Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

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All FAQ's on 1 page for print-out

All FAQ's on 1 page for print-out 

 

Please feel free to print & copy.  Nothing on this site is under copyright.  These ideas cannot be owned, and I don't even care if you don't give me credit.  They aren't my ideas, but basic Humanity, "The Son of Man," speaking at the core of all of us.

 

Contents

  1. 1 1. Why Do You Live Without Money? (A Biographical Intro)
    1. 1.1 This is the only way I know to live with a clear conscience. 
    2. 1.2 (A) It's Instinctual
    3. 1.3 (B) Political
    4. 1.4 (C) Spiritual
    5. 1.5 (D) Health
    6. 1.6 (E) Economic
    7. 1.7 (F) It's Just Plain Fun, Seriously
  2. 2 2. Do You Think Money Is Evil?
  3. 3 3. What Do You Do For Food?
    1. 3.1 Before I go into details, I'll say it is best if you don't think about where or how  your food will come. 
    2. 3.2 Freegan Diet
    3. 3.3 Wild & Feral Edibles
  4. 4 4. What do you do for shelter?
    1. 4.1 In the Desert
    2. 4.2 On the Road
    3. 4.3 In Friends' Back Yards
    4. 4.4 I also house-sit 
  5. 5 5. What do you do for transportation?
  6. 6 6. Do you get sick from dumpsters & roadkill & living in the cold?
  7. 7 7. Do you take food stamps or other government aid or institutional charity?
  8. 8 8. How long do you plan to live this way?
  9. 9 9. What will you do when you get old?
  10. 10 10. What happens if you get sick or injured?
  11. 11 11. What would happen to society if everybody lived like you do? What if everybody raided dumpsters?
  12. 12 12. You look well-fed and well-dressed; are you a trust-funder?
  13. 13 13. Why don't mooches like you work?
    1. 13.1  I might or might not work 
    2. 13.2 What do you consider work?
  14. 14 14. You say you don't use money, yet aren't you using products of the money system & relying on the hard-earned money of others?
  15. 15 15. What do you do if somebody offers you money or buys things for you?
  16. 16 16. What do you do if you find money?
  17. 17 17. Do you barter?
  18. 18 18. Isn't it hard living your life of asceticism?
  19. 19 19. What about relationships? Don't you get lonely?
  20. 20 20. Has anybody else ever joined you?
  21. 21 21. Do you know of anybody else who presently lives like you do?
  22. 22 22. Do people harass you?
  23. 23 23. Do you want to change the world to a moneyless world?
  24. 24 24. Your ideas sound nice, but naive.  Let's get real.  Don't you think, with all the thieves, the lazy, the mooches & the greedy, that a moneyless, free economy just wouldn't work? 
  25. 25 25. Are you religious?
  26. 26 26. Don't you get scared or discouraged?
  27. 27 27. I want to live moneyless; but what if I have a family with children?
  28. 28 28. You are a hypocrite/ a bum/ mentally ill/ an egotist/ self-righteous, saying you live moneyless. But you can live this way only because you are in a land of wealth & industrious people. Aren't you biting the hand that feeds you? Why do you scavenge off civilization's waste rather than live off the land or grow your own food?
    1. 28.1 Can I compare myself to wild animals?
    2. 28.2 Despite appearances, I am not a primitivist, nor am I against technology
    3. 28.3 It's worth it being called a hypocrite & a bum & mentally ill & an egotist & self-righteous if it brings you to read this right now!
    4. 28.4 It is my duty to scavenge!
    5. 28.5 The generosity of a society is inversely proportional to its waste
    6. 28.6 Who is the real mooch?
    7. 28.7 Anger
  29. 29 29. What about eyeglasses and dental care?
  30. 30 30.  What if I want to be free of money?  Where do I begin?
  31. 31 31. Why are you an extremist? Shouldn't you follow the Middle Way between extremes?
  32. 32 32. How do you maintain your blog and website and do email?
  33. 33 33. What about hygiene?
    1. 33.1 Bathing
    2. 33.2 Soapless Philosophy ~ "Libertarian" Economic Philosophy?
    3. 33.3 **The Holy Act of Pooping, Peeing, Breathing, and Dying in Nature**
  34. 34 34. What About Grooming?
  35. 35 35. What about clothing and fashion?
  36. 36 36. How do you do laundry?
  37. 37 37. Don't you know about grace? Aren't you trying to "work" for your salvation?
    1. 37.1 What does Grace mean?
    2. 37.2 Why Are Jesus' Teachings Avoided Like the Plague by His "Followers"?
    3. 37.3 The Nature of Possessions
    4. 37.4 The Nature of Money
    5. 37.5 Confessing Messiah Come in the Flesh
    6. 37.6 There Are Only Two Religions in the World
    7. 37.7 Grace, the Essence of the World's Relgions
      1. 37.7.1 Orthodox Christianity:
      2. 37.7.2 LDS (Mormon) Christianity:
      3. 37.7.3 Islam:
      4. 37.7.4 Judaism:
      5. 37.7.5 Hinduism:
      6. 37.7.6 Theravada Buddhism:
      7. 37.7.7 Mahayana Buddhism:
      8. 37.7.8 Pure Land Buddhism:
      9. 37.7.9 Sikhism:
      10. 37.7.10 Taoism:
      11. 37.7.11 Krishnamurti Sums It All Up:
      12. 37.7.12 Other Essays in this Website about Grace:
  38. 38 38. Wouldn't Society Fall Apart Without Money? 
  39. 39 39. What Steps Must I Take To Be Free?

 

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

 

 

 

2. Do You Think Money Is Evil?

 

No.  Money is illusion.  Illusion is neither good nor evil.  Attachment to illusion is evil.  Attachment to illusion is called idolatry.    


Few will even question what money really is, because it is so pervasive, like air.  Yet, unlike air, money does not exist outside the mind, but is only pervasive in the mind (unless we get into deeper Buddhist philosophy, which points out that all things arise from mind).    

Contrary to common definitions, money is not gold or silver, cowrie shells or cattle; money is not bills, it is not credit cards, it is not numbers in a bank or tabulations on paper.  Money is purely belief in the head.  Money exists no place else but in the mind.  Money is a strange phenomenon that exists only because two or more people believe it exists.


Where two or more are gathered in the belief of money, money is in their midst.

   

To say that I live without money isn't saying anything, really.  That's like saying I live without belief in Santa Claus.  Now, if we lived in a world where everybody believed in Santa Claus, you might think I'm stepping out on a limb to live without Santa Claus, who never existed.   

 

What if we saw gold for what it is?  Gold is pretty, but virtually useless in most cases.  But somebody decided it has an inflated worth, and everybody decided to believe this decision.  Now few people see gold for its reality, but they see fictitious values.  Natives in North America thought Europeans were utterly insane because of their lust for such a useless yellow substance.


What if we spent as much of our wealth and energy on living beings as we do on guarding and revering gold bars at Fort Knox, gold bars which do nothing, gold bars which don't hear, don't see, don't smell, don't taste and don't speak, and which provide neither food nor clothing nor shelter nor warmth to a single living being!  What if we spent as much of our wealth and energy on living beings and as we do on guarding and revering pieces of paper and coins, as well as numbers in data-bases, which do absolutely nothing, which don't hear, don't see, don't smell, don't taste and don't speak, and which provide neither food nor clothing nor shelter nor warmth to a single living being!  

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; noses they have, but they do not smell; they have hands, but they do not handle; feet they have, but they do not walk; nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.   (Psalm 115:4-8)

Imagine if you had eyes that saw.  Imagine that you had eyes that saw reality rather than your own belief.  Imagine if you saw a $100 bill as a piece of paper with a pretty work of art on it, and nothing else.    

Our real selves live without money, always have, and always will. 

Only our pretend selves can live with and use and own money.  Don't get me wrong, that's not even saying that money is evil, or that to pretend is evil!  But when we think our pretense is reality, this is when we've sunk into disaster.

Think about this, please.  

I am tired of living in the pretend world that thinks itself real.  I am tired of being a pretense.

People of commerce often tell children and people like us to get real, to join the real world. 

Now I want you to reconsider who is really in the real world. 

Really consider this, please!  

It's kind of funny how those most attached to money always tell me emphatically,

'Money is not the root of all evil, but  "The love of money is the root of all evil"!' (quoting 1 Timothy chapter 6, verse 10)

If only they believe what has just come out of their own mouths.   People get emphatic about defending what they most love.  

Alcoholics in denial are quick to emphatically tell you that alcohol isn't the problem, it is dependence on alcohol that is the problem.  They assure you they can quit any time.  Same with a heroin addict in denial or any other addict in denial.  

No, heroin is not evil.  The problem truly is addiction to heroin.  But, I ask you this: do you know of anybody who shoots heroin who isn't addicted?  And I also ask you this, what is more addictive, heroin or money?

  

 Now any AA attender will tell you that the first step in overcoming addiction is to let go of your denial and admit your addiction.  Then you can proceed to the next 11 steps, one at a time. 

 

3. What Do You Do For Food?

Before I go into details, I'll say it is best if you don't think about where or how  your food will come. 


It can be totally different for different people.  The secret isn't knowing where or how your food will come, and never putting your trust in a single source (which could fail tomorrow) but it is simply about having faith, and letting what you need come automatically.  Now you have to ask yourself if these great sages, whom civilizations claim as their guiding lights, were telling the truth or not.  And how can you know if you don't put it to the test and live by faith?  Only a pseudo-scientist, who fears truth, doesn't dare put his or her hypothesis to the test.

 

Do not worry about your life, what you will eat;

nor about the body, what you will put on. . .    

Consider the ravens,

for they neither sow nor reap,

which have neither storehouse nor barn;

and God feeds them. 

Of how much more value are you than the birds? . . . . 

Consider the lilies, how they grow: 

they neither toil nor spin;

and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory

was not arrayed like one of these.   

If then God so clothes the grass,

which today is in the field

and tomorrow is thrown into the oven,

how much more you, O you of little faith? 

And do not seek what you should eat

or what you should drink,

nor have an anxious mind.

For all these things the nations of the world seek after,

and your Father knows that you need these things.

But seek the Kingdom of God,

and all these things shall be added to you.

  --Jesus (Luke 12:22, 30-31)

 
Be really Whole
And all things will come to you

 --Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching 22)


The Sage never tries to store things up.
The more she does for others,
the more she has.
The more she gives to others,
the greater her abundance.
  --Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching 81)

 

As for those who worship Me,
thinking on Me alone and nothing else,
ever attached to Me,
I bear the burden
of getting them what they need.

 (Bhagavad Gita 9:22)

 

Students of the Way,
do not worry about food and clothing.
Just maintain the Buddha's precepts
and do not engage in worldly affairs....
Those who truly study the Way
have never practiced with the priority
of providing for their livelihood....
Moreover, I have never read
the collection of all the Buddhist scriptures
of a single Buddha or Ancestor,
who transmitted the Dharma in the three countries,
dying of starvation or cold.
In this world, inherently each person receives
a certain amount of food and clothing as a gift.
It does not come by being sought after,
nor does it stop coming by not seeking after it.
Just leave it to Fate and do not worry about it.
If you refrain from arousing the mind of Awakening in this life,
excusing yourself on the grounds that this is the degenerate age,
in what life will it be possible to attain the Way?

 -- Zen Sage Eihei Dogen, 1200-1253 AD (from his Shobogenzo Zuimonki)

And do not strain your eyes longing
for the things We have given for enjoyment...,
the splendor of the life of this world...
The provision of thy Lord is better and more enduring.
Enjoin continual prayer on your people;
We ask you not to provide sustenance:
We provide it for you.
But the fruit of the Hereafter is for righteousness.
(Quran 20:131-132)

How many are the creatures that carry not their own sustenance?
It is Allah who feeds both them and you;
for He hears and knows all things.
(Quran 29:60)

The birds have no money in their pockets.

They place their hopes on trees and water.

He alone is the Giver.

You alone, Lord, You alone.

(Guru Granth Sahib: Guru Nanak Dev, p 7)


Q: How can I go through with my devotional practices

when I have always to think of my daily bread?

A: He for whom you work will supply you with your necessaries.

God made provisions for your support before He sent you into this world.

(Sayings of Ramakrishna, # 262)

 

Freegan Diet

 
I freely take what is freely given, with no obligation on either side.  I forage for wild, feral, and domestic edibles.  I also freely rely on human generosity.  I live on waste: dumpster-diving, trash can fishing, table-surfing, and sometimes asking people and food-service institutions for extras and throw-aways.  I don't ask people to give me what they don't intend to throw out.  I also eat roadkill, if it is fresh, of course.  I've eaten squirrel, raccoon, rabbit, and deer, so far.  I've also hunted and eaten ants, grubs, grasshoppers, crickets, termites, lizards, snakes, fish, pigeons, & ducks.

 

I think I'd be a vegan if I used money, unless I could hunt.  I do not want to support or encourage the animal industry.  But I will eat fresh meat thrown in dumpsters.  I hope to talk about the ethics of eating meat later.

 

Wild & Feral Edibles

 
Around Moab
 
When I'm living near Moab in the Utah desert, I eat lots of wild plants.  Plants of the mustard family are  are almost always edible and found year-round, not only in Moab, but around the US.  Watercress is a mustard and plentiful in Utah streams.  Then there is globe mallow, with edible leaves even in winter.  Globe mallow is related to an edible mallow that grows in towns all over the US, too.  Many parts of cat-tail are edible, though only in warmer seasons.  Evergreen needles of all kinds (including pines & cedars) are high in vitamin C & other vitamins & minerals and make delicious tea, which I'm constantly drinking.  Even high in the mountains you don't have to worry about vitamin deficiencies if you think to drink delicious pine & cedar teas.  I often eat prickly pear cactus pads, raw, through the winter, and prickly pear fruits in the summer.  The fruits are delicious & juicy, a lot like kiwi fruit; but you have to scrape off the micro-needles with a stone.  Juniper berries are good for spice flavoring when green, roasting for a coffee substitute, and are good eating straight when ripe (brown-purple colored).  Wild onions are a winter & early-spring treat. 
 
Mormon tea has a little pseudo-fed in it, good for colds, and the bark & buds of trees & shrubs in the willow family (including pussywillow, cottonwood, aspen, poplar, etc) contain a precurser to aspirin, for pain relief in a tea.  Service berries and pinion nuts are a more rare treat.
 
In town I gather fruits& nuts from orchards & feral trees & bushes: mulberry, apple, peach, apricot, plum, almond, walnut, cherry, grape, & rose-hips.  Miniature crab apples are delicious in the winter after they have frozen & dried a bit.  Honey locus beans can be a main staple sustaining you all year long.  The beans can be eaten raw when green, and when dry must be cooked for a couple hours, like pintos.  They are a bit slimy, but high in protein.  Some scholars believe that John the Baptist ate honey locust beans rather than locust and wild honey -- "locust and wild honey" possibly being a scripture mistranslation.  
 
Hitching & Walking
 
Again, I can usually find varieties of mustard anywhere in the US, often year-round.  Fennel is common along roadsides near the west coast, as well as amaranth.  You can eat both the leaves and the seeds of amaranth.  Thistle, related to artichoke, has delicious hearts & young leaves.  I glean farmland & orchards for produce & nuts, too.  I  could go for weeks living on just fruit & nuts on the west coast.
 
I once walked down beach coast of northern California for weeks and lived totally off the land, eating mussels, sea-weed, berries, & shrubbery. 
 
