There are some Biblical references to being in the world, but not of the world. Christians, I’m sure, will give me all sorts of meaning to this simple turn of phrase. It’s pretty simple, in my opinion.
Being in the world – doing one’s duty to their character (food, shelter etc.), family, friends, and work.
Not being of the world – Knowing one’s true nature.
I speak to many people who have fallen into ‘spirituality’ and its related dogma; it’s an excellent topic for the ego to manipulate. Many of these people give up ‘the world’ because Eckhart Tolle suggested it was a good idea – a complete disintegration of reality. I recommend that people check out Sri Aurobindo with his primary works of synthesis and integration.
Having the capacity to operate in the world whilst remaining in ‘the space’ (no idea how to label it) is a powerful position.
Let me give an example I think may help.
I’ve recently agreed to acquire ten apartments in my local town. I was standing outside yesterday looking at the addition to the property portfolio. I thought, ‘I could walk away from this right now without a care in the world. There is zero real value for me’.
My next thought – ‘ahhh whatever, I’ll see how it unfolds. It’ll net me another £40k per year if I go ahead’.
I have this inner dialogue quite a bit. It’s a bit like a tug of war. You’re grasping both ends and pulling simultaneously; every now and again, one side will pull a bit stronger than the other, and there will be a contraction or expansion of energy one way or the other, but the essence remains the same.
I also know it’s an illusory battle, more of a humorous back and forth between real and fake. I could stop this ‘inner battle’ instantly because I know it for what it is and enjoy playing the game. The character (me) is good at playing the ‘capitalist’ game.
The advantage I have to the majority of the other characters who participate is that I’m impartial to the outcome. ‘Negotiation’ is a breeze when you genuinely do not care whether you wish to do the deal or not. Most characters are desperate for ‘success’ and validation. When those needs fall away, there is a beautiful sense of humour to these interactions.
Maya is a chessboard and you are the pawn.