Practical spirituality for a complicated world.

Dear Robert,

Thank you for the column about how to deal with rude or aggressive people. I'm employed in Santa Fe's hospitality industry. My job, as poorly paid as it is, depends upon being pleasant to people who are dismissive and rude to me and my co-workers. You wouldn't believe how badly some of them treat us. I work at a place that costs a lot of money to stay, and I do mean a lot of money. Our customers are wealthy people. It is rare for one of them to acknowledge us in a human way. What is wrong with them? The most decent, generous customers we have are from Texas. You know how Santa Feans hate Texas. But, as far as I'm concerned, Texans are the best.

I don't have a question for you. I guess I just wanted to get this off my chest. I also want you to know that we read the Reporter every week, especially your column. One of our favourites has been your interviews with Crystal Starchild. You have hit a home run with her. My girlfriend cuts them all out, and sometimes she re-reads them and screams with laughter. I swear to you, we meet a Crystal every day of the week. How did Santa Fe turn into such a magnet for really strange people? I grew up in a strong Jewish family on Long Island, and I send you our highest compliment: you're a real mench. Thanks for telling it like you see it.

LF, Santa Fe

Dear LF,

***image1***Thank you for taking time to write. Santa Fe is full of people like you, who are multi-talented, educated, observant, and working for a pittance. This has long been a community where you have to take part of your pay in sunsets. As an aside, I had a friend here in Santa Fe who once went to Key West for a vacation. She told me that it was a tradition there for people to go to a pier, and toast the sunset. Key West is a party town, so I imagine a lot of toasting, and getting toasted, goes on. Anyway, she said that at sunset, everyone "oohed and ahhed" at the splash of colour in the western sky. She told me that she almost caused a mini-riot when she blurted out, "You call that a sunset? In Santa Fe, that would be an overcast sky. If you want to see a real sunset, go to New Mexico!" Now, I've never been to Key West, nor seen one of their sunsets, but I've seen plenty here in New Mexico. I'm sure we've got them beat by a long shot, and without all that sticky humidity.

Yes, lots of wealthy people visit (and live in) Santa Fe. We sort of expect more from rich people, don't we? We think that since they don't have to worry about money like we do, that they should be happy and relaxed. At the very least, we expect them to be civil to their underlings. Most of us who are creatively under-employed think things like that. It is part of our shared illusion that more money would make us happier....or, at least that if we didn't have to worry about paying bills, we could relax and enjoy life more. I really do hate to be the one to say this, but I don't believe that is true. I don't believe money is the answer to our problems. Now, before you start shouting, and ripping the paper to shreds, let me explain just a bit about why I think that.

Money is an energetic force. We use it as a medium of exchange for goods and services. Big revelation, eh? Well, bear with me a moment. There are definite things money can provide for us. It can bring us food, shelter, and clothing. Everybody in this culture, even the poorest amongst us, has these basics. This is a big improvement over the past. However, we've been socialised to believe that we need more, more and then some more....of everything. We live in a materialist society of consumerism. Everything has to be bigger, better and improved, all the way from our laundry detergent, to the house we live in, to the car we drive. This system is based on ego-sense gratification. And, let's face it, the ego is never satisfied. It wants more food, more drink, more sex, more fashion, more cds, more cars, more entertainment, more power, more influence, and most of all, to be special and important. The ego gets all those "mores" through purchasing them with money. Therefore, people pursue money. It's not because they think the little bits of coloured paper money are attractive, or that the plastic credit cards have artistic merit, enhancing their lives. In fact, the opposite is true. The blind pursuit of riches is a poison to the spirit, as souls may one day realise after 50,000 lifetimes of consuming, suffering, grabbing, pushing, shoving, etc. To awaken from that mad dream is a great spiritual boon. Some of these struggling seekers come to Santa Fe to awaken, hence the wacko show to which you alluded. (Occasionally in Santa Fe, the awakening progresses beyond applying preachy bumper stickers to one's Volvo or SUV.) There are energies, Light Beings in this area, who assist in this awakening. People have long recognised these angelic energies here. The earliest humans to pass through this area knew that there was something special welling up out of the earth here. This is one of those places where the veils between dimensions are thinner than elsewhere. It has always attracted seekers and explorers. Some are pioneers, and most are followers, just beginning a round of births in spiritual pursuits. Hence, there are lots of Crystal Starchilds out there. They're serious about their spiritual pursuits, but still dealing with the burden of ego sense identification. Did you know that a person could live an entire lifetime, and never hear one sentence that touched his or her heart? So, merely the slightest inclination toward Spirit is a great, great karmic blessing. We should be happy for anyone who finds even a glimmer of truth in this crazy mixture we call the material world. A word of caution, though:  often, they're involved in religion and politics, and can be quite dangerous.

Your abusive customers are prisoners of the ego. In Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna calls ego, "I Me Mine". George Harrison took that line and wrote a really good song about it. There's not much you can do about those customers, because you're hired by your employer to take care of them. They're brainwashed (Our George also wrote a good song called "Brainwashed"). Can you look at them with a bit of compassion? See if you can. While you're practicing compassion, be gentle with yourself, as well. I'll bet you're doing an absolutely fabulous job, and find joy in life. Perhaps your spirit is calling you to a simpler lifestyle. The majority of us don't need most of the things we dash madly about to accumulate. I don't know if that's the case with you, or not. It's something to consider.

Now finally, let's say a word about Texas. I love Texas. Some of the most terrific people in the world are Texans. I'm talking about real Texans, not the pretend ones who actually come from Northeastern Establishment families, and are about as authentically Texan as the accents on "King of the Hill". Yes, I know it's popular and trendy in Santa Fe to ridicule Texas and Texans. They are our rich neighbours, and I suspect there is some jealousy going on there. As long as the rivalry is good natured, I can laugh along with everyone, but it is often mean-spirited, and that should stop. Marxism is in vogue in Santa Fe, so class hatred and resentments will continue to be encouraged. But, don't worry. Marxism has never worked anywhere in the world, and it will one day be discredited in North Korea, Peking, and eventually, in Berkeley and Santa Fe.

Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus advised us to accumulate treasures of the spirit, and everything else we need will be provided for us....not everything we want... but, everything we need. Thanks for your letter. Hang in there. OM

Robert Ransom Odom is an internationally published author and teacher. Robert has been a leading figure in the metaphysical spiritual community of Santa Fe since 1990.

To ask Robert a question, visit his website at, email or send mail to PO Box 33, Santa Fe, NM 87504.