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I had an interesting conversation this morning with J about how we should spend our money. It came about because of my interest in creating “What a wonderful world sites” here around Bend, Oregon, versus giving money to indigents. There is a local website that lists over a dozen places where we might spend unlimited amounts of money to help the poor. I contend that we could spend every penny we had and it wouldn’t make any visible difference in a year. What I was proposing was that if we spent our time and a very small amount of money on locating “spiritual places” we could make a noticeable effect on the well-being of our whole community. That even the indigents could go to our local spiritual sites and have an emotionally uplifting experience. Also, as we would publish where these sites were and post them in various places, they would soon become well known and people could routinely visit them.

Some local places are already well known for watching sunsets, like the top of Pilot Butte, 44.0606 -121.28345, but I was suggesting that even that lovely location could have precisely identified spots to stand where there was an ideal view for creating a spiritual experience. Furthermore, once an exact location is identified, it becomes easy for people for many years to go to that exact spot and have a higher likelihood of having a transcendent experience than if they just wandered around looking for a wonderful location.

Wouldn’t my giving an alcoholic a dollar that would probably be used to buy another drink be greatly enhanced by my mentioning to him he might have a more satisfying experience by going to a previously identified “What a wonderful world!” spot located nearby? The dollar will soon be gone and vanished forever, but his knowledge of the spiritually enhancing spot could give him an emotional lift that would be available forever. That might be much more valuable to him than another mind-numbing drink.

Look at the world around you and smile and you will feel better. It is easier to do when the place is spiritually charged with beauty.