I lived totally off the land in Alaska twice, eating salmon, berries, & mushrooms.  My first time in Alaska I speared salmon with my friend.  My second time in Alaska I found it was actually easier to catch salmon with my bare hands, very slowly moving my hands with patience.
 
Roadkill & Wasted Animals
 
As I've said, I've eaten squirrel, racoon, rabbit, and deer, so far, and hunted and eaten ants, grubs, grasshoppers, crickets, termites, lizards, snakes, fish, pigeons, & ducks.   I can't in good conscience kill animals to eat them if I don't need to, when there are droves & droves of meats thrown away in dumpsters.  It is the ultimate in waste and disrespect when animals live their lives confined in cages, only to be killed and thrown into dumpsters by the tons every day.  It is criminal not only for the animals' sake, but it is criminal when millions of humans on earth are starving. 

Because all we humans know the truth in our hearts,  it's quite ridiculous I'd have to quote scripture here to convince many folks what they already know about the ethics of respecting
animal life:

A righteous person regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.  (Proverbs 12:10)

The lazy person does not roast what he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent person is precious. (Proverbs 12:27)
 
Tyrants Retaining Their Own Waste (Anal Retention)
 
Often when you are caught at a dumpster by store owners, you are treated with contempt.  What if what we considered contemptible and inexcusable were the waste of our society in a world where millions are starving?  What if we considered it contemptible and ridiculous to actually lock up this waste (as most corporate dumpsters are) to keep hungry people from eating, and having the gall to act self-righteous in the process?  Notice how corporate authorities almost always tell you it is "for your safety".  Notice that tyranny in all its forms all over the world is almost always done "for your safety", "for your security".  The corporate tyrant is turning the tables to look like the compassionate one, the intelligent one.  The tyrant is telling you you are not smart enough to take care of yourself.  Simply because the tyrant is a have and you are a have-not somehow makes the tyrant worthy to treat you like a child who can't take care of yourself. 
 
The tyrant is also not speaking his or her own mind, not speaking from the heart, but is speaking a script programmed into him or her by the corporation that is paying him or her.  Notice how the tyranny in humans is not from reality, not from human-ness, but is scripted programming, paid programming.  A human running from the heart and not from a program is not going to guard a dumpster from the hungry.  A human running from the heart has common sense, because he or she is not motivated by dollars and cents, not motivated from fear of losing a job.  This is the secret in human relations, learning how to see the human beneath the scripted program, and appealing to that human.  Believe it or not, there is actually a human beneath the facade of corporate managers and cops and their lackeys.  We all know what it's like to be a paid employee, compromising who we are so we don't lose our jobs.   It's hard.  It's hard for the store manager, for the cop, for us.  But overcoming what's hard to be authentic is the whole point of life.  Learn how to be totally real, totally sincere, with these robots and, as a result, you learn how to wake up the sleeping human within them.  I mean, respect them, as humans.  Never respect them as robots.  You can love a human.  You cannot love a robot, so don't pretend.  Try it.  Be bold, be brave, be real: be wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove.

 

4. What do you do for shelter?

In the Desert

My primary home is a cave in the desert canyon near Moab, Utah. The latest cave I've been staying in is maybe 5 feet wide and 5 feet tall inside and 15 feet back. It has a tear-drop shaped opening, part of a crevice in a cliff wall. I cover it with plastic in the winter & it stays fairly warm even without fire. But I built a little wood heating & cooking stove out of a large tin, with connected cans as a flew, which takes the smoke out a small hole conveniently above the entrance. Just a couple small sticks will cook a meal & make the cave warm & toasty. The cave is very stealth, hard to find, & doesn't even look like a cave even when you're close by. The entrance is south-facing, high on a ledge, meaning it gets sun most days in the winter. I can sunbathe naked up there in the dead of winter while the temperatures are frigid in the canyon below as well as in town!

I usually have a ringtail cat (which isn't really a cat) companion who periodically tries to move into the cave with me. Ringtails are only seen at night, so I feel privileged seeing such a rare sight.

I also usually have a camp or two around town or on the outskirts of town, a place to crash when I'm feeling lazy or can't make it up the canyon at night.  In these camps I shelter myself with tarps or abandoned tents that I find.

On the Road

When I'm on the road I camp in random places, including in groves of trees, prairies, farm fields, sheds & abandoned houses. In cities I've slept in open spaces, parks, on roofs, & abandoned buildings.  On time I camped right by a police station, the least likely place for a cop to look.  College campuses are also a great place to camp.

I usually carry a tarp & sleeping bag with me when traveling. But I've ventured out without tarps or sleeping bags or blankets & have always found everything I needed, like large pieces of plastic or tarps from construction dumpsters & such, and blankets & sleeping bags. Several times I have traveled with a hammock.  I can hang a hammock between trees where the ground is not level or wet.  And I often hang hammocks high in trees in parks.  Most people don't look up, so I can even sleep stealthily in busy parks this way. 

Strangers have also offered me a place in their homes. Whether I've gone out with a lot or nothing, I've never ever found myself lacking shelter & bedding, even at the times I find myself doubting, lacking faith.

In Friends' Back Yards

Friends often offer me their back yards to sleep in.  I once spent several months living in a friend's tree house.

I also house-sit 

People ask me to house-sit for them, because they need their animals, plants, gardens, and yards cared for, and they don't want their pipes to freeze in the winter.  In all my years of living moneyless, I have never asked for or looked for a house-sit, and I do not advertise my house-sitting services.  I often turn down requests for house-sitting, because I often prefer living outdoors.  I sleep much better in the fresh air than inside walls, in winter or summer.  Some winters I have received house-sits for most of the winter.  Some winters I've spent the entire winter outdoors.

Because of house-sitting, with computers available, I was able to create this website.

5. What do you do for transportation?

When I am traveling, I hitch-hike and train-hop.  When I am in town (either Moab or Portland), I walk a lot and ride a bicycle.  There is usually a spare bike around that somebody is willing to give me or lend me.  I can find perfectly good bicycle tubes & tires in dumpsters, and often tools & parts in random places like sides of roads.  I'm often astonished how things come when & where needed.

 

In the summer of 2007, I bicycled from Portland to western Wyoming with friends on an abandoned bike, then headed back by myself to Portland partway on the bike and train-hopped the rest of the way with the bike.  Right after that I bicycled to Seattle from Portland, then all the way down to Sacramento, California, part-way with a friend.  We never had to ask for tubes, tires, spare spokes, or tools, but either found all those things on the sides of roads, in dumpsters, or people offered things to us without us asking.  It astounded me, because previously I had  convinced myself that faith wouldn't really work with a bicycle. 

 

6. Do you get sick from dumpsters & roadkill & living in the cold?

 

All I know is I am sick way less often than when I lived with money.  Yes, I've sometimes gotten a little queezy from being careless, but less so than when I lived a moneyed, sterile life, I can asure you.  I've been sick & vomiting 3 times these past 8 years living moneyless.  Ironically, the first two times were not from my usual dumpster dine-outs, but the first time when a friend had me over to her house for dinner and the second time when a friend bought me food at a restaurant.  The third time I got sick and vomited was when I carelessly ate a poison cactus.

 

The immune system is like your muscles.  If you don't excercise it, it will atrophy, and you will get sick more often.  If you live too cleanly, you will get weak and sick more often.  This should be common sense.

 

I never, ever get colds & flu when I live outdoors, even in below-freezing weather.  The only times I've gotten colds since I started living this way in 2000 has been when I house-sit.  Constantly going from indoors to outdoors, from warm to cold and cold to warm, as well as being in stale indoor air, is hard on the body. 

 

There is nothing more detrimental to health than worrying about health.  I'm not talking about thinking and caring about health, but worrying about health.

 

7. Do you take food stamps or other government aid or institutional charity?

 

No.  I am not opposed to food stamps.  I just don't take them for myself.

 

Neither do I take government assistance (except that I use libraries and walk on roads and sidewalks), and I try not to take organized do-goodism.  If somebody is paid to help me, I prefer not to accept their help.  If they are volunteers, I will take their help.  The philosophy of living this way is to receive what is freely given, from the heart.  I want all my human contacts to be sincere, with no motivation but the motivation of giving itself.  It's about being real.  I prefer to go hungry than to recieve food not given freely.

 

8. How long do you plan to live this way?

I have taken no vows.  I don't know what tomorrow holds, and I'm open to anything.  But the more I live this way, the more absurd it seems to go back to living in the prison of money.  I was unhappy under money and I'm happy free of it.  Why would I trade happiness for unhappiness again?  Why would I trade freedom for slavery? 

 

9. What will you do when you get old?

If I live to get old, I will get old and die, like every living creature.  Who can prevent it.  Who has ever prevented it?  Would it be better to die in a nursing home with tubes stuck in me or would it be better to die in a canyon or by a wild animal or a virus?
 
Sufficient for today is the evil thereof.
 
How many robins or alligators or chimpanzees do you know of who have life insurance policies?  Walk into a hospital geriatric ward and ask yourself if we are any better off than the chimpanzees.  Go ahead.
 
Many religious people freak out when I speak of chance and natural selection, betraying themselves that they do not really believe that God is omnipresent.  If you say "chance", they think you are talking of something apart from God.  But chance is the very mind of God.  Chance sends its rain on the just and on the unjust alike.  Chance is no respecter of persons.  Chance formed me and continues right now to mold me from the dust of the earth.  Chance evolved me from an ameoboid to a human.  Why, after millions of years of honing me down, would chance forsake me now?  To quote a verse in the Bible that Bible-thumpers won't touch with a 10-foot pole:

Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, 
nor the battle to the strong, 
nor bread to the wise, 
nor riches to the intelligent, 
nor favor to the men of skill; 
but time and chance happen to them all.  
--attributed to "the Son of David" (Ecclesiastes 9:11)

Pure and simple, faith is trusting yourself to chance. 
 
Again, don't get all high-minded & smart, you materialists.  If you're a materialistic Darwinist, and you really believe you came about by chance, then why do you not trust yourself to chance?  All science and all religion are one, and all are faith and came about by faith.  Many science minds like to argue with me about this. But I wager that the creative mind, the inventive mind, whether of art, science, or religion, understands what I am talking about.

Have faith.
--Thor Heyerdahl to those skeptical of putting his scientific hypothesis to the actual test
 
If you're a religious, and you really believe that God is all sovereign, why do you think chance is somehow apart from God?  
 
Chance created us. 

Both of you, religious and materialist, can you honestly look at your beautiful hand or your complex brain or your lymph system or your splendid eye and think that the universe is somehow going to fall apart if you stop worrying about it?  What has worry ever accomplished? 

 

On the flip side, do you think you or anybody can ever, ever, ever stop decay and death?  Will worrying make it better?

 

Every moment is death.  Every moment is born again.  Ye must die and ye must be born again.  If you can't embrace death voluntarily right now, do you think it will be easier when it inevitably crashes onto you against your will later?

 

Plan for the future by living your fullest now, by being fully present now.  There is no other way to plan for the future.  There is no other way to be at optimum health, now or in the future.  None.

 

10. What happens if you get sick or injured?

If I or anybody else need help and fellow humans are around to freely help us, then we are meant to be helped.  If a doctor or anybody freely offers me assistance, then I will take it.  If nobody can freely offer help, then so be it.  That's natural selection.  Natural selection is going to eventually select every single one of us physical creatures, without exception, for death.  Natural selection is the Mind of God.  Natural selection formed us, evolved us, from the dust of the earth, and continues to do so.  And Natural Selection will without doubt also knock us off.  Natural Selection giveth and Natural Selection taketh away.  If we avoid natural selection, we stop evolving.  If I am way out in the wilderness and break a leg and die, what's the big deal?  If I don't die and heal or find help, good!  People and creatures have been getting sick and healing and in the end all getting sick and dying for billions of years and will continue to do so.  Why now is it such a drama?  Will getting tubes stuck in you in a hospital and maybe avoiding inevitable Natural Selection for a couple more years lessen the drama? 

 

I compromised a few years ago:

 

I did have a kind of exception, a kind of compromise in my path, a few years ago.  I was at my brother's house remodeling a tool shelf.  I tried to unscrew a baby-food jar (full of nuts and bolts) and it collapsed and shattered in my hand, making a two inch gash in my thumb, cut right to the bone.  I wanted to simply clean it, put butterfly bandages on it, wrap it up, and let it be.  But my sister-in-law was worried I might have cut a tendon or nerve, and kept insisting on taking me to the emergency room at the Lutheran Hospital in Denver.  I finally gave in and let her take me there, though my heart was telling me not to go.  

 

In the emergency room, they put brand new booties on my feet (without asking me) to keep my feet warm on the cold floor.  Then an orderly rolled me to a room on a wheeled cot.  All this surprised me, since I was fully capable of walking.  In that room, several nurses looked at my thumb at different times, then told me they were going to roll me into the X-Ray room, to see if the wound might have broken glass in it.   Then they rolled me back to the other room, where a nurse washed out the wound and told me to wait for the doctor.  He finally came and stitched the wound.  The nurses bandaged it and then placed a fancy net on it.  Besides several hours of waiting, they did not more than 15 minutes work on my wound.  They then sent me to billing.  Since I had no insurance, they told me I had the option of applying for assistance, and that if I declared myself indigent I could have had the bill taken care of.  But I told them I would accept the bill, to mail it to me in Moab, Utah. 

 

The bill arrived in Moab, turning out to be about $1000!  In addition to the stitches, they had charged me an exhorbitant price for the booties, the cart ride, and the X-Ray, all of which were deceptively pushed onto me.  So how did I take care of the bill?

 

I was volunteering at the women's shelter (where I used to be a paid employee), and asked them to put me on the payroll again, but not to give the money to me, but have it sent directly to the hospital.  A month's wages at the women's shelter is about $1000.  After nearly $400 got paid to the hospital, I decided to write the hospital a letter.  I decided to tell them my circumstances, that I didn't take money, and that I was signing all the shelter paychecks over to them, and that I did not want taxpayer money to foot the bill.  But I did tell them that if they thought it ethical for me to pay one month's wages for fifteen minutes hospital work, then to keep billing me, and I would make sure it would be paid.  I had been having mail sent to my friend's house, and found out she was throwing the bills away, thinking she was doing me a favor.  So I called the hospital and asked them to send the bills to another address.  The clerk then looked for my records and then told me, "Our records show your bill is already paid."

 

If I had it to do over again, I would have taken care of the wound myself.  In the case I would have severed a nerve or tendon (which I did not), I would rather have that as my accepted karma than to play those games again.  If it were meant for me to have care from a nurse or medical doctor, I would prefer one volunteer their services to me without pay, independent of a corporation.   Otherwise, I'd rather have a bum thumb.

 

11. What would happen to society if everybody lived like you do? What if everybody raided dumpsters?

Yes, what would happen to society if everybody renounced money and gave up their possessions to the poor.  What would happen if all people stopped taking more than they need?  Then they wouldn't have to throw away obscene amounts of goods & food every day - enough food to continually feed, cloth, & shelter every person on planet earth.  Would anybody anywhere have to raid dumpsters and dig through dumps?  Would anybody have to be ostracized or thrown in prison for speaking obvious truth? 

 

What would happen to society if everybody in Christendom actually practiced the teachings of Jesus?  What if everybody in the Buddhist world actually practiced the teachings of Siddharta Gautama?  And everybody in Hindustan practiced the teachings of Krishna & the Sages?  And everybody in the Sikh world practiced the teachings of the Guru Nanak Sahib?  And everybody in the Taoist world practiced the teachings of Lao Tzu?  And everybody in Islam practiced the teachings of the Muhammad and the Faqirs?  And everybody in the Bahá'í Faith practiced the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh? 

