This is typical of the many question and answer sessions
which took place after nearly all the
and was received in November 1987

Click here for a printable version of this teaching

Q (Question):  I want to ask a question about the validity of the principle of using money to make money.  It is common practice today to earn money simply by investing money in banks or building societies for the interest they pay.  But is this practice spiritually correct?  Could you also comment on the practice of making money by investing in the stock market.  Investors donít really earn their money, they just gamble on shares going up in price so that they can sell them at a profit.  What do you think of this way of making money as opposed to, say, a farmer, who labours all day in his fields for his reward?

ZT(Zen Tao):  Many people today equate money with God or should I say that they replace God with money.  They worship money rather than God.  For them money represents security, stability, a position in society, a cushion against the uncertainties of life, an insurance policy for the future.  The thing they fear most in this world is having no money, because they believe that then they will no longer be in control of their lives and that they will then be subject to the vagaries of fate.  The general belief in God as the father, the protector, the provider for Humanity, no longer has much support.  Most people believe that they alone control their lives, their destinies, and that if they donít look after their own interests, even if it is at the expense of those around them, then, no-one else will.  Such an attitude simply reflects the nature of the times in which you live, Kali Yuga, when God has been replaced by Mammon.  Today money is worshipped more than God.  A man of wealth is accorded more respect than a man of God.

 Whilst recognising that the Law of Karma, the Law of Cause and Effect, is all pervasive with regard to work and the earning of money, that as you work so you will attract the appropriate rewards to yourselves, nevertheless, Humanity has forgotten the reality of the Godhead Who creates and controls every facet of human life.  God is truly the provider of all human needs.  All blessings flow from God.  Once you recognise the true Source, then, a whole new approach to money and possessions must naturally follow.   Just as you, as a father or mother, provide for your children, so God, the Divine Father and Divine Mother, provides for his or her children, the Human Race.  What can be more natural than children asking their parents to provide for their needs and the parents responding if they think that the request is appropriate?  God will always provide your needs as opposed to your greeds.  Indeed, God is aware of your needs and will provide them for you without you even having to ask for them!   If you dedicate your life, your actions, to God, then God will provide for you in every aspect of your life.  Now this does not mean that you donít have to work, that you simply sit back and ask God for everything.  No!  Far from it.  It means that you have to dedicate and offer all work to God and to invoke His blessing on your endeavours, remembering that the fruits of your labours belong to God.  You are simply an instrument in the hand of God, performing Godís Will, according to Godís Plan.  As a wise man once said ď Work as if everything depends on you, and pray as if everything depends on God .Ē  This is the correct approach to take to all forms of work, be it in the home, the factory or the garden.

 At another time I have spoken about the nature of money, which is simply energy.  This energy, stored as money, has either positive or negative attributes, depending on how it was created.  I will repeat again that money only has real value to an individual if it has been earned correctly, with right motivation, through right creation, either in this life or in past lives.  You cannot get something from nothing.  Although it may appear that through gambling or games of chance someone suddenly wins a lot of money, that is not as a result of luck or chance.  Everything is earned by actions in this or previous lives.  Wealth is a great test, a very hard test, because a wealthy person can touch and affect the lives of many people and so can create many opportunities for karmic debt.  I know that you all think that life would be better if you could win a lottery but by so doing you would be embarking upon a major test and would probably encounter situations which would place a great test on your soul integrity.  The lesson of wealth is not an easy one.  Do not be fooled into thinking that wealth equals happiness in life.  Too much or too little money is a testing lesson which leaves its mark on the soul for many lives to come.

 As I have said, money is energy.  Money earned with right motivation, with right action, with right morality, has ten times the value of money earned through usury, through human exploitation, through immorality.  Although it may seem outwardly that one pound is as good as another pound, that one dollar is as good as another dollar, eventually, and I talk now not of days or months, but of longer karmic periods, eventually, perhaps even in other lives, the true value of that money will be revealed.   Let us always remember what is the source of all moneys, of all material things.  It is not the bank manager, it is not your boss, it is not your investment broker.  It is your Creator, Who might act through a bank manager, a boss, an investment broker because God is in everyone.  All are instruments of God.  All, either knowingly or unknowingly, are doing Godís will.  If I may be a little controversial here, I will say that money is for those who do not believe in God!   I say this because if the Creator of all life is present in all life, and if we are one with that Creator, then, why do we need money?  If God knows and meets all of our needs, then, what do we need money for?  That is why it is said that a spiritual master owns nothing but has the use of everything. 

