Question: I have struggled with my career and work for all of my life. My wife and I live frugally, not wastefully, and do our best to be responsible householders. You have said that we must first be good householders before we can really do the spiritual work we need to. It seems that the “householder” part of my life has always been very up and down. Does not ever being satisfied with any job mean I need to be more grounded somehow before I can move forward with my spiritual life?
Answer: A good householder is not someone with lots of goods; he is a man who takes care of himself and his family by working in and through whatever he must in order to achieve the basic needs; he has pride in what he does, but is not proud. A good householder is someone who understands that his first order of business is the good of his interior house, so that he can’t be deceived by a world that would sell him the “house” of someone else, at the cost of losing his own. Lastly, a good householder understands that until he is doing the very best he can to have his outer house in order, he can’t possibly succeed with his inner house. But this doesn’t mean he’s trying to “win” at what must be done, only that he doesn’t accept losing as his fate, and so persists until some kind of foundation is achieved upon which he can build accordingly.
If we went through our day tending half as much to the care of God’s business, as we give to our own affairs, then — from the resulting light of gladness seen spreading across the faces of family, friends, and strangers alike — the good truth would be obvious: taking care of God’s business is what’s best for our own!
Question: On the householder’s path, I sometimes find it difficult to stop doing the mental work and start doing the mundane day-to-day tasks. Any suggestions for getting the same enthusiasm in earning our daily bread?
Answer: Life gives us back moment to moment what we give to it… nothing more, nothing less. Give yourself to Truth as best you can in the midst of your everyday work. Come back to yourself. Be awake. Then your work will not only reward you as its nature is intended to — i.e., earnings — but you will earn the contentment that only comes as payment for your wish to be increasingly self-conscious.
Question: What is the healthy and enlightened attitude to have towards my financial responsibility to my family? I find it hard to be at peace with the pressure of bills to pay. I can see how my mind is just reacting to anxious thoughts of dire circumstances that are not likely to come to pass, but of course, there are “real” consequences that can’t be ignored.
Answer: There are certain rules along the path. One of them is that we must do the necessary interior work to first be good and responsible householders before we can hope to hold the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Everything is in scale and levels. God gives us responsibility in direct proportion to our willingness to accept it.
Question: How can one possibly deal with the outer world’s daily duties, and still strive to go deep into the inner world to find peace?
Answer: Diving into the outer world with all of its daily obligations, and striving to go deeply into one’s self are not contradictory ideas. Our present mind sees it this way, but when we will work with true principles, it is right in the midst of the storms that we discover shelter. This shelter has always been there, only waiting to be entered as we see that all storms are self-creations.
Guy Finley explains that being a good householder means that we are able to properly attend to what is practical before what is pleasing. By placing ourselves in this right relationship with our responsibilities, we become better able to discern our true needs from false ones, and find that all we receive from God is good.