 

What would happen if everybody in "godless" liberalism actually practiced the teachings of Emma Goldman and Henry David Thoreau and Karl Marx and all their unknown heralds who were assasinated for social justice?  If everybody practiced these things, would you have to sell yourself for even one hour a day? 

 

What do birds and fish and lions and mushrooms and bees do?  How do they do it?

 

What would happen if everybody practiced what they themselves know to be true?  Stop pretending you don't know what I'm talking about.

 

12. You look well-fed and well-dressed; are you a trust-funder?

No.  When I say I don't have, take, or use money I mean just that. 

This is the abundant life. 

I have niether poverty or wealth.

Poverty and wealth only exist in the world of possessions and trade.


see What Do You Do For Food?

and What about clothing and fashion?

13. Why don't mooches like you work?

 I might or might not work 

 

Why do you make assumptions about me, a man you've never met? 

 

It is no body's business to judge whether or not I work, and it is not my business to tell! Perhaps when I say the whole point of this lifestyle philosophy is to "freely give, freely receive," I am lying or being a con, and I only believe in receiving, not giving. Perhaps not.

 

The point of this path is to relinquish credit for work, as is proscribed in the Gospels, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, the Buddhist sutras, & the Quran. This means doing service in secret. Credit is money. Credit is praise. If I do service work & advertise it, my living moneyless is in vain.

 

I may be a lazy bum who does nothing, or maybe I'm not. It's not for me to say & it's not for you to judge.

 

Let me let folks in on a secret: life becomes splendidly beautiful when we stop judging (speaking assumption as fact), when we stop worrying about whether or not somebody we have never met might or might not be contributing work, and we do our own work and mind our own business!

 

What do you consider work?

 

Let's use a simple example.  If somebody is paid for taking photographs, you call them employed workers.  If somebody takes photographs for no pay, you call them playboys.  If you act for ulterior motivation, you call it work.  If you act from your heart you call it play.

So, then, let everybody play.  Let us see no distinction between work and play.  Only then will this society work.

 

Also, I ask, do you take more than you need? 

Why do those who take more than they need judge those who take only what they need or even less than they need?

 

You have no problem feeding your cat or your dog whose only work is usually just keeping you company, so why not feed your fellow human being, just or unjust, and not judge whether or not he or she is a mooch? 

 

And, some last questions:

 

Why do most goods flow from the poor to the rich, from the workers to the non-workers, from those who produce (laborers) to those who produce little (bankers and brokers and CEOs and landlords) as it has been ever since the beginning of money civilization?

 

Why is it okay for a typical American child, who holds no job, to play with toys (or not play with them, because he has so many he is bored with them), the same toys which are made by a child overseas who works 15 hours a day in a sweatshop?  

 

Now tell me who are the moochers, and who is taking advantage of whom?

 

14. You say you don't use money, yet aren't you using products of the money system & relying on the hard-earned money of others?

See also #28. You are a hypocrite/ a bum/ mentally ill/ an egotist/ self-righteous, saying you live moneyless. But you can live this way only because you are in a land of wealth & industrious people. Aren't you biting the hand that feeds you? Why do you scavenge off civilization's waste rather than live off the land or grow your own food?

 

Before I answer this, please ask yourself if I am contributing to the money system in any way, and if I am a drain on anybody (i.e., if I take more than I need).  I use things that are already running (whether I existed or not), already thrown away, already given away freely and voluntarily.  I do not steal.  My philosophy is to take only things that are at hand, in the Present, Here & Now, although I sometimes give in and allow people to buy things for me, because they are insistant, though I try to discourage it.  Their desire to be generous supercedes my "regulations", and it turns out a blessing on both of us.  Love is high above regulation.  

 

Now, to answer your question, first with questions:

 

Are swallows nesting in house attics dependent upon money?  Are pigeons nesting on bank skyscrapers dependent upon money?  Are barnacles clinging to aircraft carriers and corals living on buried artifacts dependent upon money?  Are bears and ravens eating out of dumpsters dependent upon money?

 

Nature uses everything, without discrimination.  The money mind is the discriminative mind, assigning "value", but nature uses everything, labeling nothing "just" or "unjust".  The sunlight and rain FREELY fall on everything, both the just and the unjust, the "deserving" and "undeserving".

 

Be like Nature.  Be Nature.

 

Now this is something really, really hard for most adults to get, because it is too simple.  It's hard to get especially if you've spent years trying to support a family or are heavily in debt.  But please get this:  Money is a figment of the imagination, illusion.  Only illusion thinks anything real is dependent upon illusion.  Illusion is real to illusion, but not to Reality.  We humans have become walking illusions, not showing one another our Real Selves.  Let me clarify: if I do something, not out of my instinctual heart, but to get something, I am acting through ulterior motivation, not out of my Being Real!  Money is ulterior motivation.

 

If money were real, then we would start out, as babies, recognizing it.  Squirrels & moths would recognize it, as they recognize air and rocks.

 

The whole point of the spiritual path is to return to Reality, to be free from our bondage to illusion, to idols.  Idols are symbols that we falsely perceive as Reality.  We must see everything As It Is, not as thoughts, not as imaginations, not as symbols, not as likenesses.  Reality says, "There is nothing like Me"  (Isaiah 46:9).   

 

If you still doubt me, please see "What Money Is and What Money Is Not"

 

I do not pretend to be self-sufficient, independent.  I am dependent upon you & you are dependent upon me.  To realize this dependence, in fact, is the whole point of my living this way! 

 

But we are not dependent upon money, despite appearances.  I do rely on the hard work of others just as others rely on the hard work of myself.  Somebody then places totally arbitrary numbers upon that hard work and then says we are dependent upon those arbitrary numbers, rather than upon the hard work!  We confuse our symbols with the reality they represent!  Yes, money is illusion, and nobody can, in reality, rely on illusion.  If you call your work Santa Claus and believe it, then you also believe that I rely on Santa Clause. 

 

Every creature and every atom in this universe relys on the hard work of another.  Every creature, every particle, is a mooch - you included.  If you take more than you need, your mooch-ness is not in balance.

 

Where does virtually all the energy on earth come from, including the energy running this computer?  The sun.  Now when was the last time the sun demanded payment for any energy ever used on planet earth?  When was the last time you even thanked the sun, much less tried to pay it back?  Even if the sun could demand payment, how can anything anywhere pay the sun back?  All energy on earth is freely given!  The energy running this computer system is ultimately from the sun.

 

Now we begin to understand the world-wide myth in most every culture about some trickster stealing fire from heaven.  This myth explains what separated humans from the rest of nature.  See "Our Fall From Grace: Our Departure From Gratis: The Beginning of Money"

  

The Unconscious Trade of Creatures

 

Take a look at non-human creatures.  The only difference between, say, a deer and yourself on this issue is that the deer freely takes grass without any idea of obligation (money, debt).  And some cougar might freely take that deer without any idea of obligation (money, debt).  And some bacterium, and then fungus, might claim that cougar without any sense of debt, returning that cougar to soil.  And grass will then claim that soil without sense of debt.  And a deer will claim that grass without sense of debt, starting the cycle over again.  All is freely given, freely taken, with no sense of barter, debt, money.  And everything gets paid back perfectly, with no debts.  This is called Perfect Justice.  Because this system does not rely on a fictitious idea of money, it is in perfect balance, Perfect Justice.  Then there is clear vision and true gratitude, a true realization of what we are really dependent upon. 

 

 Is there an economy on earth that can balance its budget?   Is there a monetary system that even comes close to being just?  Justice cannot exist within monetary civilization's walls.  There is none just, no not one.  And the more a society tries to balance credit and debt, the more unjust it becomes.  Every nation is unfathomably in debt to every other nation.  How senseless does it have to become before we get it?

 

If you are indignant about your percieved reality that I am dependent upon the money system, should I be indignant about the true reality that you and everything in the world is completely dependent upon Gift, with no strings attached.  Where is the sense of gratitude?  No, if I were indignant about this, then I would not be like the sun, who doesn't even expect gratitude.  But gratitude & true generosity are signs of life, aren't they?  Gratitude & generosity are the very force that drives the universe.

 

15. What do you do if somebody offers you money or buys things for you?

People buying me things:

I prefer that people give me what is already at hand in the present moment.  Sometimes I let people buy me things.  They dearly want to give and just their freely giving is a release from the system of credit and debt.  The spirit of generosity supercedes all.  But I'm liking it less and less to have things bought for me.  It causes too much confusion.  If something is not available in the present moment, then I surely don't need it or want it.  This is the point of not using money.  


Money represents everything except what is at hand.  

And only the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. 

 

People giving me money and what to do with it:

I often try to tell people that I don't take or use money before they try to give me anything.  If they then try to give me money, I refuse it and tell them again, "I am not joking, I really don't take or use money", and I thank them for their intention.  If they don't know I live moneyless and they give me money, I often take it and then leave it some place random, at least within 24 hours.  This way I am accepting people's generosity but not their money, and everybody is happy, including a third party stranger who finds that random money.  Once in a while I pass it on to somebody I encounter who might need it. 

 

Give to everyone who asks.

 

Render to Reality what is Reality and render to illusion what is illusion. 

 

Most people are dependent upon the illusion of money and I respect their need and pass money on to them.  Contrary to conventional wisdom, if I find a beer and I encounter an alcoholic who asks me for a beer, I will give him the beer.  Not giving him the beer won't lessen his alcoholism even a bit.  In fact, I dare say, withholding the beer will make his alcoholism worse.  The root of addictions is lack of love, judgmentalism, not the addictive substance itself.  The next time you feel judgmental toward an alcoholic or a meth addict or feel like you have to parent him, remember your own addiction to money and your expectation that somebody give you money when you feel you need it.  

 

However, it is better not to have any beer to give to the alcoholic,

and it is better not to have any money to give to the moneyholic. 

Then we all have to deal with the reality of circumstances beyond our own power (called the Law of God).  Then the addict faces his addiction without anybody judging him or trying to parent him and you are forced to be creative and give love that goes beyond material things.

 

In other words, 

it is better not to have money than to pay taxes.  

It is better not to have anything that belongs to Caesar, 

because all that belongs to Caesar is unreal.

 

If you depend on money, you are no better than the Caesars who depend on your money.  If you don't want to pay taxes, then don't own money.  Don't be a hypocrite about it.  If you don't like the Wal Marts and the Exxons, then don't buy from them, don't own anything from them, and stop thinking you can't live without them.  Make it up in your mind that you would rather die than be dependent on Wal Mart or Exxon, that you need absolutely nothing from Wal Mart or Exxon or any corporation or bank.  If you think you can't survive without corporations or banks, then you are declaring that you are their life-blood.   They wouldn't be the monsters that they are without you.  Money is their life-blood, and all who rely on their life-blood are one with them.  I don't care what Christian or any  other faith you profess, if you think you cannot possibly survive without corporations, then you believe corporations are greater than God.  And you believe God is not in control, is not sovereign.  If you think you can't survive without corporations and banks, you have no faith, and all your talk of God is utter nonsense.  You are using the name of God in vain.  Then you wonder why the word "God" is so loathsome to people.

 

Everything just written here is one principle.

 

16. What do you do if you find money?

I usually leave bills or coins I find right there, because, as I've said, money only exists in the head.  It's an excercise to see everything as it is, not filtered through the mind of belief.  If my eye lusts after a dollar bill on the ground like it is something special, then my mind is still not the infant's mind.  The infant mind sees everything as it is.  The infant has no thoughts, no value judgments.  

The Infant mind is the Zen mind.  

Except you become the Zen mind, 
you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.  

An infant has no regard for money, because she knows money does not exist.  She does not know money.  She does not know illusion.   She might see a pretty piece of paper with designs & a picture of a man on it, and is attracted to that for what it is, but that's all she sees.  One time I found a $20 bill and decided to play with it in this way.  I cut it up and made a collage out of it.  Bills are works of art - but only a rare few see them as such.
 
However, if there is a person near me who believes in money, I will pick up the coin or bill and pass it on to him or her.  Why? Please see 15. What do you do if somebody offers you money or buys things for you?.  Otherwise, coins or bills usually stay right where I find them.
 
People often say I don't touch money.  If they mean I don't touch coins, bills, or credit cards, they are mistaken.  If they mean I stay away from thought of credit and debt in my mind, they are more accurate (though I am still in the process of letting go of touching money in my mind) 
 
I must make clear that I have no aversion to touching coins or bills or credit cards.  Aversion to touching coins or bills or credit cards is just as superstitious as attraction to them.  Either attraction or aversion to bills, coins, or credit cards is attributing a power to them that does not exist.  Attraction or aversion to coins, bills, or credit cards is idolatry, in other words. 
 
To be attracted to or aversed to anything that has no ears, eyes, nostrils, or mouth is to become deaf, blind, without sense and without taste.  Most adults on earth have become deaf and blind, without sense and without taste.  We become what we trust in. 
 
Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men's hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell;
They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them.
(Psalm 115:4-8)
 
 On whatever form a person continually contemplates,
that same he remembers in the hour of death,
and to that very form he goes, O Kaunteya. 
(Bhagavad Gita 8:6)
 
We die moment by moment.  
And we're born again moment by moment.  
And that which we trust in when we die is that which we become, 
moment by moment.
 

17. Do you barter?

I try not to barter (consciously trade) with other individuals in this world.  But I do trade with the Universe, with God, if you will - as do wild creatures.   Barter (conscious trade) is simply money in a less convenient form.  So you use a cow to trade rather than a coin; what's the difference?  Except that it makes more sense to use a coin or a bill than a cow, if you're going to trade.  Why not use what's more convenient?
  
Better yet, don't use any of it.  Give up all conscious trade.  Just freely give what is needed and freely take what you need and don't think about trade.  Let God take care of trade.  Give up all thought of credit and debt, and only then will everything balance out.  "Vengeance is mine, I will repay," says the Universe.
   
Go to a "progressive" barter fair and you will see what I mean: the same glazed-eye greed as you will see at a Wal Mart.
  
A phrase I use to refer to conscious trade (money and barter) is Thought of Credit and Debt, a term I use for the Judaeo-Christian term, the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the one unique thing that separates us from other animals and from the rest of nature.  Renouncing this Thought of Credit and Debt is the way to return to the Balance of Nature, and it is the principle that drives me into this lifestyle.  In Christian terminology, it is about giving back control of Redemption to the Divine Redeemer, the All.  In Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic terminology, it is about renouncing the fruit (reward) of our action.  It is about doing for the sake of doing, not doing out of ulterior motivation.  It is about Unconditional Love (Grace), not Conditional "Love" (Law), which is not really love. 
  
I discuss our taking on Thought of Credit and Debt in two essays here:
  
  
  
I have been told that trade has been known in nature, particularly primates.  This I do not dispute.  But what I am talking about is conscious trade.  Trade is, in fact, the very Law of the Universe.  Trade is basic physics.  Every Positive must be met with an equal Negative.  Every Action must be met with an equal Reaction.  The world's faiths all describe this Law: the Law of Karma, the Law of Yin-Yang, the Law of Sow-and-Reap, the Law of Recompense.  This Law is, in fact, blatant proof that we have no need to control Credit and Debt.  It happens automatically all around us, else the Universe would fall apart.  You don't have to worry about your next breath when you breathe out.  But we have lost faith in this most Basic Law.  

