The Vizier April 19, 2011 at 8:39 am

Hi Christoper,

Choice 1 is practical, but choice 2 is wise.

Even if you got a check for $500 million, if you do not have the means to manage or earn that amount of money, it would not be long before you squander away your millions. It’s like how not many lottery winners remain rich.

Having a greater awareness of ourselves and the world around us that arises from our calm center gives us the ability to make the best choices and manage the chaos of change. We have clarity about what is important and what is not. In this way, our actions result in fewer regrets on our part.

Thank you for sharing this lovely article! 🙂

Irving the Vizier
The Vizier recently posted..Rise Up and Live Your Life

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Christopher Foster April 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Irving. You mention having clarity about what is important and not important and I was thinking how much simpler and more joyful our lives become when this is so. In this arena of blogging for example what is important is offering our own spirit and truth as clearly as we can, and what’s not important is judging ourselves or comparing ourselves with others.

How precious is the unique gift we each have to give and in this regard I appreciate so much the unique gift you bring to your world. Blessings.

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Zachary P. Humway April 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I’d choose 2. I’ve been happy with and without money. As long as I can achieve peace and instill that in others, I don’t care what my finances are.

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Angela Artemis April 22, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Hi Chris,
I’d pick #2 as well. If I could be at peace each day with every circumstance in my life – now that would be heaven! I think that’s why we’re here anyway. I believe we’re here to learn that we are always connected to our spiritual source and that all the drama we face in life is merely “effects” that cannot touch or hurt that calm serene spiritual self that we really are.
Angela Artemis recently posted..The Power of Perseverance- A Message of Hope

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Christopher Foster April 23, 2011 at 9:27 am

I’m with you all the way Angela. Thank you so much for sharing your sweet voice of sanity. And thankyou by the way for your lovely post on perseverance, a real gift.

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Joe Wilner April 23, 2011 at 6:23 am

Christopher,

This is a wonderful post! A very important would you rather question. I agree with you that happiness and fulfillment comes from within and is not related to the money, however I’m having trouble looking past the money option.

I guess I want to have my cake and eat it too because I feel if I obtained the money I could develop my spiritual nature and work to find contentment as I would have no financial worries. Deep down inside I know this is irrational, but man its a difficult compromise. Thanks for this existential consideration.

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Christopher Foster April 23, 2011 at 9:23 am

Thanks for your most interesting and forthright comment Joe. Very happy to hear from you. Look, I’ll hold off sending you the $500 million just for the moment while you work on this some more, ‘kay?

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Phil Malmstrom April 23, 2011 at 7:40 am

Ah Christopher, this really is the eternal challenge isn’t it? How to put the material desires and allures of this world in their proper perspective and focus our lives on that which bridges us to God’s Kingdom…

Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with material gain (I’m a big Jaguar fan myself btw… I restored one several years ago. 🙂 ) but we need to be cognizant that all those pleasures are fleeting… temporary… finite. Opening ourselves to the Spirit within is timeless… ageless… and forever.

Wonderful post my friend. 🙂

Have a Blessed Easter Weekend!
Phil Malmstrom recently posted..Thankful Thursday- All the Pieces

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Christopher Foster April 23, 2011 at 9:11 am

Well Phil, you’ve got closer to a Jaguar car than I have. Well done. That must have been a fun project to restore one, the best I’ve been able to do is admire those sweet, graceful lines from afar so to speak. Though I remember now that my wife’s daughter a few years ago gave me a miniature Jaguar to enjoy, about 3 inches long — such a sweet, affectionate gift it was…playful like her Mom.

You have a blessed Easter too.

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Phil Malmstrom April 24, 2011 at 5:55 am

It’s always been, and always will be a “work in progress” I suspect Christopher, but I do enjoy the British sense of elegance it exudes and I agree that the lines on the cars are lovely. It was a rusting, decrepit, wanting vehicle when I got it (re: inexpensive), but over the last 10 years I’ve managed to bring back a good bit of it’s original persona.

Oddly enough, I consider my spirit to be a “work in progress” as well… 🙂

Have a Blessed Day!
Phil Malmstrom recently posted..Thankful Thursday- All the Pieces

RILEY HARRISON May 25, 2011 at 5:07 am

Christopher,
I understand the point you are making but does it have to be “either/or”. Do success and
inner serenity have to be mutually exclusive.
Riley

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Christopher Foster May 25, 2011 at 8:36 am

You’re absolutely right of course Riley. I was kind of presenting an analogy here. I think all analogies break down somewhere along the way… I absolutely think the two can go together. But if push comes to shove and someone has to make a choice…

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Melodie Placencia June 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Christopher,

I have had times when money was abundant and I have had times it was tight. I must say, I was the happiest and had the most peace when I was the poorest. I think it is because I was closer to God at that time. I put all my trust in Him and I knew He would carry me through..which HE did. He is always faithful. Money is temporary and it will not buy peace and joy. Great Blog!

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Christopher Foster June 29, 2011 at 8:51 am

Melodie, thank you so much for these words. And thank you especially for sharing your strong and steadfast spirit here. How right you are, money is indeed very temporary. Blessings to you.

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Hans Aplast July 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Let’s say the price for eternal life is $500 million and ‘tickets’ are being sold right now.

Would you see it as cheating evolution or think – ‘Well, I don’t care about the others, my life is worth more than the lives of others.”?

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