 Now, having said that, of course, I recognise that you live in a world which is based and runs on monetary exchange and, as such, you need money to function in that world.  Nevertheless, you do not have to look too far in that world to see that money is the source of all evil, as the saying goes.  Money equals power and power equals control over peopleís lives and well-beings.  Of course money in itself is not evil.  It is the way that Man uses it that is evil.  Motivation is all-important.  Is it to support a selfless or a selfish act?  Is it for the good of the whole or the individual?  Is it for the benefit of the world as a whole or a particular nation?   It is not for me to comment on how any one individual chooses to earn money, on whether an investment system is ethical or not.  You must be the judge of that.  What is important is the motivation with which money is earned and the use to which it is put.  Wasting money is wasting energy which is, in effect, wasting God.   Be sure that you use whatever money you have wisely.  The very nature of the universe is balance, is harmony.  You do not get something for nothing.  You do not meet with money by chance.  Life is not a lottery.  Through your energy and motivation you will create the wealth that is appropriate to your needs.  Unless you live in poverty, be satisfied with what you have.   Ask of your Creator only that He gives you sufficient for your needs, not for your greeds. 

Q:  So when people steal money, am I correct in saying that that money will be of very little value to them?

ZT:  With very few exceptions I would agree with that statement.  As always one must examine the motivation of the person stealing before leaping to judgement.  It is hard to generalise on so wide a subject as stealing because there are so many levels and degrees.  Even though the law of the land may not arrest and punish you, the all-seeing Law of Karma will always extract a just repayment.  The Law of Karma will always redress the balance and sometimes it may not be in this present life but in lives to come, sometimes it may not be to the individual who did the stealing but to his children or to his children's children.   For example, a soul that has made a large amount of money through the illegal selling of arms, creating great physical misery for many other souls in the process, will perhaps die a rich man but, from the higher planes of life, will then see his children destroy themselves through the wrong use of the wealth that he has created.   Remember that money is energy.  Money that has been correctly earned has a positive energy and when given to someone will effect them positively, will inspire them to use it as a force for good in the world.  But money that has been earned from the abuse of the animal and human kingdoms has a negative energy and in the long term will amount to nothing unless the energy is transmuted.  Finally, I will just say that spending money that you do not have, either as a nation or as an individual, is the path to ruin.  Financial bubbles always burst with a great deal of pain and suffering for all concerned but, then, that is true of nearly all healing processes.

Q:  People have been predicting stock market crashes for years now but nothing has happened.  Governments can prevent such crashes by uniting together.

ZT:  I am not talking of predictions, but of cause and effect.  The nature of the seeds that you sow determines the nature of the harvest.  That is inevitable.

Q:  Why is it that seemingly, in ancient times,  Humanity was at a higher level of spiritual consciousness than it is now?  Why has Humanity regressed or degenerated?  I thought that we were on a path of evolution until I read in a newspaper recently that in this present century, the twentieth century, Humanity has behaved more violently than at any other time in its known history.  Iím really beginning to despair of the human race.

ZT:  Why does a beautiful rose, full of colour and fragrance, have to die?  Why does it not maintain its state of perfection for ever?  Because that is not the nature of life on the Earth where everything has a reason and a season.  All matter on the Earth goes through the same cycle, that is to say, creation, preservation and destruction.  Humanity too is subject to a similar cycle which you identify as birth, existence and death.  The purpose of the roseís cycle, the reason why it dies back in the winter, is only so that it may bloom again in the following summer.  Recognise that the rose will be the same next year as it was this year.  It can only fulfil the nature of its being, it can only manifest the inherent qualities of its seed.  Humanity, on the other hand, being of divine seed, is subject to a more complex cycle.  Not only is it subject to the cycles of the Earth but it is also subject to the cycles of the heavens, the forces that you know as astrology.  The Human Race, on its evolutionary path, which in truth is nothing more than a return to the Godhead from whence it came, experiences the influences of all twelve signs of the Zodiac.   Each sign of the Zodiac dictates an Age which lasts for around two thousand years.  So a complete experience of the Zodiac takes twenty four thousand years.  However Humanity experiences the cycles of the Zodiac first in a positive or clockwise direction and then in a negative or anti-clockwise direction.  Simple mathematics will tell you that one complete experience or cosmic cycle of the Zodiac is forty eight thousand years!  After such a cosmic cycle the Earth shifts on its axis, the poles move, a new cycle is initiated, a new Earth is presented to Humanity and it starts to walk its evolutionary path once more.  But this time it has the experience and the consciousness of forty eight thousand years of Earthly living behind it.  Humanity will have refined itself to varying degrees.  Evolution is a slow process.  It is not something that can be measured by the passing of one Age and certainly not of just one lifetime.