There have been studies of primates that show, either that they practice what looks like barter, or they have been taught simple trade.  However, when you examine such studies, you find everything shows that such trade in wild nature is not conscious, and, if trade becomes conscious, it must be taught to animals by us--us who have Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Check out these articles:
Chimps Barter For Sex (Live Science)

Yes, this is about bartering with the Universe, with God, if you will.  What you give is given back to you by Jah.  "Payback is Mine, I will repay, says Jah."  What I give to you I really give to Jah, and Jah gives back to me.  There is never a mistake in transaction, no getting gipped, no bargain fighting, as in the world of Canaan (literally, Canaan means "commerce").  How do I know this?  Because Nature is in perfect balance, in perfect Justice, perfect payback, while we have yet to witness any commercial civilization that is just, that can even balance its budget.  The injustice of crimes, both in politics and in the streets, is only a reflection of the injustice of commerce, the attempt to control payback, which belongs to Jah.
  
Is this not what our own religion teaches us?
  
Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times;
And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow 
observe the time of their coming.
But My people do not know the Justice of Jah.
. . . . Because from the least even to the greatest
Everyone is given to covetousness;
From the prophet even to the priest
Everyone deals falsely.
(Jeremiah 8:7 & 10)
  
Give, and it will be given to you:
good measure, pressed down, shaken together,
and running over will be put into your bosom.
For with the same measure that you use,
it will be measured back to you.
(Luke 6:38)
  
It's interesting that even our English word barter derives from the Old French barater, which means "to cheat, deceive."  Cheating is the unavoidable fruit of barter.
 
 

18. Isn't it hard living your life of asceticism?

 
By the common definition of ascetic, I am not an ascetic.  I live the life of abundance.  There is nothing I don't need or want but what is right here and now.  When I lived with money, I was always lacking.  Money represents lack.  Money represents things in the past (debt) and things in the future (credit), but money never represents what is present.  If a dollar bill represented itself, it would no longer be money.  It would simply be a piece of paper with pretty art on it.
 
To be bound to money and possessions is asceticism, self-flagellation, lack, need, debt.  Forgive us our debts even as we forgive our debtors.  To be released from money and possessions is freedom, the end of self-hurt, the end of lack, the end of debt, the beginning of wealth.  To accumulate stuff is to take on poverty and suffering.
 
Why own petty mansions and cars and lands when you can own the whole universe?  When you own nothing, you own everything.  When you own a house & stuff, you have to be in your house & have your stuff to be secure.  When you give up your house & stuff, then you start to realize that every place is your home, everything is yours.  There is no place you can go where you are not home.  There is nobody you have to fear.  You find that everything you need is right at hand and everybody becomes familiar, becomes family.  You can love your neighbor as yourself because your neighbor is yourself and everybody becomes your neighbor. 
 
All that I'm saying you know by direct experience, direct proof.  Deep down,  you know that it is impossible to enjoy the things you have if you take more than you need.  Eat just enough candy, and it is delicious, it is wealth.  Eat too much candy, and it is sickening, it is poverty.  Our society has become sickening.   Those who take only what they need are wealthy.  Those who take more than they need are in poverty. 
 
Taking more than you need betrays you.  If you don't think you are lacking, then why would you take more than you need?  Stop being needy.  Nobody sincerely likes being around a needy person.  Faith is realizing everything you need is right here and right now.  If your hand is grasping something, it can't be open to receive the next blessing.  Take climbing a ladder:  it takes faith to let go of one rung of a ladder to reach the next rung.  Climbing is faith.  It takes faith to lift your foot off the ground to take a step.  You take walking for granted, but every step you take is balancing on the brink of disaster.  It is only because of grace and faith that you can walk! 
 
Give up possessions.  Start trusting!  Be grateful!  Be Grace Full!  Be Generous!  Be Open!  Start walking!  Then walking becomes automatic, natural.  This is faith.  Every particle in the universe is walking.  Every particle in the universe runs on faith.  That which doesn't run on faith is illusion and delusion.  So get out of delusion and join the universe.  Start enjoying life.
 
In old English, want means lack.  To want is to lack.  To lack is to want.  When you trust that everything in the universe is under sovereign control without your manipulation, then that 23rd Psalm you hear on Hollywood funerals will finally take on meaning, and you can say "I shall not want." 
 
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for somebody who takes more than she needs to enter into the Present Moment.

Power is derived from asceticism, from action, from position,

from virtue, from domination, and so on. 

All such forms of power are evil. 

It corrupts and perverts. 

The use of money, talent, cleverness to gain power

or deriving power from any use of these is evil. 

But there is a power which is in no way related

to that power which is evil. 

This power is not to be bought through worship,

prayers and self-denying or self-destructive meditations. 

All effort to become or to be must wholly, naturally, cease. 

Only then that power which is not evil, can be.

--Krishnamurti (p.23, Krishnamurti's Notebook)


Also see FAQ 31. Why are you an extremist? Shouldn't you follow the Middle Way between extremes?

 

19. What about relationships? Don't you get lonely?

I am blessed to be gay.  When you're gay (and especially of an older generation of gays when relationships were not so easy and accepted) you are more likely to learn how to find fulfillment in yourself rather than suffering the delusion that you need another body to be complete.
 
At present I am celibate.  Maybe tomorrow I won't be.  I have taken no vows, but this is just how it so happens to be.  I am happy being celibate.  And I would be happy if a relationship came along.  But there are few people who would be willing to live like I do.  It's funny, too, that the more I live this way, the more asexual and complete I feel.  Some days I yearn for sexual intimacy, and I masturbate.    I am human, of course.  All that is nature is good and to be validated, including sex.  If sexual feeling is wrong then God is wrong.  Sexual feeling created all life.  Seems silly that I'd even have to say the obvious.
 
For more thoughts on relationships, see the essay in this blog: 
 
Whenever I feel lonely, I simply get away from distractions and sit with that feeling.  Then I realize that loneliness is simply a mind thing that I can let go as easily as letting air go from the lungs.  
 
"All the lonely people.  Where do they all come from?"  We have created a society of loneliness.  We think that surrounding ourselves with people and distractions like TV and constant music and  chatter will drive away our loneliness.  But it only makes it worse.  Some of the most lonely people I've witnessed have been couples in relationships.   Then the you see hundreds and thousands of people walking in city streets and cloistered inside cars and suburban houses, all oozing overwhelming loneliness.   
 
When you are not whole in yourself and seek fulfillment in other people, you are doomed to loneliness.  Ironically, when you find fulfillment in yourself, then you are fulfilled being around others.  Then you know love and are no longer a solitary island.  When I am able to live totally comfortably with myself by myself, then I am no longer anti-social.  Then I freely love others.  When I am familiar with myself, then I am familiar with everybody.  Familiar.  Family are.
 
In my moments of meditation in the canyon the questions came to me, "How long do you have to be with somebody before it's considered a relationship?"  And, "How long do you have to be by yourself before you are considered alone?" 
 
I again realized that everything is impermanent and time is relative.  You can never, ever, ever be in a permanent relationship.  Being with somebody for 3 minutes is no different than being with somebody for 50 years, when you see the big picture.  And being by myself for 3 minutes is no different than being by miyself for 50 years.  When you realize this, loneliness ceases.  And you realize that you are by yourself exactly at the right time and you are with people exactly at the right time.  When you give up control and worry, then everything and everybody comes exactly when and where you need it.  Everything.  When you realize this you realize that your brother and sister and mother are everywhere you go in the world.   At first you see in the mirror darkly, then face to face.  You see that your Spouse, your mirror image, is within you, sealed in Holy Matrimony, in the Temple of your body, for time and eternity, not in any temple made with hands.  Only the deluded think they can find a permanent relationship outside themselves, that they can marry somebody else for time and all eternity.  Enter into the Kingdom where there is no marriage or giving in marriage.
 
Once we take on this mind, we become pure, and all things are pure.  Then we are no longer hung up about sex, and if and when sex comes, it is accompanied by eternal love, as is everything else we do.

Maintain the state of undistractedness, and distractions will fly away. Dwell alone, and you shall find the Friend. Take the lowest place, and you shall reach the highest. Hasten slowly, and you shall soon arrive. Renounce all worldly goals, and you shall reach the highest Goal. If you follow this unfrequented path, you will find the shortest way. If you realize Sunyata (the absolute Emptiness), compassion will arise within your hearts; and when you lose all differentiation between yourself and others, then you will be fit to serve others.

   --Tibetan Yogi Jetsun Milarepa (c. 1052-c. 1135 CE) 


 

20. Has anybody else ever joined you?

Yes, a few have traveled or camped with me for periods of time, agreeing not to use any money.  But none who have traveled or camped with me, so far, have actually given up all their money, with the exception of one, Jose, who camped & traveled with me for a few weeks without any money to his name. 

 

The moneyless tribe

 

I first started traveling moneyless down the east coast 8 years ago with a Canadian named Lorelei.  I probably wouldn't have had the courage to start living this way without her.  She taught me how to dumpster dive, something I hadn't had the courage to try before.  Now I can't imagine what I was afraid of.  Lorelei also introduced me to Peace Pilgrim (who lived moneyless for nearly 30 years).  

 

Lorelei & I had visions of becoming a moneyless migratory tribe, and another young woman, Ann, got infected with our vision and joined us.  Later, an Englishman named Dom joined us.  We traveled for a few months together.  It was mostly bliss, though we had our ups & downs, of course.  Our moneyless tribe eventually fizzled away as everything in the universe does. 

 

Satya

 

A couple years later I encountered a wandering, houseless ordained Zen priest named Satya in Portland, Oregon when I was doing forest-defense work.  We hit it off right away.  It's not often you find somebody so devoted to a religious tradition that they actually practice it.  Some time later, Satya and I hooked up again at a Zen hermitage in Marin County, California and then camped out together for a few months in the woods.  Satya is still on his path, living houseless in Portland, though he no longer calls himself a Zen priest.  He doesn't like to call himself anything, now.  He teaches meditation, and often tai chi, for free in public parks.  Not only does he offer his teachings for free, but he also cooks food at borrowed houses and serves it to his students after his classes, for free.

 
[Update:  Satya and our mutual friends, Sara, Vlad, Prema, as well as Memo & Lindsay (whom I don't really know) started up a "temple" house in Portland.  Read about it at
Touching Earth Sangha]

 

Michael

 

I have an old friend Michael, who is now a nateuropathic physician, who has joined me off and on over the years.  He stayed in a cave way up the canyon from mine for a full month (one moon phase to the next) & meditated.  The last time he joined me was a couple years ago.  We stayed in the desert south of Sedona, Arizona and ate mostly wild edibles for a couple weeks, and we meditated.  We got damned thirsty for a stint, too.  It was so much fun.

 

The Jesus Christians

 

In spring 2008, a group of 3 Christian kids (part of a movement called "Jesus Christians"), named Jesse, Grace, and Simon, joined me in Santa Cruz.  At first, I was a bit wary hooking up with them, because my Christian ideas are universalist and I kept thinking they would be narrow-minded like most every "Christian" group I've dealt with.  But I was happy to find that they were open-minded, willing to listen to and see the truth in all religions. In fact, listening to others is a central tenet of their practice.  (This confirmed a hunch I've had, that any Christian who actually practices the teachings of Jesus cannot help but see the truth of other religions.  Open-mindedness, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, is the very heart of Jesus' life & teachings, and without this heart there is no life.  What passes for religion in the world has no heart).

 

They had a U-Haul-converted-to-an-RV they were traveling with, but were willing to ditch it for a while in San Jose to join me.  I decided to ditch my backpack & sleepingbag, too, and we left on what they call a "faith walk", bringing only jackets.  This is the first time I had ever traveled without a backpack.  We walked, hitch-hiked, and mostly train-hopped from the Bay area to Portland, Oregon.  We always found blankets & tarps, and of course food, when we needed them.  When we reached Portland, we camped in the woods near the Willamette River.  I felt extrememly happy and at home with them.

 

The bicycle caravan

 

In June 2008, I bicycled from Portland to western Wyoming to the Rainbow Gathering with 5 friends, Satya, Sara, Vlad, Peter, and Jose  (Satya is the one I already mentioned, who camped with me in Marin County).   My friends went virtually moneyless.  I think Satya & Sara had bought a little grain from health food stores, and Peter might have bought something for his bike.  This is when Jose told me by this time he had no money to his name.  This was my first real long-distance bicycle trip, ever.

 

Renee & Zach

 

A handsome young couple, Renee and Zach, contacted me and decided to join me in the woods by the Willamette River in Portland.  They had zero money and  stayed a night with me, but decided they were not ready.  They were overwhelmed by the city,  and I think they were hoping to leave the city and go with me to the desert, but that wasn't going to happen for a good long time.  I  know just how they felt.  Maybe one day they will come back.

 

Julian & me
 
After I returned to Portland at the end of summer 2008, I met a young dude named Julian with anarchist leanings.  Julian and I bicycled to Seattle & back to Portland.  Then we bicycled from Portland to Arcata, California.  Julian didn't use a cent of money our whole trip.  We ate lots of nuts, wild shrubbery and delicious roadkill (squirrels & deer), as well as the usual dumpster dining.
 
James

James joined me for a couple weeks in the Summer of 2009 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  He started teaching me Tai Chi in the forest by the Rio Grande and opened my eyes to some of its deep mysteries.  We then hitch-hiked  to Las Cruces.

Cody

Cody hitch-hiked into Moab and stayed with me a couple weeks, camping in both in the canyon and in the woods near town, as well as staying over at friends' houses.  I must admit I fell crazy in love with Cody, but he was already taken.

Yolanda

Yolanda came up from the south and stayed with me a while in the winter of 2010, house-sitting with me a while, talking about the philosophy of living moneyless and the spiritual path, & getting to know my circle of friends.  I sort of felt like I had acquired a daughter in her.

21. Do you know of anybody else who presently lives like you do?

Sadhus

Lots of Sadhus in India live without money.

 

Heidemarie Schwermer

 

Yes!  I just recently learned of a woman who has lived without money in Germany since 1996, longer than I have. 

Her name: Heidemarie Schwermer

You can plug her German website sight into Google translation or Babelfish to get a idea of what it says.

 

Mark Boyle

 

I've also been in contact with a guy in England named Mark Boyle who told me he recently gave up money & plans to do it for a year!  He also started the freeconomy community some time ago.  Check it out!

 

Another guy in England

 

I also heard of another guy in England who uses no money, but I forget his name.  I think he lives in London.  Maybe I can find his name again & post it later.  I hear he doesn't do email or techy stuff, and can only be contacted in person.  

 

Voluntarily houseless folks I know who live with very little money

 

My friend, Nick Hougan, has lived in the canyons around Moab for decades, for way longer than I, and he's much older than I.  He is Moab's other well-known hermit (I think he was even featured in Life Magazine many years ago).  He has lived for years on public land, with the rangers constantly harassing him.  But only in the last few years has he figured out a way to live legally on public land.  He got a mining claim for some crystals he found, and he makes a tiny income crafting beautiful jewelry, embedded with a bit of gold he pans from the creek.  One day, when I was going through intense doubt about my lifestyle, I ran into Nick.  He gave me words of encouragement, telling me never to give up.  But it wasn't his words that truly spoke to me.  It was his eyes.  He had clear, sparkling child's eyes, eyes truly alive.  Yes, child's eyes on a man many years older than I.  They shone on me and removed all doubt. 

 

My friend, Satya, whom I've already mentioned.

 

My friend, Prema, formerly known as Gillian, who I think lived moneyless for a short while, but still lives houseless & wanders a lot, often visiting ashrams & such.  She is another spiritual seeker & has been a total encouragement to me.

