1. Why Do You Live Without Money? (A Biographical Intro)

This is the only way I know to live with a clear conscience


The reasons are many.  Here are some main ones:


(A )It's Instinctual.  It's for (B) Political reasons,  (C) spiritual reasons, (D) health reasons (mental & physical health), (E) economic reasons, and because (F) it's just plain fun, seriously:


(A) It's Instinctual


Actually, you and I and everybody lived moneyless, without Thought of Credit & Debt, when we were born. Our true selves already live moneyless.  The rest is bogus illusion.  This lifestyle is the nature and desire of children. Any child or young person I talk to, not yet too programmed by the Man, thinks it's cool.


All creatures, all the universe, outside the walls of commercial civilization live moneyless.  That's why nature, outside civilization's constricts, is perfectly balanced.  Yet no nation on earth, even with its PhD economists, can even balance its budget!


(B) Political


This requires little explanation.  Look at politics.  Look at America's & the world's rampant materialism.  Look at the droves of churches backing these politics, trying to hide greed under masks of piety.  Look at corporations, world trade. Need I say more?  Their fruit speaks for itself.


(C) Spiritual


Mixed with my kid instincts, I grew up in an Evangelical Christian home. I took my religion seriously. But I started wondering why professed Christians rarely follow the teachings of Jesus - namely the Sermon on the Mount, namely giving up possessions, living beyond Credit & Debt, freely giving & freely taking, giving, expecting nothing in return, forgiving all debts, owing nobody a thing, living beyond payback of either evil-for-evil or good-for-good, living and walking without guilt (debt), without grudge (debt), without judgment (credit & debt), living by Grace (Gratis, not by our own works but by the works of the true Nature flowing through us).


As I grew older, opening up my mind, I started learning that these principles of Christianity are the principles of every religion - like Taoism, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Mormonism, Shamanism, Paganism, etc. (Despite the institutionalized bastardizations of each of these religions, selling their Spirit for 30 pieces of silver).


No religion has a monopoly on truth.  And those farthest from their own truth are the ones who think themselves the only true church.  The core principles of the world's religions are the very principles of Nature, "the Law written on every heart." And you know this at your deepest core. Did not Jesus use the examples of the ravens, lilies, rain raining on the just & unjust, sparrows, seeds, and our own hearts, to drive home these points?

However, this brought me to a point where I was sick of studying & blabbing about religion & philosophy, because I did not, could not, practice them. Nobody did, nobody could. Then I entered a phase of cynicism, bitterness, spiraling into clinical depression, & disdain for all religion and talk of things spiritual, disdain for conceptions of God. 


(D) Health


I had lived in Denver & Boulder, Colorado, and decided I was sick of the rat race. So I gave up my job and moved to Moab, Utah. I eventually started realizing that the only way to overcome depression was to simplify my thoughts, let them go. This is Buddhism 101, the inevitable result of anybody wanting to heal. And then I realized my stuff was also my thoughts. As I let go of useless thoughts, I let go of useless possessions. And as I let go of useless possessions, I found more and more that I needed less and less. It was not an effort, but more like a tree dropping its leaves or seeds. And with my possessions, possessions of thoughts and stuff and people, flew away my depression. But this odyssey continued to go even deeper.

Every time I made a resume for a job, signed my name to a document, opened a bank account, or even bought a banana at the supermarket, I felt a tinge of dishonesty, like I was not letting my yes be yes and my no be no. Yup, you know what I am talking about. Everybody does. I was becoming supersensitive to this basic knowledge. Even the slightest seed of dishonesty was just that--a seed. One seed can populate the mind, the whole earth. One dark eye can darken the whole body, the entire universe!

One year I went to Alaska with my 2 friends, Leslie & Mel, in their van & spent the late spring, summer, and early fall there. At first I worked on the docks. But none of it felt honest. So I quit and decided to go on a solo pack trip and try to live off the land for a few weeks. Lo & behold, I ran into a Basque dude named Ander who was also toying with thoughts of living off the land. So that's what we did. We speared fish, ate mushrooms & berries, and lived very well. Then we hit the road, hitch-hiking, and realized how generous people were, and were astonished at the plethora of magical "coincidences" that kept happening to us. Eventually we split up and I decided to hitch all the way back to Moab, Utah, with $50 in my pocket, just to see if I could. When I arrived in Moab, I had $25 left. Then I realized I had only used money for things I didn't need, like snacks and a beer. For the first time, I realized I could live totally moneyless.

(E) Economic


During my time in Alaska, I was also thinking about the concept of the world's debts, banking, corporations, war, and poverty.  My constant mantra was: "Forgive us our debts, even as we forgive our debtors". For I was realizing, more and more, that there really isn't a line of division between physical debt and spiritual debt. Physical & Spiritual debt are Siamese twins. I knew, from gradually becoming liberated from clinical depression, that mental debts, called guilt & vengeance, were inextricably linked with physical debts. And mental debts are also inextricably linked with physical disease. And compassion does not judge debtors but forgives them, just as healers don't judge the sick but heal them, make them whole, accept them as a whole. The love of money, the attachment to Credit and Debt, truly is the root of all evil, all dis-ease, all un-easiness. 


Nothing I am saying here requires research or proof, because all the evidence is right within you.  Just take time to look.


(F) It's Just Plain Fun, Seriously


I became fascinated with Hindu Sadhus, who wander in India without money and possessions. I wanted to become one. A couple years after my Alaska odyssey, I went to India with a close friend, Michael. Actually, since we'd gotten killer-deal tickets to Thailand, we went to Thailand first. There I ran into a Buddhist monk named Sumetho and got whisked away to a Buddhist monastery in northern Thailand, outside Chiang Mai. It was a life-changing experience. Then I hooked up with Michael again and we hopped to India. After wandering in India for a couple months, I ended up at McLeod Ganj, near Dharamsala, where Tibetan refugees are. And the Dalai Lama happened to be there, and I got to hear his talks for a week. Then he turned to us westerners. He said he thought it was admirable that people come from all lands to explore Tibetan Buddhism. But he emphasized that truth is found in every religion, and perhaps only a few could find fulfillment in another faith. Otherwise, he recommended that everybody go back to where they were planted, rather than trying to find greener grass on the other side of the fence. This cinched it for me. What good would it do for me to be a sadhu in India? A true test of faith would be to return to one of the most materialistic, money-worshipping nations on earth, to return to the authentically profound principles of spirituality hidden beneath our own religion of hypocrisy, and be a sadhu there. This idea exhilarated me. I can be a sadhu in America, I thought. To be a vagabond, a bum, and make an art of it - this idea enchanted me.  The idea of it was just plain fun. 

So months later, in the year 2000, that's what I did.


To become as a child is to return to understanding fun.