Below are some the views of Sage Amenhotep on “Luxuries” from his Chapter 16 as provided by Sebai Maa in a recent lecture given by him. These are some of the views that stood out to me:
1) Luxuries stop one from living peacefully.
2) Luxuries cause dependency and weakens a person’s willpower.
3) Luxuries are degrading to the personality.
4) One’s comforts are also luxuries.
5) Be wary of luxuries as they can provide the ego with a false sense of well-being.
6) Luxuries are dangerous to the spiritual aspirant because the ego can be externalized into the object providing the luxury.
7) Living by comfort undermines one’s ethical conscience and destroys one’s peace and causes misery, stress, agitation and can lead one to be a heated personality.
8) Luxuries degrade the personality.
Sage Amenhotep is clear in articulating the negative consequences that beset the spiritual aspirant unaware of the impact of luxuries in his/her life. Intellectually it’s not difficult to see how luxuries can negatively impact a spiritual aspirant on the path. But the impact of ownership of luxuries by a spiritual aspirant on a subtle level is the subject of this writing.
Many would rightfully equate luxuries as the byproduct of wealth accumulation. Objects purchased to “live the good life” are immediate examples of luxuries. Consequently, wealth purchased objects of the wealthy are readily considered to be luxuries. Generally speaking, many acknowledge that wealth/riches strengthens a person’s belief of themselves as an individual among other individuals i.e., promotes egoism.
Not surprisingly those without wealth do not readily consider themselves to be owners of luxuries. However, Sage Amenhotep was not talking exclusively to the rich in this chapter. He was talking to anyone on the path that doesn’t recognize that one’s own comforts are also luxuries based on the impact they have on a person on the spiritual path. Hence all people no matter their financial condition have comforts they should be mindful of.
What Are Comforts?
The Sage suggests that a comfort is any type of object utilized by a person to change that person’s disposition. Consequently, comforts are not items that have to be expensive and often can be afforded by all. Generally, any item used by a person for the purpose of improving how they feel would be a comfort item. Changed feelings from comfort items can be but are not limited to feeling better, feeling good, feeling relaxed, feeling at peace etc., “all” through use of the object. In short, any object that allows the ego to associate the object as the means of pleasure, enjoyment, relaxation etc., would be a comfort. Thus food, clothing, furnishings, personality types, pets, anything can be a comfort item.
How Do Comforts & Luxuries Negate Spiritual Growth & Evolution?
Comforts and Luxuries are dangerous to the spiritual aspirant because the ego can be externalized into the object providing the comfort or luxury. The goal of the spiritual life, Nehast, Enlightenment, Union of the Higher Consciousness with the Lower Consciousness etc. is to turn one’s attention inward where the Divine Essence is “Always Present!” This requires effacement of the ego. However, use of an item for the purpose of feeling good, relaxed, confident etc., places attention outward on the object itself and unconsciously ratifies the belief of the ego that items in the world can provide abiding fulfillment. Items that have become comforts are comforts because unconsciously a person associates their changed disposition to having the item. In short one believes that comfort is found in the object itself.
Finding comfort in objects undermines one’s ethical conscience and destroys one’s peace even though a person may think they feel better having the comfort item. But this is fool’s gold because the item will not last. As all things are temporary and nothing in time and space lasts forever, comfort items will change and have to be replaced. Mistakenly allowing oneself to place a good feeling in an object simultaneously tells the mind to be upset when the item is no longer accessible. Hence times without comfort items are beset with feelings of longing, discontent, stress, and agitation in the mind. This is because the person longs to have the comfort item that now needs to be replaced. All of this happens unconsciously and creates mental agitation which veils knowledge of Self. For those able to keep their mind on the Divine at this time it’s not good as the thoughts are often from the perspective of “I’m a good person, how come I don’t have my comfort item? Why God are you keeping this from me?” This type of thinking is further mental agitation and makes it difficult to realize that all the feelings and agitation the person experiences were self-created.
If it is true that all is a manifestation of that called Pure Consciousness, Nebertcher, The Divine etc., and that all is a manifestation of that One, then intellectually one knows that any luxury or comfort item is composed of the same substance that everything else is composed of. The only difference lies in the “idea” a person has about the luxury or comfort object. The stronger the “idea” about the object and what it represents, the deeper the ratification of the ego of it being an abiding reality. The deeper the ratification of the ego to the object as an abiding reality, the more energy that develops around that “idea.” Energy around the idea then manifests as the myriad number of emotions based on the “idea.” This is agitation in the mind and why Sage Amenhotep said the following about this (I’m paraphrasing):
Desire for luxury and wealth obfuscates your ability to see the Divine in you which is “ever present!”
To conclude I end with additional words from the Sage on this subject:
1. Do not rely on luxuries as they contaminate the mind.
2. One should have a healthy indifference for the desire of luxury.
Dua Sebai Maa,
Dua Seba Dja,
Dua fellow Hmu,