 

My friend, Machig, another spiritual seeker.  She's bubbling over with contagious & magical love & inspiration, and has lived houseless for some time & wanders a lot.

 
My friend, Ben, who lives in Portland on the streets & in the woods, who camped with me for a bit there.  In many ways he's more hardcore than I, because he sticks out the winters there when I have to go south to dryer climes.  I love being around him.
 
My friend, Peter, who is about my age, also lives in Portland on the streets & in the woods.  He went on the bicycle caravan trip with me & 4 other friends from Portland to the Rainbow gathering in Wyoming.  He's an even-tempered rock of stability, completely content in his niche.
 
My friend, Harold
, a bit older than I, lives by the Colorado River near Moab, & has wandered all over the southwest.  He's super intelligent, like a walking encyclopedia.  Harold recently made it to the highest ranked chess player in the state of Utah for his division.

 

Then there are the other folks who have lived and traveled with me I've already mentioned.

 

I suppose the list will get bigger as I discover more folks.

 

22. Do people harass you?

I get harassed by cops sometimes, especially when hitch-hiking or simply walking.  Simply walking is an odd thing nowadays.  When you don't have a car, you find you don't have equal rights with car-owners.  However, I've only gotten one ticket for hitch-hiking, in California.  

I get harassed at dumpsters now and then, usually by store owners & sometimes their employees.   

I've sometimes gotten cussed at, hooted at, & dirty looks from passers-by when I've been simply walking or hitching.  

I've gotten some negative comments from some friends & family, and some nasty emails & comments from strangers through my blog.  

I got booted out of a cave by a BLM ranger a couple years ago, plus a citation, which I did community service for.   

For the most part, though, I find that people respect me, including most cops. 

23. Do you want to change the world to a moneyless world?

The moneyless world already exists, within us and all around us.  I envision the downfall of the delusion that money even exists outside the human mind.  I envision the downfall of the delusion that anybody owns anything.

 

All of the infinite universe around us exists without money.  Why don't we?  Already, our true selves exist without money.  Already, nobody owns anything.  Why can't we realize this simple truth?

 

Yes, your true self already lives moneyless.  Your self that lives with money is your false self, illusion.  Everytime you give something to somebody expecting nothing in return, you have returned to the moneyless world.  You have laid down your delusions and opened your eyes to the Reality that has already existed and always will.  Everytime you do something spontaneously, from your heart, without sense of debt (obligation), you have returned to the moneyless world, you have become Real.  You have returned to simple Trust.  Either be an imitation or be real.  That part of you who does things out of debt and out of desire for credit is the fake part of you, the part that acts from ulterior motivation.   

 

I know people thinking we need grand plans to restructure the world, to find and work up an alternative system to the money system.  Barter schmarter farter & all that, which is all just money under other masks.  However, the whole point of living moneyless is giving up control, giving up systems, and letting the Law of Nature take its course.  All of our efforts to find an alternative to the money system are in vain.  You can't create Utopia.  Utopia already exists.  And when you stop trying and stop looking for it, it comes.  The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.  The point is to give up effort and let work flow through you - work that is not your own.  Nothing is our own.  If you want to spread the Gospel of moneylessness, of Grace, then simply work from your heart, not from manipulation. 

 

Money is doing unto others that they may do unto you.  The Golden Rule is doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. 

 

 In other words, do, expecting nothing in return. 

 

24. Your ideas sound nice, but naive.  Let's get real.  Don't you think, with all the thieves, the lazy, the mooches & the greedy, that a moneyless, free economy just wouldn't work? 

Let me ask you this: do you think the money system does away with thieves, mooches, the lazy & the greedy?  Have you considered that thieves & mooches & lazy & greedy people might just be a product of the money system?  

The greatest thieves and mooches and lazy and greedy people are at the top of the money system: bankers and stock brokers and CEOs, who not only contribute little or nothing to society, but bleed the goods from the workers at the bottom.  The very pattern of money society since ancient Sumer & Egypt has been for wealth to flow from the workers to the non-workers, from the industrious to the lazy.  When you take more than you need, you are a thief.  The very nature of the system of commerce is robbery and extortion.  

As with creatures in nature, the thieves & mooches & lazy & greedy people return to the natural balance, and if they don't, they are naturally selected out.  Natural selection abhores thieves, moochers, the lazy & the greedy.  Even the very force of people being accountable to each other in a tribal situation usually eliminates even the desire to steal or mooch or be lazy or greedy.  You see it in animal societies & hunting & gathering societies.  

We can see it in our own society, beginning to happen on a temporary scale at Rainbow Gatherings.  There are lots and lots of moochers at Rainbow Gatherings, called "drainbows."  And "So what?" is the prevailing idea.  It's actually amazing how few thefts and what little violence there is at a Rainbow Gathering of 20,000 people, especially compared to a town of the same size.  Towns of the same size, which have police and locks and laws and lawyers, have much more crime.   Think about that.  The Rainbow Gathering still miraculously works out, due to the droves and droves of hard-working, generous people, who don't give a hoot that somebody else might be "taking advantage."  What is taking advantage?  The philosophy is to do, expecting nothing in return.  And that philosophy becomes infectious.  There is a lot of rif-raf at gatherings, and a lot of true compassion that overshadows it.  The idea of compassion is to have patience with thieves, mooches, the lazy, and the greedy, who are people still detoxing from being programmed by the money system.  

When you have been taught all your life that nothing is valuble unless you get money for it, you will initially be lazy, because you aren't paid.  You haven't yet learned the true reward of doing itself, and the reward of community with others, which makes money look ridiculous.  When you have been programmed into thinking that possessing and not sharing are virtues, you tend to steal, and it takes you a while to deprogram from that.  The Rainbow Gathering is a hospital, and those who caretake the hospital have a natural sense of patience with the patients, giving them all the time they need to heal.  You can only be idle so long before you get sick of being idle and start wanting to contribute.  It might take a while, but it happens, naturally.

25. Are you religious?

I dare not call myself spiritual or materialist or a cynic or christian or atheist or pagan or hindu or buddhist or taoist or muslim or whatever, because I am all those things, at one time or another.  To deny any of those is to lie to myself.  Like every human, sometimes I don't believe in God.  I would be a liar if I said otherwise.  To label myself one thing is to reject all others in myself, to not be Whole, to not see all things & all people in myself, including adolph hitler & gandhi, satan & god. I cannot call myself a hand, because I am also feet & eyes & kidneys. What I reject or repress comes back & rules me, whether it is purity or deep dark secrets.  All things are states, all things are impermanent, and to try to label myself as one state is an attempt to freeze that one state in time.  To call myself a day dweller is to deny the coming of night.  To say that I favor summer is to close myself to the deliciousness of winter.

Excuse me if this sounds like I'm repeating commons sense, but it is common sense that most of us forgot:

I honestly don't care what you say you believe, whether or not you say God is a trinity or a pink, polka-dotted amoeba or Personal or Impersonal or even if you say you are atheist or not.  The fruit you bear is everything that confesses who you are (Matthew 7:20).  Judge for yourself: has repeating the Nicene Creed or "Jesus is Lord, Lord" or "Allah Akbar" or the Three Jewels of Buddhism guaranteed anybody would be more loving, any better off? 
 
Our spirits (our lives and actions), not our talk, confess who we are or are not.  Even the self-proclaimed Christians' own Bible tells us not to call ourselves Christian (Annointed One) or any other "spiritual" label:
 
For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you.
Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am Paulian," or "I am Apollian," or "I am Cephian," or "I am Christian."
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?  (1 Corinthians 1:11-13)

People constantly tried to tack a spiritual label onto Jesus:

"How long do you keep us in doubt? If you are the Christ [Annointed], tell us plainly.  Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me." (John 10:24-25

If people asked Jesus what or who he was, he would simply say, "I Am" (John 8:58, Mark 14:62).   If people try to categorize you under a label, or try to get you to be something, all you can say, if you are totally sincere, totally yourself, is "I Am Who I Am."  There is no other being, nothing else, but I Am Who I Am. 

If people ask whether or not you are a Christian, or whatever, the honest thing to say would be what Jesus said, "What do my actions tell you?"

I find I'm not much of anything when my mouth is zipped.  In the end, our mouths and our chattery minds, our beliefs, will be silenced, and all that will be heard is the True Language of Action.  The Quran says this:

That Day shall We set a seal on their mouths. But their hands will speak to us, and their feet bear witness, to all that they did.
(Quran 36:65)
 
Spirits talk in action.  People talk in words.  Any spirit, any action, that does not confess the Word come in the flesh right now, right here, is Anti-Messiah (1 John 4:1-3: notice the present tense!).

In the end, this website & all its words will be gone, and I will stand silent.

That said, the essence of moneyless existence is faith.  But sometimes I have faith, sometimes not.  Sometimes I am myself, I am who I am, and sometimes I am not real.  By accepting my faithlessness and my jadedness, my faith comes back shining more brightly.  Faith is knowing I am who I am and can be nothing else.

26. Don't you get scared or discouraged?

Of course I do.  But scared and discouraged are states that pass, and the sooner I realize that, the sooner they pass.  When I feel scared or discouraged, I go aside and sit with it, witness that feeling, and watch it pass.  Then getting scared or even discouraged actually becomes part of the fun challenge of this whole lifestyle!  I also begin to remember that I am way, way, way less scared or discouraged than I ever was when I was living in Babylon.

 

27. I want to live moneyless; but what if I have a family with children?

Yeah, children & families.  You have a beautiful challenge.

I've been mulling over children and families a lot the past few years, waiting for inspiration. 

 

The answer, of course, is in communal living. But how to bring about sustainable, moneyless, communal living in a capitalist society that thinks "communal" means "Satan" is the big challenge!

 

But, if there's a will there's a way! 

 

We first spark intense inspiration in the masses!  We first spread infectious Generosity, infectious Love!  Begin living communally, right now, right here where you live, within your own city, town, village, or community.  Communalism already exists within our cities, towns, villages and communities right now.  Every time you share with your neighbor, expecting no reward, and every time you receive without guilt, you live communally.  Start cultivating what is already here.  Start freely giving and freely receiving right now, no matter how much debt you have, no matter how much or few "possessions" you have, no matter how many dependents you have, no matter how busy or not busy you are.  If not now, when? 

 

Prepare the ground right now.  When Babylon falls, you already have the foundation established!

 

Notice how, when tornadoes hit a town, when a hurricane, flood, or earthquake hits a city, suddenly money becomes meaningless, and people wake up and start helping each other and sharing (Yes, the greedy looters and thieves also wake up, too; but don’t worry about them.  Let them run their course.  Cultivate your wheat, and let the wheat and the weeds grow together).

 

Communalism must not be imposed politically or institutionally, from calculated programs.  Not of ego works, but of Grace.  It must come from natural instinct, from Love, from a Pure Heart, within.  The solution cannot begin in politics and institutions, as history has taught us over and over.  Was not the Soviet Union a total disaster, as bad as or worse than the regime it replaced?

 

If you are not religious and, understandably, you can’t handle religion, then live generously, communally, without religion (I personally know more non-religious people who practice the principles of religion than those who are religious). 

 

But, if you are religious, starting now, please consider practicing your own religion

 

The genetic code, the meme, that directs us to possessionless, communal living lies dormant at the heart of our very own cultures (all cultures, all world religions), at the very heart of the Spiritual Paths our cultures claim to follow!  It must be awakened, revived! 

 

Ironically, here in America, we have a population that equates “communal” with “Satan” and talks incessantly about “private property rights” as if it were Gospel, though it is as obviously far from Gospel as you can get.  The very scriptures and spiritual traditions that people claim to revere and follow—yes, those scriptures, and the very foundations of our ancient spiritual traditions—are clearly communalistic.  I feel in my bones that to revive this dormant genetic code, already at the heart of our culture, is the key.

 

Here is the Meme, the Genetic Code, in the Seed, waiting to spring to Life through the Water of Love:

Now the multitude of those who believed

were of One Heart and One Soul;

neither did anyone say

that any of the things he possessed was his own,

but they had all things in common.

(Acts 4:32)

 

Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,

and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,  

giving Credit to God and having Grace with all the people. (Act 2:44-47)

Check out what the early Church leaders said.  I begin with Augustine, because, here in America, Augustine is revered (in word, anyway) by both conservative Evangelicals and Catholics:

Those who wish to make room for the Lord must find pleasure not in private, but in common property…. Redouble your charity. For, on account of the things which each one of us possesses singly, wars exist, hatreds, discords, strifes among human beings, tumults, dissensions, scandals, sins, injustices, and murders. On what account? On account of those things which each of us possesses singly. Do we fight over the things we possess in common? We inhale this air in common with others, we all see the sun in common. Blessed therefore are those who make room for the Lord, so as not to take pleasure in private property. Let us therefore abstain from the possessions of private property—or from the love of it, if we cannot abstain from possession—and let us make room for the Lord.

  --Augustine (354–430 CE)

 

I now come to the accusation that most of us are said to be poor; that is not to our shame, it is to our great credit. Men’s characters are strengthened by stringent circumstances, just as they are dissipated by luxurious living. Besides, can a man be poor if he is free from want, if he does not covet the belongings of others, if he is rich in the possession of God? Rather, he is poor who possesses much but still craves for more.

And so it is that when a man walks along a road, the lighter he travels, the happier he is; equally, on this journey of life, a man is more blessed if he does not pant beneath a burden of riches but lightens his load by poverty. Nevertheless, we would ask God for material goods if we considered them to be of use; without a doubt, He to whom the whole belongs would be able to concede us a portion. But we prefer to hold possessions in contempt than to hoard them: it is rather innocence that is our aspiration, it is rather patience that is our entreaty; our preference is goodness, not extravagance. 

  --Tertullian (c. 160–c.220 CE)

 

You are like one occupying a place in a theatre, who should prohibit others from entering, treating that as one’s own which was designed for the common use of all.

Such are the rich. Because they were first to occupy common goods, they take these goods as their own. If each one would take that which is sufficient for one’s needs, leaving what is in excess to those in distress, no one would be rich, no one poor.

  --Basil (329–379 CE)

Now, check out America’s very own, home-grown religion:

The Mormon Meme:

And they had all things common among them

therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free,

but they were all made free,

and partakers of the heavenly gift. . . .

There were no robbers, nor murderers,

neither were there Lamanites,

nor any manner of ‘ites;

but they were in one,

the children of Christ,

and heirs to the kingdom of God.

(Book of Mormon, 4Nephi 1:3,17)

 

And now, if God, 

who has created you,

on whom you are dependent

for your lives

and for all that ye have and are,

doth grant unto you

whatsoever ye ask that is right,

in faith 

believing that ye shall receive,

O then, how ye ought to impart

of the substance that ye have

one to another.

And if ye judge the man

who putteth up his petition to you

for your substance

that he perish not,

and condemn him

how much more

will be your condemnation

for withholding your substance,

which doth not belong to you

but to God,

to whom also your life belongeth;

and yet ye put up no petition,

nor repent of the thing

which thou hast done.

I say unto you, wo be unto that man,

for his substance

shall perish with him;

and now, I say unto those

who are rich

as pertaining to the things of this world.

(Mosiah 4:21-23)

I'm speaking from my own culture, primarily with Judeo-Christian lingo.  If I were in the Middle East, I'd primarily use Islamic lingo.  If I were in India, I would primarily use Hindu lingo.  If I were farther east, Buddhist or Taoist lingo.  Don't get hung up on language, on vocabulary.  Hear this truth carried by all language.