  So I hope you will begin to realise that human evolution is a complex affair.  There are cycles within cycles, so to speak.  Sometimes Humanity does take two steps forward and then one step backward, but always the impetus is onward and upward.  You only have to look at the history of the known world, to witness the rise and fall of the great civilisations, to know that this is true.  Humanity may be just as violent in some areas as it was two thousand years ago but in others it is manifesting its true divinity.  Recognise that there will never be perfection on the plane of Earth.  Heaven will never exist on Earth as long as Humanity has free choice and can act out of a sense of separation from the Godhead.  Human life must be bordered by birth and death, if only because until you die, you cannot wipe the slate clean and begin again.  Until there is an ending there cannot be a beginning.  Everything in creation has a natural cycle which determines its entrance and its exit on the stage of life.  Great civilisations in the past, such as Atlantis and Lemuria, unknown to you today, have risen to physical, technological and spiritual heights greater than you can ever dream of but, eventually, like the rose, they have died.  That is the nature of the human cycle.  The one and only way to escape from this cycle is to become one with the Godhead, to see all Humanity as one race, to love all Humanity as God, to serve all Humanity as God, in fact, to become God. 

Q:  I hear what you are saying but it seems to me that if Humanity is evolving, and if it has been in existence for so many thousands of years, then there should be much more evidence of this fact.  Speaking personally, I have to say that I cannot discern any noticeable evolutionary progression in myself!  I do not think, as I grow older, that I have become a better and a wiser person.

ZT:  As the years have passed by you have become aware that your physical body is decaying.  It is not as perfect as it was in your youth.  It is degenerating as does all matter.  But what is the ĎIí that is doing the observing, that is becoming aware of that fact.  It is separate from the body.  Therefore you are not your body.   So what is evolving is not of matter, it is of spirit.  How do you judge the evolution of spiritual consciousness?  Only from the point of view of spirit!  It is an inner feeling rather than an external vision.  It is an inescapable fact that the population of the world has increased from millions to billions in the last two thousand years and that there are many unevolved souls walking the Earth at this time whose animalistic behaviour tends to camouflage the behaviour of the comparatively fewer evolved souls.  Nevertheless, from my viewpoint, in the higher realms of life, if I compare life on the Earth two thousand years ago with life on the Earth today I am very much aware that the spiritual consciousness of Humanity is greater today than it was then.  Today, many people can comprehend that even though all matter decays and has a finite life they are not subject to such a limitation.  They instinctively know that a part of them will never die.  More and more people believe in life after death, in the principle of reincarnation, in the Spiritual Law that as you sow, so shall you reap.  The consciousness of Humanity is changing.  For example, more and more people today are becoming vegetarian.  Spiritually the Human Race is awakening in consciousness, even though it is a very, very slow process.  I like to use the analogy of breaking a stone with a hammer.  Although you strike a stone with a hammer many times it does not break.  Finally, though, it does shatter.  Now it wasnít that last blow that shattered the stone but the sum total of all the previous blows.  You could not tell, looking from the outside, that the stone had weakened and was ready to shatter.  It is the same with the growth of spiritual consciousness.  It is taking place but you will not see it until some external event will force it to the surface and will reveal it to you. 

Q:  There is a spiritual belief prevalent today that Humanity is devolving, decaying, rather than evolving, that Humanity started in perfection and is slowly but inevitably falling into imperfection, to the point when it will destroy itself and will have to start all over again when God recreates the world perfectly again.  What do you say to that?

