Is it unspiritual to be poor?

Some religious people and theologians believe that it is unspiritual to be poor. They argue that poor people are unaware of the spiritual principles by which our wants and needs are satisfied. Wealth, they say, is a cosmic ‘thank you’ for our contribution to the world. If we have plenty, it’s because we give plenty. If not, it’s because we don’t give enough.

What nonsense! Do cosmic ‘thank you’s’ only come in material form? Does every wealthy person offer above average service to humanity?

What about those who inherit wealth, hoard it, or make their money by trading arms, child pornography, tobacco products, illegal drugs or people trafficking and so on? What about those whose businesses or investments pollute the oceans or destroy the rain forests? And isn’t this insulting to the millions who work hard to provide for themselves and their families without ever becoming rich, many of whom are far more spiritually attuned than the mega-rich?

Spirituality and wealth are not related. You can be poor and unspiritual or rich and unspiritual; you can be rich and spiritual or poor and spiritual. What matters is the consciousness with which you approach life.

However, spirituality and prosperity are related. Spiritually aware people manifest what they need, use it wisely, share it with others and feel good about what they do. That should be your aim too. Enjoy what life has to offer, but don’t get so caught up in worldly matters that you lose sight of the bigger picture.

Do you have to be poor to be spiritual?

Most of the great spiritual teachers (including Yeshua of Nazareth, Prophet Mohamed and the Buddha) had few possessions. Some gave up great wealth to spread their teachings.

So do you have to live in poverty to be spiritual? Not at all. There is nothing inherently spiritual about living on the bread line. Even the Buddha, who turned his back on inherited wealth to live as a humble monk, taught that it is not necessary to deprive ourselves. It is selfishness and greed – not material sufficiency or comfort – that clash with spiritual values.


©David Lawrence Preston, 7.2.2017

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston

How to Books, 2007


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