 

28. You are a hypocrite/ a bum/ mentally ill/ an egotist/ self-righteous, saying you live moneyless. But you can live this way only because you are in a land of wealth & industrious people. Aren't you biting the hand that feeds you? Why do you scavenge off civilization's waste rather than live off the land or grow your own food?

See also 14. You say you don't use money, yet aren't you using products of the money system & relying on the hard-earned money of others?

 

Can I compare myself to wild animals?

 

Okay, I'm somewhat like wild animals, but not completely.  I have lived solely off the wild land 4 different times in my life, and I work on an organic farm.  I still supplement my diet with wild edibles & the farm food.  But I am also a scavenger of civilization, like a raven, sort of.  Here's why.

 

In reply to FAQ # 14 above, somebody wrote to me:

 

"BUT they [swallows, pigeons] could live without all of this and they would survive. They just choose an easier way to get food and shelter but naturally they would survive without it...  Would you survive without rests from the supermarkets? Would you survive without your cloths, shoes? Would you be happy without Internet and so on?"

 

These animals would survive or not survive without these products of civilization just as much as we would.  But they would not survive without each other.  I cannot survive without the industriousness of my fellow human, whether it is fire, arrowheads, or clothes.  I cannot survive without human assistance, just as a wolf cannot survive without the pack, or the lion without the pride.  I dare say industriousness & technology would exist with or without money. 

 

If you took away a swallow or pigeon family's attic or building, I guarantee the family would most likely die or at least certainly struggle harshly, just as we would, just as an owl family would if you took away its natural hollow tree.  Take away a sunken ship (product of civilization) & destroy a whole coral ecosystem.  Nature makes no distinction between what's "natural" & what's "not natural."  Nature integrates everything.

 

First, I can take or leave the internet, but it is my instinctual urge to speak my path to the world.  If there were no internet, I'd probably be on an old fashioned soapbox.  I'm glad, though, I can take advantage of the internet.  If the collapse of money means the collapse of the internet, I'm okay with that.  But I believe the internet and all technology can survive and actually come into balance when money ceases.

 

Despite appearances, I am not a primitivist, nor am I against technology

 

The point of my living this way is to be able to go anywhere & do anything, relying on faith to lead me, acknowledging my total dependence upon my human neighbor and my human neighbor's total dependence upon me!  I am dependent upon my neighbor and my neighbor is dependent upon me, not the illusion of money, despite appearances. 

 

Living solely off the land or growing one's own food, quietly living apart from conventional civilization, is a good path.  And I have friends who do it.  If  so-called "self-sufficiency" is what impresses folks, I have lived off the land at four different times in my life, eating only wild edibles: twice in Alaska, once in a long trek down the northern California coast, & once in the Gila wilderness.  I have made many of my own clothes - even now having a winter wool jacket I made.  I have learned how to make fiber cords from plants, animal fur, and to knit & sew.  I am sure I can make my own shoes and forgo my glasses.  However, such things are not so important to me any more.  I have realized I have another path, another duty.  I usually live in a cave or other camps simply because there is no other way I can ethically follow my path without supporting a corrupt system.  But I am not here to prove my self-sufficiency, not here to be isolated from civilization, but to mingle and challenge and cultivate the moneyless freely-give-freely-receive instinct that already exists within everybody within civilization! 

 

It's worth it being called a hypocrite & a bum & mentally ill & an egotist & self-righteous if it brings you to read this right now!

 

You are at this very moment thinking outside the conventional box of civilization, are you not?  It's so worth it to me that you are right now thinking outside the box, even if it means you believe me a hypocrite for using this computer, for scavenging civilization's waste, and putting myself on a soapbox and saying, "Look at me!  Look at me!"  Even if it means you think I am a self-righteous egotist looking down on you, it's worth it, because you are now thinking outside the box.  It's so worth it I'm giggling in my deepest bones.  Why hide the light under a basket?  We humans have been given mouths to speak, and everytime any human opens his or her mouth to speak, isn't he or she saying, "look at me"?  Don't you speak when you need to speak?  Maybe one day my ego will run away with me.  I'm not immune to becoming a ridiculous egotist.  Pray that it not be.  But know that now you are getting challenged to the truth, regardless of what you think of me.  Let me be a fool if it means conventional thinking is challenged. 

 

And, if you profess yourself to be a Christian, are you not most likely right now having to face the teachings of the Jesus you previously ignored, even now getting challenged to look at the Jesus you claim to believe?  It matters not what you think of me, what a bogus nutcase I might be, then, does it?  Let us all be fools if it means bringing down injustice in the world. 

 

It is my duty to scavenge!

 

I feel it is our responsibility to not waste things, to use everything, not to throw perfectly good things into landfills, especially in a world where millions are starving.  And I cannot in good conscience kill a deer or a fish if I don't need to, while there are literally hundreds of fresh dead animals thrown into dumpsters every day.  If I had money I couldn't buy most meat, supporting an industry that has such disregard for living things.  But I will surely retrieve them.  The dignity of their lives must be restored.  In a world where millions upon millions are starving, our waste is obscene and immoral (Yes, I dare use that forbidden word).  I can assure you that, in the USA alone, I see with my own eyes there is enough perfectly good food thrown away every day to feed the entire world.  Most of it is inaccessable, locked away in dumpsters "for your safety" (a common, incessant quote by corporate managers and law enforcement officers).

 

The generosity of a society is inversely proportional to its waste

 

I would be overjoyed if I found zero good food thrown away, and I would be forced to find other moneyless methods to live. 

 

In a less wasteful society, you can't find good food in dumpsters, but you do find more generous people & way more gratitude.  I've traveled abroad & witnessed this myself.  This is why I believe one can live the wandering mendicant's life most anywhere in the world.  Faith works everywhere.  I often have my doubts about places like the Sudan, but maybe that's because my faith is still weak.  But all I know now is where I'm living now, and this is where my duty is.  I'll let the Buddhist bikkhus & the Hindu saddhus live moneyless in Asia, the Christian monks live moneyless in Ethiopia, in lands where there's little waste but greater generosity, and I'll live moneyless here, where there is obscene waste and less generosity, and more fear that somebody might be getting something for free.

 

This is what astounds me.  Why are there few or no protests about our overwhelming greed and waste, yet every day people spew venomous anger at a little freegan folks like me for being a "leech on society" because we take only what we need and grab a few crumbs that fall from the Rich Man's table?  It's astounding.  I ask for nothing, not even food, except occasionally I ask restaurants for food already destined for the dumpster.  Oh, yeah, I do ask for rides now and then by putting my thumb out for rides that are already running.  And I take what is freely offered.  

 

Who is the real mooch?

 

When we take only what we need, all is balanced.  When we take more than we need, this is called greed, theft.  Who takes only what he/she needs?  Please think deeply on this.  I don't even have problems with parasites.  But I wouldn't insult parasites by comparing Babylon to them.  A parasite drains its host.  Yet, a parasite has a place in Nature's balance.  Even so, would you call me a parasite?  Am I draining my host? 

 

I would say Babylon (commercial civilization) is more than a parasite.  It is like a cancer, which destroys both its host and its own self.

   
Do I impose anything on Babylon?  Yet Babylon imposes obscene burdens on most everybody & everything.  Babylon has so raped the land & poisoned the water that few places exist in the world where a person could even live off the land or even grow her own clean food if she wanted to!  Then Babylon turns around and tells us simple folk we are dependent upon Babylon and should be grateful to it for taking a scrap of food that it doesn't even offer freely, but throws out and even puts under lock and key in a dumpster!  It's like a thief who steals your house and home, then condemns you for eating a couple scraps from that stolen home's trash bin!  This is exactly what Babylon has done to the Native Americans.

 

Anger

 

Okay, this turned out an angry answer.  I don't recommend anger, except at rare times.  Anger is a part of the universe and must be validated.  On rare occasions we need to stand up from our lives of gentle equanimity and make a whip and take it to the merchants and moneychangers in the temple.  Anger is not effective if we use it all the time.  And anger is most effective, in fact, powerful, when we use it sparingly.

 

29. What about eyeglasses and dental care?

My old eyeglasses broke several times, and I rebuilt them several times with melted plastic until they looked pretty goofy.  Then they finally disintegrated a couple years ago.  I was kind of happy about it and  decided I didn't need eyeglasses.  It would be like I was in a Monet painting, I thought.  It was, and I was okay with it for about a year.  But I started feeling embarassed because I couldn't recognize my own friends at a distance, and they were thinking I was "stuck up."  I decided I wanted to see more clearly again, and I was mentioning it to a friend.  Another friend, Holly, who worked at the local thrift store, overheard our conversation and told me they had droves of old eyeglasses people donated, and to go and see if any fit my prescription and I could keep them for free.  So I tried on several pairs, and the one that I thought looked most cool (Buddy Holly glasses) happened to be just my prescription.  I've been wearing them since.

 

I have gotten a couple cavities the past decade because I've eaten too many sweets.  I've been daily packing them with pinion pine pitch, which is both a protectant and antiseptic, killing caries germs.  The summer I worked on the fishing boat I slacked in packing my first cavity in a molar and it grew until the pain was excruciating for about a day.  I found my pinion pitch and packed it again, and the pain vanished.  But by that time the cavity was pretty deep, and half my tooth eventually broke off (without pain).  I still have half a molar.  Another tooth recently developed a cavity, which I've also been packing with pitch.  It hasn't been hurting me.  

 

Okay, I must be honest and say that teeth and mosquitos are two things that get me to question the perfection of nature.  But I'm still looking at them as great teachers, even though I haven't quite learned my lesson from them, yet.  I feel that a teacher will not leave, must not leave, or we can't leave the teacher and graduate, until we have learned our lesson.  So, teeth and mosquitos, what are we learning from you?


30.  What if I want to be free of money?  Where do I begin?

You might find what I say disappointing, because I’m not going to give “practical” survivalist advice.  Let me simply say that you must first desire a spiritual base.

I’ve learned a lot since first starting to live moneyless, especially after having folks trying to live moneyless with me.  People sometimes think all their problems will go away if they give up money and join me, that I or some savior will whisk them away to a life of freedom and bliss. 

Giving up money is like giving up drugs 
Giving up money can hurt you if you go cold turkey, and it might get you even more discouraged and disillusioned than before!  It’s not like everything magically becomes easy and blissful.  It can be a magical transformation, however, if you first have a spiritual base, if you first have even a desire for a spiritual base! 

Money is an addiction, and giving up addictions isn’t necessarily the answer.  You will notice that one who tries to give up an addiction usually replaces it with other addictions!  You might give up alcohol and then turn to eating massive amounts of sugar or becoming a control freak.  Why?  Because the problem isn’t the addictive substance, the problem is your emptiness inside.

If you have no emptiness inside, you aren’t going to want more stuff.  You will be content exactly with what you have, here and now.

So, I’d recommend first facing and exposing your empty hole inside, which will then be like a negative magnetic charge attracting its Positive Charge.  Your empty hole will scream to be filled by that Positive Charge, and the Positive Charge will come to fill it.  In Christianity, that Positive Charge is called the Pearl of Great Price.  In Jesus’ parable, a man finds this Pearl and gives up everything he owns to buy it.  If there’s no Pearl, the man can try to give up everything he owns and be empty and lost both inside and outside! 

The world thinks I’m totally wacko living like I do.  They don’t see the Pearl.

I guarantee you would have no problem living without money if I gave you this offer!

So let’s use what the world can understand.  What if I told most any person in the world that I’d give him three million dollars after a year if he gave up his possessions to the poor and lived without money for that entire year?  I guarantee you he would find a way to do it, even without me even telling him how!  And most people in the world looking on would not think him crazy, because people of the world love money!  However, even if there was a stipulation that he couldn’t tell people about that three-million-dollar prize, he would still gladly live without money for that year, because the money is more important to him than people’s opinions! 

Yes, if there’s a will, there’s a way.  First, find that will, the Pearl of Great Price.

Three million dollars is a passing vapor of illusion.  Yet it can motivate most people in the world to do anything, even sacrifice their own health and their own families! 

How much more, then, can Infinite Wealth, that Pearl of Great Price, which never passes away, motivate people?  If people can’t see it, they can’t be motivated. 
 
Here's one last point to think about. The Buddhist sutras speak of how a person doesn't hide something valuable in a valuable box.  He hides it in some thing or some place that looks trashy.  He knows the world judges that which looks poor to be poor.
 
Love is the Pearl of Great Price.
 
Here's another way of understanding this concept.  Everybody, I mean everybody in the world, needs and craves love.  A prostitute has relations with somebody to get money, even if she is only presenting the illusion of love.  She knows people need and crave love.  But if she finds love for her client, she can no longer receive money for her services to him, and if he loves her, he can no longer pay money to love her.

Find love, and all the rest will fall into place.
 
This is discussed more in-depth in Love & Possession - Sex & Money.

31. Why are you an extremist? Shouldn't you follow the Middle Way between extremes?

This is a funny question, when you think about it. 

Are dolphins and mushrooms and prairie dogs extremists?   They have no money, no possessions, after all.

Funny thing is, it was Gautama Buddha who coined the term, "The Middle Way between extremes."  Funny thing is, it was Gautama Buddha who lived his life, as Jesus and Lao Tzu did, without a house, taking only what he needed for basic daily subsistence, and he implored his followers to do the same. 

Every religion teaches Moderation, the way between extremes.  The Buddha's epiphany was that you should neither deprive yourself nor indulge yourself.  He had been living in a culture of ascetics who deprived themselves, and they condemned him for deciding to treat himself to healthy food and living.  Jesus, on the other hand, had been living in a culture of greed, and they condemned him for deciding to treat himself to forsaking addictive indulgences.

Sparrows and slugs and centipedes, living without possessions, using no money, live the Middle Way!  They take no more than they need and they take no less than they need.  "Give me neither poverty nor wealth," the Bible's Proverbs say.  This is my aspiration.  Modern humans, on the other hand, live in extremes.  They live under the principle of possession, which creates extremes not found in wild nature--extremes of wealth and poverty, extremes of obesity and malnutrition, extremes of war and peace, extremes of mental moods, extremes of addictions and asceticism, extremes of hatred and affection. 

Not according to my opinion, not according to religious dogma, but according to the very law of nature, if you but look around you, is this: to live with money and possessions is to live in extremes.  If you think that our inventions of money and possessions have not created extremist stress on our own minds and bodies and environment, think again.

I am not an ascetic. 

Please see the essay, A Culture Living Abundantly Without Money Today, to see an example of a whole culture living completely between the extremes.

If you are the only dry person in a room full of alcoholics-in-denial, they will surely consider you an extremist.  They will also call you self-righteous, even if you say nothing.

See also 18. Isn't it hard living your life of asceticism?

 

32. How do you maintain your blog and website and do email?

 
I use computers at public libraries, colleges and universities, hotels, when they're already running and accessable, and at the houses of friends.  Public libraries are the one exception I take of using "public assistance" funded by taxdollars.  My use of computers and books in libraries causes such minimal drain on taxpaying society as to be insignificant.  And this is the most free way of publishing information to the world that I feel needs to be published, and I don't feel the least guilty about it, any more than an ant, dog or cat should feel guilty for walking on public sidewalks, roads, or parks.  Besides taxes, many people volunteer freely at libraries and have no problem dipping into their basic humanity, dontating their services freely to people whether or not people can pay taxes.  These are the redeeming things in our society that are available for all classes, ethnicities, nationalities, and creeds without prejudice, and are nearest our society can muster to unprejudiced free-for-all air and sunlight. 
 
