Chapter 7: Spirituality Is the Ultimate in Luxury
When all psychological needs are fulfilled - when you have learnt the most beautiful music, enjoyed poetry, art, painting, when your psychological needs are fulfilled, you are psychologically healthy - then spiritual needs arise, never before it. Spiritual needs are the most luxurious needs; they come only in the end. They are like flowers.
If a tree is undernourished it cannot have flowers remember it. It will be difficult for it even to have leaves. Flowers are possible only when there is an overflowing energy, too much to contain. Then the tree bursts forth into thousands of flowers, color and fragrance - but it is luxury! A tree in bloom is a picture of luxury, because flowers don’t serve any purpose; they are just a luxury, sheer joy. The tree is enjoying its being, celebrating itself.
Walt Whitman says, “I celebrate myself.” That is the ultimate in luxury, when one starts celebrating oneself. A sheer joy of being!
Then, after psychological needs are fulfilled, the question of meditation, prayer, spirituality, the search for the ultimate source and goal of life, the inquiry into consciousness and its ultimate peaks..
I don’t think, Gerrit Huiser, that you found in poor peasants in Latin America higher spirituality in my sense of the word - it is impossible. But I can understand what you really mean. You must have found them more simple than the rich landlords - that’s what you are calling spirituality. You must have found them more innocent, childlike, than the rich landlords - that’s what you are calling spirituality, higher spirituality.
Obviously, when there is so much poverty, only the cunning and the clever can be rich; the simple and the innocent cannot be rich. When there is so much competition, so much struggle, a certain cunningness is needed, otherwise you cannot be rich - then others will be rich who are more cunning than you.
You must have found.you can find it anywhere: poor people are always more simple, more innocent. But try to understand. It is not because of their poverty that they are simple and innocent: they are poor because they are simple and innocent; it is not the quality of poverty. They are simple and innocent - simple in the sense of simpletons, innocent because they are not intelligent. Their innocence, their simplicity is not a great achievement; it is just like every small child.
Every child is innocent, but that is not much to brag about; it is a natural phenomenon. And every child will have to lose it - unless he loses it he will remain a simpleton. If he loses it and goes into the ways of the world, goes astray, becomes cunning, becomes clever, cheats, does everything that is needed in this competitive life, and one day finds it all futile and drops it and again becomes simple - that is spirituality. That is a totally different phenomenon.