We live in a society where people are able to have more and more material things. The net result, however, has not been to make us perfectly happy. Quite often what lies behind affluence is a spiritual void.
This doesn’t mean that wanting to have a house, a car, and a bank account is wrong or shameful. The spiritual void wasn’t created by wanting material things. It was created by turning to externals and expecting them to do what they can’t do. Externals can’t fill spiritual needs.
The saying that a rich man has as much chance to enter heaven as a camel does of passing through the eye of a needle isn’t a condemnation of wealth. It simply points out that money has no spiritual value. Money isn’t the gate to paradise.
Desire must be seen as a path. In the beginning desires are about things like pleasure or survival or power. But in time the path of desire leads beyond these gratifications. They are not baser desires but earlier ones. Just as a child outgrows toys at a certain age, the desire for more and more will eventually lead a person into a natural phase where the desire for God becomes all-important.
Don’t worry about becoming a seeker after God. You have been a seeker since birth, only at first the God you sought was toys, then approval, then sex or money or power. All of these you worshipped and wanted with great passion. Rejoice in them when they are the desires of the moment, but be prepared for them to fall away.
Adapted from Way of the Wizard: Twenty Spiritual Lessons for Creating the Life You Want, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 1995).