Again, the philosophy here is to use what is already running, and what is freely given or discarded, to cause little or no footprint where I walk.
 
Besides, when some commentaters in my blog were complaining on my being a "mooch" for using the library they pay for in taxes, another commentater, calling herself Piper, stepped right up to say she also pays taxes and doesn't use the library, and, thus has donated all her library and computer time to me :-)  That silenced the naysayers.  My debt existing only in their minds was annuled by money only existing in their minds, while nothing in reality changed but a few brain circuit patterns, making everybody happy!

33. What about hygiene?

Bathing


In Nature

When I'm in the canyon, I wash in the creek as often as possible, doing a full body plunge, winter and summer.  In the hot Utah desert summer, I plunge into the water and scrub my skin and hair every day, and I plunge in the water for a swim up to four or five times per day.  In the winter, I try to do a full-body creek bath at least once per week, but usually twice per week, on days when the sun is out.  I love plunging into icy water, getting me high and exhilarated, with a warm feeling on my skin afterward.  However, some very cold weeks when I lack energy, I do full body sand baths.  The Quran recommends bathing with sand when one can't bathe in water.  

I do not use soap, except when I'm in civilization, to wash my hands, socks, and underwear, or if I have been doing work with paints, grease, or other substances, or if I've been train-hopping (which gets me full of greasy soot that only comes off with soap).   [See "Soapless Philosophy" below.] 

In Civilization

Many classic Bohemian and homeless types are so greasy and stinky you don't want near them.  Urban homeless types have more of an excuse, since it is often very difficult to find places to bathe when you are on the streets.  But I have found, if you put your mind to it, have self-respect, you can stay clean.  I find bathrooms and park spigots to bathe in.  I have often waited until night time and gotten completely naked in city parks under water spigots.

I would recommend, if you see a smelly homeless person, stop condemning them and, instead, have basic compassion and offer them a shower.  You have no clue how difficult it is for them, so get off your high horse.

I don't let go any opportunity to bathe in civilization, whether in a river, canal, public restroom sink, park spigot or an offer from a house-holder.  If I can't bathe my whole body, I wash my face, armpits, crotch, and feet every day.  Not missing any opportunity to wash feet and socks every day is very important when you're on the road, because feet and socks are the greatest stinker.  I always carry an extra pair of socks, washing a pair every single day, meaning I almost always have a wet pair drying on my pack.  I try to wash underwear and tee-shirts at least every two or three days, too, also carrying an extra of those, too.

It is un-natural to be dirty and stink

Animals have the sense to bathe, primp and preen.  Many "natural" Bohemian types stink so badly it's almost painful to be around them.  Natural doesn't mean lazy, and it doesn't mean lack of respect for yourself and others.  And people automatically think not using soap and skin products also means not using water. 

Soapless Philosophy ~ "Libertarian" Economic Philosophy?


I don't otherwise use soap for two important reasons:  (1) Soap pollutes the creek.  (2) Soap strips my skin of both necessary oils and necessary living flora, disrupting the natural balance.  When the natural balance is upset, you begin to stink, and you then need soap again to wash away the stink, in a mad cycle of addiction.  Why does no wild creature on earth use soap?  Notice how wild creatures' coats and feathers are sleek and shiny, without putrid body odor.  I also noticed, in traveling in close proximity with people on buses in third world countries (Latin America, Southeast Asia, and India)  in the 80s and 90s, I smelled no unpleasant body odors.  But traveling on buses in the USA, people's body odors could be unbearable.  

Long before I gave up money I gave up soap, shampoo, and skin products to test my hypothesis.  Note: I did not give up bathing, but skin products.  I washed constantly with water and nothing else.  My first month or so doing this, my skin and especially my hair were greasy, and I'd develop body odor quickly.  This meant I bathed in water more often.  However, after a month or so, my skin and hair reached equilibrium, and were no longer greasy and smelly.  The natural organic chemistry and living flora of my skin reached balance.  

This is the very principle of living moneyless:  stop manipulating the balance, the balance between credit and debt, and credit and debt perfectly balance themselves out.  If you want wavy water to calm down, get your hands out of it.  This is also the principle of meditation: if you want your thoughts calm, you can't do it with thought.  If you want the natural environment to balance out, stop managing it.  

This is the laissez-faire economic principle that many Libertarians and Randians think they are practicing.  However, true laissez-faire doesn't work in a money system, because the very nature of money itself is control of credit and debt, a lack of faith in nature's perfect balance of credit and debt.  Free means no money, and "free market" is an oxymoron.  Your philosophy must be consistent across the board or it won't work.  This is why mega-corporations adore so-called "Libertarian" principles, because they appear to be about giving up control, and this is what makes them so deeply deceptive.  The corporate greed-head adores the idea of you or any government giving up control over the corporation, under "free market" principles, that the corporation may turn the tables and have total control over you and over government, using a slight twist to Libertarian-speak to promote its deception!  

Okay, I confess, it's funny going from bathing and soap to Libertarian economic theory.  Just wait till we get to pooping and peeing!  

Deodorants

Sand and dirt are excellent deodorizers, as they not only rub away excess skin oils, sweat, and dead skin, but they also restore its natural living flora and skin suppleness. Even after bathing in water, I also rub sand or dirt in my armpits and crotch.  When I am in civilization, I use a mixture of cornstarch and baking soda to rub in my armpits, an Amish practice.  I find baking soda and cornstarch in dumpsters, or friends give me a little.  It works better than any store-bought deodorant.  But dirt and sand work just as well, too - just not so accessible & acceptable in civilization.  

Pooping & Peeing

I pee far away from my camp in random places, because it doesn't take long for pee to stink to high heavens.  At night I keep a bottle, jar or can nearby to pee in.

I poop in random holes I dig far away from my camp, away from streams.  I bury it at least three inches deep.  It decomposes more quickly in the topsoil, where all the organisms are, than it does deeper down.  In the desert it also dries pretty fast in the hot summer, and I find that random animals, including ravens, like to dig it up and eat it.  Nature takes good care of it.  When I am by myself, I don't dig deep pits or keep using the same pit.  That doesn't feel natural and doesn't disperse my nutrients.  If I am in camping community with others, I dig a compost pit or use a composting bucket, since random periodic poopy places would make a too high and unsanitary impact. 

Butt Wiping

Toilet paper is my absolute last resort.  Toilet paper is barbaric and wasteful and doesn't get you clean.

I most commonly wipe my butt with sand or dirt, scooped up with a flat rock or stick.  I also wipe with leaves (preferably dead semi-moist ones on the ground, or fresh deciduous, juniper or sage-brush leaves, or random plants).  But be careful, some plants are irritating.  Mullen feels soft and fuzzy, but causes a rash in some allergenic folks.  I also sometimes wipe with old newsprint paper. 

When I am in civilization, I carry a bottle into the bathroom with me and wash my butt with water, like they do in India and southeast Asia, rather than use toilet paper.  Once you start doing this, you realize how barbaric toilet paper is, and you don't want to use it again because it doesn't get you clean.

**The Holy Act of Pooping, Peeing, Breathing, and Dying in Nature**


Giving, expecting nothing in return, is the most holy act a person can do.  This is why pooping, peeing, breathing, and dying in nature are the highest of holy acts.  You do it egolessly, without thought of doing anything righteous, without thought of reward.  You usually don't give it a thought that you are freely giving food to the universe, contributing back to all of society.  One's waste is another's food.  This is pay-it-forward in its purist form.  Whatever you do with thought of self-righteousness is not righteous.  Now if only all our acts could be just like pooping, peeing, breathing, and dying.  Die daily and be born again daily. 

34. What About Grooming?

Combing and Brushing

I often find combs or brushes on the streets or in dumpsters.  On occasions when I don't have a comb or brush, I preen my hair with my fingers in comb fashion, over and over, until it no longer looks mussy.

Shaving

I don't shave with a razor.  I have a pair of scissors I found, and I cut my facial hair with them.  I keep a stubbly beard, so I cut closely to the skin with scissors.  If I want the more clean-shaven look, I simply cut closer to the skin with scissors.  It takes a bit longer than with a razor, but it works!  I experiment with various facial hair styles.

Haircutting

I used to have way long hair, never cutting it, except for trimming split ends.  But as I got grey, I started cutting my own hair in a longish layered look with scissors I found.  These days it varies between mostly covering the ears to below the earlobes.  I layer my hair, which is surprisingly easy to do (sorry to let out secrets, beauticians!).  It's basically fist-length all around the head.  Just grab a clump of hair, with little finger against the scalp and snip off the hair coming out the top of your fist, level with the thumb.  Be careful to not cut your thumb skin.  With this as the basic, I often experiment with different lengths.  If you want it shorter or spiky, you can grab three or two finger widths of hair instead.  I like it shorter in the back, to avoid the mullet look.  But, to trim the back, I need two mirrors: a bathroom mirror and a hand-held one.  I always find little mirrors or pieces of mirror in dumpsters (dollar store ones are common).   I usually wait until I'm in a bathroom (usually at a friend's) to cut the back.  I haven't had anybody else cut my hair since I was maybe 20 years old.

Nails

I clip them with scissors or nail clippers I've found on the ground.  If I have no clippers or scissors, I file them with sandy rocks.  Biting my nails gives me the willies.

35. What about clothing and fashion?

You might think I made a big sacrifice giving up money, scaling down my fashion sense.  No, no, no, quite the contrary!  Living moneyless taught me to love fashion!  Living moneyless brings out parts of your true character you weren't so aware of previously.  Maybe it's my queer eye.  

Yeah, I wasn't so creative fashion-wise in my money days.  Clothes for men in conventional stores are usually quite boring.  And thrift stores throw the cool, funky stuff away.  If a piece of clothing catches my eye but doesn't fit, I cut it and sew it to fit.  I like sewing.  I once found a wool blanket and made a hooded monk's robe with it, which could also fold into a very warm and fashionable winter jacket.  I designed a black raven swirling with a white dove on the back, in a yin-yang pattern.  It could be used for sleeping or as a jacket.  

I feel good wearing something freely acquired, or what I custom-designed, custom fit, more than I ever felt buying ready-made stuff.  

And when something wears out, it is exciting not knowing what fashion the universe has in store for me next.  

I almost always have a nice pair of shoes or boots I either find on the streets or in dumpsters.  And thrift stores must not be able to sell socks and underwear, because I find lots of clean pairs in their dumpsters.

I once needed a hat and found a child's black cowboy hat that in no way fit me.  I watered it down and stretched it out with a large rock, reshaped it, and, voilà, I had a custom-fit bolo hat!

Yeah, I find and wear funky fashions I didn't have the nerve or the thought to buy in my money days.  The Universe knows how to dress us by its laws of randomness better than we could ever dress ourselves by our own calculations.  Lilies are dressed much more fashionably than Solomon in all his glory! 

People are always wanting to give me clothes, too.  

Look around, Nature doesn't dress her creatures in austere robes or rags or penitent shaved heads.  Austere robes and rags are great for times of mourning or protests over excess and attachment.  But when your mourning and protest is done, and your Holy Bridegroom is here, you go girl... and boy!  Life is not in vain; it's meant to live, and live abundantly!  If you doubt me, simply look at all nature's creatures around you, above and below you!  And listen to their songs of praise!  

Bees and butterflies and birds-a-humming bless beautiful blossoms.  And angels fly to you to taste your blooming.  Okay, I'm sounding silly, but it's true.

Why conform to the world and its dictates?  Conform to your heart.  Your heart sometimes tells you it feels wonderful dressing like people around you, and other times it tells you to dress totally uniquely!  Maybe it'll tell you to dress in austere monk's robes or rags, or maybe not.

Some folks have asked me why I don't wear special mendicant  or religious-order clothes.  The only reason I could see of wearing them for myself would be to distinguish myself as different, to get people to treat me differently.  They might more likely give me food in a begging bowl if I dress like a Buddhist Bikkhu, a Hindu Sadhu, a Muslim Faqir, or a Christian Mendicant.  But the point of my living this way is to join Humanity, not separate.  I don't want the food or respect of somebody who gives to me because they think I'm "holy", but because they regard me as human.  The point of living moneyless is not to manipulate, not to put on an image or to do anything to get reward.  Why should anybody not help a frazzled bag lady as much as they would help me?

36. How do you do laundry?

We make everything so complicated in our "labor-saving" civilization!  I don't wash my own clothes or bedding! I send them to my launderer! The creek is my launderer!  I place my clothes, blankets, and sleeping bag in the creek, weighed down by large rocks, leaving them in the water overnight.  In the morning I wring them out and spread them on the rocks or on sage-brush bushes or on juniper trees.  No soap, no scented dryer sheets, no polluting toxins, no fuss.  And my clothes smell earthly-heavenly.  

Silt sometimes collects on the laundry in the creek.  No problem: I just swish the laundry around in the water and the silt goes away.  The silt itself is a deodorizing conditioner.

This automatic laundromat doesn't get whites very white and doesn't remove some stains.  But that's no problem since I wear mostly dark and earth-tone clothes, so such stains don't show.  If you look around, white creatures aren't adaptable to the desert.  Ravens and coyotes and bobcats and golden eagles are.  But, if I may boast, my clothes are cleaner than anybody else's I know of (with the exception of my friend, mentioned below), because they have no synthetic chemical residues with off-gassing ghastly odors.

When I'm on the road, I wash clothes in bathroom sinks, park spigots, or in canals or streams.  I try to wash socks and my feet every day, so I usually have a clean pair drying and a clean pair on my feet.  I do often use soap to wash clothes in civilization.

I do have a hermit friend, who lives outdoors in New Mexico, who wears only white linen clothes (which he makes himself), and he lives by a very muddy creek.  He refuses to use any soap.  He washes his clothes in the clay by the creek and, somehow, they turn out white!  He is an impeccably-dressed clean freak, in fact, and will not be caught with stains or stink! 


37. Don't you know about grace? Aren't you trying to "work" for your salvation?

I was raised in Evangelical Christian culture and get this question a lot from Evangelical Christians, so this FAQ is written for Evangelical Christians, in Christian lingo.   Non-Christians might get lost in the lingo.  I  could very well use Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu,  Islamic, or secular scientific lingo, or whatever school, to say the same thing.  I in no way believe any religion is superior over another or has a monopoly on truth.  It is anti-Christian to believe otherwise, because it would break the Golden Rule, Rule above all rules.
 
Please understand that this is about putting into action the very heart of Evangelical doctrine which has been rendered meaningless by lipservice: salvation by grace, through faith.  Most of so-called "Evangelical Christianity" has become a lackey of Babylon,  bowing down with all its loyalty to commercial, corporate politics, changing truth to mean the opposite to serve its own materialistic ends.  Not only has it rendered its own doctrines meaningless, but it has twisted them to mean just the opposite, with Orwellian Doublespeak, calling good evil and evil good, justifying greed and warmongering under the mask of "grace." 
  
Grace is the whole point of the moneyless lifestyle and the very theme of this entire website! 
 
This is about making abstract concepts of Grace into Reality, Reality that anybody can understand.  
 

What does Grace mean?

 
Grace means gratis: grace is unmerited favor, freely given, freely received.  Grace means pure gift.
 
We are saved by grace in the spiritual realm, we live by grace, walk by grace, work by grace, in the physical realm.  At the point of no possessions, the line between
 spiritual and physical dissolves!
 
This is about the Mediator between both the physical and the spiritual, breaking down the wall of partitian between the spiritual and the physical. 
 