ZT:  I am aware of that understanding.  It would seem to me, though, that it all depends which way you are looking on the Wheel of Life.  I have always maintained that time is a cyclic not a linear process.  Hence as you look back into time on the circle you will eventually come to the future and as you look forward into the future so you will eventually come to the past.  It depends upon your viewpoint as to what you see.  Is Humanity devolving or evolving?  Again it depends where you look on the cycle of human existence.  What is important, surely, is that there is a state of perfection to which we must attain or from which we have fallen.  In either case our goal is to reach perfection, to become a perfect human being, in fact to become divine.

Q:  You often use the word service and talk about serving other people, serving Humanity, serving God etc.  What exactly do you mean by service because in my dictionary service implies a master/servant relationship which Iím sure you donít mean. 

ZT:  Service, in essence, is offering your physical and spiritual talents back to the Creator of all life Who gave them to you in the first place, with no thought of reward, financial or otherwise, in the certain knowledge that you are serving Him.  You serve God by serving all of His creations in all their varied manifestations in the four Kingdoms of Matter.  Service, like meditation, is not something that you do at set times and then revert to other forms of behaviour.  It is something that you do every waking minute of the day.  You should see all forms of service as service to God.  Obviously, different people are capable of serving at different levels depending upon their physical and spiritual talents.  A great Master is capable of serving in a much more elevated or soul-conscious way than a relatively unevolved soul, but that in no way makes the service of the unevolved soul any less important than the service of the Master.  Each must serve according to their capabilities.  What is important is that you serve, because self-less service causes the indwelling divinity to bloom within you.  It transforms your heart, broadens your vision, widens your awareness, deepens your compassion and gives meaning and purpose to your life.  If you are feeling lonely, unloved, unwanted, bored with life, then, go out and be of service in whatever way you can.  You will transform your life through service, and only through service.  Service brings human beings closer together and promotes friendship and affection.  It is the source of a true love of God.  Until you can love your fellow human beings, how can you expect to love God.

 The very basis of service is the sacrifice of the self.  As a young child you learn self identity.  You think that you are the centre of the world!  But then your parents teach you of the need to sacrifice to the family unit and to serve the family.  Next you learn to sacrifice to the community and to serve the community.  Next you learn to sacrifice to your country and to serve your country.  Finally you learn to sacrifice to your world and to serve your world in every aspect of its being.  What does the sacrifice of the self mean?  It means releasing all desires and expectations for the self.  It means seeing the oneness in everything, focusing on that which unites Humanity, on what each individual has in common, not on the differences of race, culture or religion.  It means seeing the God in everything, even the most evil person.  It is recognising that in that you help even the very least of human beings you are helping God.

 Every day of your life you are being presented with opportunities for service, to use your divine talents in the service of Humanity.  Therein lies the fulfilment of your being.  Serve the world as if you were serving your Creator in person, because in one sense you are.  Sometimes service can be just a smile, sometimes it can be a few words of comfort or advice, sometimes it can be a meditation or a prayer, sometimes it can be just spending a little of your precious time and energy with someone who is asking for them.  But always be mindful that you are serving not just the individual but God Himself and treat that person as though they were God!  Of course, hand in hand with service must always go discrimination.  You do not help a heroin addict by giving them more heroin.  I know that that is not a very good example but you can see the point that I am making.  You should always serve with the highest interests of the person that you are serving in your heart and with the name of God on your lips.  In your world today, where the concept of social equality has become so distorted, service is generally regarded as being demeaning.  Service implies a social separation between the server and the served, whereas, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.   Separation exists only in the mind, only in the culture, only in that which is impermanent and finite.   The reality is that all is one.  The forms may be different but the spirit is one.  We are all facets of the one diamond - God.   Always remember that service to Humanity is service to God.

Q:  I find it very difficult to see the God in some people.  How can I overcome this?

ZT:  That is because you are looking with your physical eyes at the physical differences.  These differences will always exist because every human being is unique and is playing a different role in the great cosmic drama of life.  Do not focus on the role, focus on the indwelling spirit.  Cultures and creeds may be different but you are all part of one Race, the Human Race, you are all living on one planet and you all have the same destiny.  All people are kin.  They are created with the same likeness, the same build, moulded out of the same material and are imbued with the same divine essence - spirit.  Do not focus on the differences, focus on the similarities.  That will lead you not just to the God in them, but to the God in you.