The very nature of living without money and possessions is living by grace, through faith, not of our ego works.
  

Why Are Jesus' Teachings Avoided Like the Plague by His "Followers"?


To see a few of Jesus' teachings on money & possessions, see The Way of Christianity, Judaism's Estranged Daughter

You probably notice the mysterious enigma of how droves of "Evangelicals"/"Fundamentalsts" and other self-proclaimed Christians  won't go near Jesus' practical teachings with a 10-foot pole. Why?  They claim that Jesus taught works for salvation & that (according to their very selective interpretation of Apostle Paul's letters) his crucifixion provided a "free" ticket to heaven, annulling everything practical he taught, that, in other words, Jesus spent his life blowing hot air, or he meant his teachings for some "other people" in some "other dispensation".  But to know Grace means to know that everything Jesus taught is Grace, giving up ego works, and that the Cross was the Ultimate Confirmation of this principle, not an annulment of it. 

"I am the Vine, you are the Branches." What bears the fruit, the Vine or the Branches?  The Branches, not by their own power, but by the power of the Vine through them.  No action means no faith.  No life in a body means its Spirit is gone.  It means death.

The Nature of Possessions

 
Consult your Common Sense and ask:
 
Why in the world would we hoard possessions if we had faith, if we understood the grace of God? 
 
Hoarding possessions betrays our lack of faith that God will provide. 
 
Giving up possessions is giving up our own ego works, plain and simple. 
 
When we hoard possessions we believe we are saved by possessions. 
 
When we give up possessions, we no longer believe that our possessions can save us, but that we are saved by grace.
 
To trust in possessions to save us is to serve Mammon.  To give up possessions is to trust in God to save us, to depart from Mammon.  Make your choice:  trust in your own ego works or live by grace.   Serve God or serve Mammon.  It is utterly impossible to trust both, as Jesus clearly teaches, even though "Christianity" has been trying to prove that we can serve both, and has failed miserably, for 2000 years. 
 

The Nature of Money

 
If we do things for others in order to get something in return, to get credit (including money), we are acting through ulterior motivation, we are living by manipulation, not by grace, not through faith.  If we work to get credits, rather than simply working for the sake of working, we are being insincere, our minds are departed from the Present Moment.  If we work for future reward, then we lack faith; we lack faith that God will take care of payment ("Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Eternal Present").  Let God worry about reward.  The essence of enlightenment is Hallelujah:  All Credit to Jah.  
 
You cannot serve God and Mammon.  You cannot work for God and Money.  Either you will love the one and despise the other, and vise versa.  You cannot trust in Reality and Illusion.  See What Money Is & What Money Is Not.
 

Confessing Messiah Come in the Flesh

 
This is about Grace becoming actual practice, the Word coming down to earth, in the flesh, right here, right now!  This is not about mere words confessing Messiah come in the flesh in some distant historical past that nobody can ever prove or disprove.  This is about the Spirit (Action) confessing Messiah come in the flesh, present tense, right here, right now.  Any spirit, any action, that does not confess the Word come in the flesh right now, right here, is Anti-Messiah (1 John 4:1-3: notice the present tense!). 

The Jewish Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98a, confirms this:

[Rabbi ben Levi] asked Elijah, "When will the Messiah come?"
Elijah replied, "Go and ask him"
"...and how will I recognize him?"
"He sits among the wretched who are suffering from sores."
So he went to him and greeted him, saying, "peace upon you, Master and Teacher."
"Peace upon you, O son of Levi,' he replied.
"When wilt thou come Master?" he asked.
 "Today", was his answer.
On his returning to Elijah, the latter enquired,
"What did he say to thee?"
"peace Upon thee, O son of Levi," he answered. . . .
'He spoke falsely to me,' he rejoined, 'saying he would come today, but has not.'
He [Elijah] answered him, "This is what he said to thee,

'Today, if you will hear his voice'
" [quoting Psalm 95:7.  See also Hebrews 3:7, 15 & 4:7,
also Matthew 25:33-46 refers to this Talmud passage]

Psalm 2:7 (quoted in Acts 13:33, Hebrews 1:5, 5:5) chimes in on this Truth:

You are my son, Today I have begotten you.


Only the True Messiah is Born Today.  All else is illusion, debatable, doubt-able.  Today cannot in any way be argued against, because Today is before our eyes.  Ye must be Born Again Today, the Only Begotten Son Today, the One and Only Image of God.  Ye must be New Adam/Eve, your Truly Sincere Self, created in the One and Only Image of God, Today.  Nobody, I mean nobody, can argue against Sincerity, the Present Mind.  All else is illusion.  There is nothing else.  I Am Who I Am cannot be argued against.  Why?  Because I Am Who I Am cannot be spoken with words.  I Am Who I Am: the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Name raised above every name that is spoken.  There is and can be no other authentic name under heaven.  "The name that can be spoken is not the Eternal Name" (Tao Te Ching 1), which Saint Augustine also stated.
 
How can anybody say they believe in the atonement of the Christ if they trample on his teachings and disregard his example written about in the Gospels?  How can we say we believe in the one who gives up all his possessions, right down to his very life on the cross for Truth, when we can't even give up our SUVs and sweatshop-made toys and our McMansions, all of which we know are born on the backs of the world's poor and destroy the very environment our brothers and sisters depend upon? (1 John 3:16-18).  How can we call ourselves preachers of the Gospel, Evangelists, when we preach and do and promote exactly the opposite of what is written by what is called the Evangelists in the Gospels in our own Bibles? 
 

There Are Only Two Religions in the World

 
Despite appearances, there are only two religions in the world: the religion of serving Reality and the religion of serving Delusion, the religion of serving God and the religion of serving Mammon, the religion trusting in own ego works and the religion of Grace:

One is the path that leads to material wealth,

The other is the path that leads to Nirvana

--Gautama Buddha (Dhammapada 5:75)

 

"No servant can serve two masters,

for either he will hate the one and love the other,

or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.

You cannot work for God and money." 

The Pharisees, who were lovers of money,

heard all these things, and they ridiculed Jesus.

(Luke 16:13-14)

 

And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only;

the one is the church of the Lamb of God,

and the other is the church of the devil;

wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God

belongeth to that great church,

which is the mother of abominations;

and she is the whore of all the earth.

(Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10)  

[Looking at the context, we see that one church is big and wealthy and world-wide, the prostitute that works for money, and the other is small and humble, the church that follows the basic teachings of Jesus]

 

These two paths--bright and dark--are deemed to be the eternal paths of the world. 

By the one man goes to return not; by the other he returns again.

The yogi knowing these two paths falls not into delusion.

(Bhagavad Gita 8:26-27)

The One True Religion, in its fullness, is at the core of every world religion.  It is the Remnant, hidden under the majority religions. 
 
Most of what is called "Christianity" is the religion of serving Mammon.  At the core of this "Christianity" is the True Remnant, the same Remnant at the core of every world religion.  But, again, most of "Christianity" has been trying to prove it can serve both God and Mammon for 2000 years.  It loves to talk of "salvation by grace," even as it trusts in money and possessions, trusts in its own ego works, with all its heart.  It loves to harp on how Jesus is the only "way, the truth, and the life" even as it pisses on his teachings and life, even as it condemns anybody who even suggests practicing Jesus' teachings.  In its Orwellian Doublespeak, it claims that anybody who follows Jesus' teachings is trying to "be saved by works, not by grace," even as it tramples on grace in its utter materialism.  
 
It's interesting to note that those who actually practice Jesus' teachings, or even have a desire to practice his teachings, have zero interest in denouncing other world religions, just as there is no record of Jesus ever denouncing any other religion (even though he lived in a melting pot of religions).  Those who actually practice Jesus' teachings cannot help but see that they are the core teachings of every world religion.  They cannot help but see that there are only two religions: the religion of Mammon and the religion of Reality.  It matters not whether the religion of Reality calls itself Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism, Judaism, or Pagan.  Truth remains Truth, regardless of what language speaks it.  Every religion contains the fullness of Truth.  There is no language, no culture, no generation, that has not and will not continue to receive the fullness of Truth, spoken in all Creation and in every human heart (Psalm 19, quoted in Romans 10:17-18 ).  When we are accustomed to only washing the outside of our cups, not the inside, we can't see this.  All the evidence you need is inside you.  "The Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21).
 

Grace, the Essence of the World's Relgions

Summing up everything below: Reality is Here and Now. 
You can't do anything or think anything to reach Reality, here and now,
because all movement is away from here and all thought is away from now,
and "Now is the accepted time, now is the Day of Salvation."

Orthodox Christianity:


For by grace (gratis) are you saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works,
lest any person should boast. 
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

(Ephesians 2:8-10).

Most assuredly, I say to you,
the Son can do nothing of Himself,
but what he sees the Father do;
for whatever he does, the Son also does in like manner. . . .
I can of myself do nothing...
 
--Jesus Christ (John 5:19, 30)

"As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
unless it abides in the vine,
neither can you, unless you abide in me. . . .

For without me you can do nothing."
 -- Jesus Christ (John 15:4-5)

LDS (Mormon) Christianity:

 
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God,
and not to the will of the devil and the flesh;
and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God,
that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are
saved.
(Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 10:24)
 
Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness
that we may know that it is by his grace,
and his great condescensions unto the children of men,
that we have power to do these things.
(Book of Mormon, Jacob 4: 7)
 

Islam:

Let the People of the Book recognize
that they have no control over the Grace of God;
that Grace is in his hands alone,
and that he vouchsafes it to whom he will.
God's Grace is infinite.
(Quran 57:29)

Say: Shall We inform you who will be the greatest losers by their works?
Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life,
while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works?

(Quran 18:103-104)
 

Judaism:


HaShem will fight for you
while you keep silent.
(Torah, Exodus 14:14)

In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and trust is your strength.
(Isaiah 30:15)

The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all.

(Ecclesiastes 9:11)

Hinduism:

Brahman is not grasped by the eye,
nor by speech, nor by the other senses,
nor by penance or good works.
A person becomes pure through serenity of intellect;
thereupon, in meditation,
he beholds Him who is without parts.
 
Even while always performing his actions,
he who makes Me his refuge wins,
by My Grace--not through his own strength--
the eternal and imperishable haven.
(Bhagavad Gita 18:56)

All action is entirely done by the modes of nature.
A person, deluded by the sense of "I", thinks, "I am the doer."

(Bhagavad Gita 3:27)

 
We who live in the world, still attached to karmas [debts],
can overcome the world by Thy Grace alone.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2)

Theravada Buddhism:

And yet it is not good conduct that helps you upon the way,
nor ritual, nor book learning,
nor withdrawal into the self, nor deep meditation.
None of these confers mastery or joy, O seeker!
Rely on nothing until you want nothing.
(Dhammapada 19:272) 

Mahayana Buddhism:

 
Without effort on my part
the Buddha-nature manifests itself.
This is due neither to the instruction of my teacher
Nor to any attainment of my own.
(The Sutra of Hui-neng)
 

Pure Land Buddhism:

 
If people truly and earnestly wish to attain Enlightenment,
they must rely on the power of this Buddha (Awakened One).
It is impossible for an ordinary person to realize his supreme Buddha-Nature 
without the support of this Buddha.

Sikhism:

By assuming numerous garbs [of ascetics],
learning, induced meditation, or stubborn practices,
Has none attained Him.
Says Nanak, By His grace alone does one attain
to sainthood and enlightenment.
 

Taoism:


Creating without claiming,

Doing without taking credit,

Guiding without interfering:

This is the Primal Virtue.

  -- Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching 51)


The softest thing in the universe
Overcomes the hardest thing in the universe.
That without substance can enter where there is no room.
Hence I know the value of non-action.
Teaching without words and work without doing
Are understood by very few.

  --Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching 43)


Krishnamurti Sums It All Up:

Power is derived from asceticism, from action, from position,

from virtue, from domination, and so on. 

All such forms of power are evil. 

It corrupts and perverts. 

The use of money, talent, cleverness to gain power

or deriving power from any use of these is evil. 

But there is a power which is in no way related

to that power which is evil. 

This power is not to be bought through worship,

prayers and self-denying or self-destructive meditations. 

All effort to become or to be must wholly, naturally, cease. 

Only then that power which is not evil, can be.

--Krishnamurti (p.23, Krishnamurti's Notebook)


Other Essays in this Website about Grace:

 
If you have doubt about the One Remnant Religion at the core of every world religion, please see Here's the One Point We Know the World's Religions Agree Upon (in Word)
 
To further understand the concept of salvation by grace, which is the core teaching of every religion, see Love & Possession - Sex & Money
 
To understand how we fell from grace, according to general world mythology, see Our Fall From Grace: Our Departure From Gratis: The Beginning of Money
 
To understand how we fell from grace, specifically according to the Bible's Eden story, see The Seven-Headed Dragon: World Commerce   
 

38. Wouldn't Society Fall Apart Without Money? 

Society has already fallen apart with money.  Just look around.

For those skeptical that a society couldn't really function without money motivation, there is empirical evidence that there is a human motivation productively better than money motivation.  Anybody who listens to their heart knows this.  But, for us when we find  ourselves so removed from knowing our own hearts that we need scientific evidence, here it is:

Dan Ariely
In his book, Predictably Irrational: the Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions, Dan Ariely (Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University) speaks of an experiment he conducted with three groups of students at computer screens, each group unknown to the others:

"In this experiment, the task was to drag the circle, using the computer mouse, onto the square. 
. . . . We measured how many circles they dragged within five minutes."

For this task,
The first group was paid $5 per circle dragged into the square.
The second group was paid 50 cents or 10 cents per circle.
The third group was paid nothing.  They were told it was a "social request", merely a favor asked.

"...those who received five dollars dragged an average of 159 circles, and those who received 50 cents dragged an average of 101 circles.  As expected, more money caused our participants to be more motivated and work harder (by about 50 percent).
"What about the condition with no money?  Did these participants work less than the ones who got the low monetary payment - or, in the absence of money, did they apply social norms to the situation and work harder?  The results showed that on average they dragged 168 circles, much more than those who were paid 50 cents, and just slightly more than those who were paid five dollars.  In other words, our participants worked harder under the non-monetary social norms than for the almighty buck (okay, fifty cents)." [p. 78-79]


39. What Steps Must I Take To Be Free?

I can't tell everyone to live as I do. 
And I can't lay out plans for a just society. 
Nobody can. 
This isn't primarily about living without money, or thinking up a new system. 
It is simply about being authentic. 

All I can say is follow your conscience, i.e. be completely real. 
Then see what follows automatically. 
If everyone did this, started following their consciences rather than what they are paid or ordered to do, 
I propose that our commercial system would collapse, 
because its very foundation is ulterior motivation, 
requiring its citizens to be fake.


What happens if you are real? 
What happens if you proclaim, "I am who I am," the holy name? 
You will step out of sleepy comfort and be up against great hostility. 
It's not an easy path, outwardly, 
but it's the easiest path overall - 
the only healthy and restful and happy one inwardly, 
because there is no conflict of conscience in you. 

Think about it, all the rights people now have and take for granted were originally illegal, 
opposed by the powers that be.
Rosa Parks
Being Herself
All your rights were brought to you by people who stood their ground being authentic. 
Your rights were not voted into place through the system, 
they were fought for by people standing firm, opposed by the system. 
When you stand your ground, 
after they test you with persecution, 
they must finally back off. 

Nothing inauthentic, based on illusion, can last. 
It must collapse, as every commercial system in history has. 

All that will be left is your authentic foundation, if you cultivate it now.

[taken from the blog post of November 17, 2013]
 
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