Money And Greed
My Job is to create space between 'bad old Money" and what is really going on.
I love unravelling common beliefs involving money and although people rarely use the word 'greed' I can often see the word in a cartoon thought bubble in the air!
I have clients who say "I don't want to be filthy rich! Just enough to get by and bit left over."
None of us wants to be seen to be greedy.
But what is greed really?
And why does wealth often trigger such negative judgements?
A Little Light on Money and Greed
If you dig below the surface of greed you will find unmet needs and fears. A need to love and be loved, to be seen and valued, a need to feel beautiful, to feel worthy, to feel safe.
If available, money is often used to prevent feeling the pain of these needs, to meet them with material things, or hedonistic experiences. But this doesn't work and then more and more 'stuff' is needed. Getting the picture?
On the outside, looking in, we can easily assume that the problem is money, that the 'stuff', or the ability to access it, is causing suffering.
But the problem is not the money. The problem is within the individual.
When you are able to sit a while with your needs and fears, then deeper longings will present themselves and more effective ways of meeting these needs will emerge.
Another common reason money gets a bad name is because so many of us have experienced money trauma or financial abuse at some point in our lives.
A friend was recently subjected to some very challenging behavior from somebody she trusted, a wealthy family member. A short while afterwards that person offered to pay a large bill for my friend and she didn't feel in a position to refuse.
In this case the wealthy relative chose to buy her way out of the difficult emotional situation rather than having painful discussions requiring vulnerability and authenticity. My friend was left feeling confused, unheard and subtly abused.
It is common to make the decision that wealthy people are the bad guys and that money corrupts.
But money is just another tool many people would use, if possible, to avoid painful truths.
Money itself is not the bad guy here either.
Money And Responsibility
When you don't have wealth it is easy to imagine you would give away any excess to charities.
Maybe not so easy to do in reality.
Often the more people earn, the more they spend and the less connected they are to their money.
After going through coaching people often say they finally feel like a grown-up around money. In other words they feel like they can behave responsibly with their money, manage it well and make good spending choices, regardless of income. They no longer yearn for the ability to 'just relax' with money, which is actually code for 'vague out and no longer have to think about it'.
So although many people openly resent those with money, it may be that they are actually fearful of the responsibility that accompanies wealth and are simply projecting those fears.
Poor money gets dumped on again!
The New Rich
I love the term New Rich used by Tim Ferris, author of the Four Hour Week.
He talks about people who create wealth for the purpose of living a life enriched by amazing experiences, acquiring knowledge and skill rather than possessions, living simply but deeply and valuing connection above all else.
Supporting others who have less is a natural and easy step when you have strong sense of connection.
A Simple Life
For many years I was afraid to have dreams, I mean expensive dreams! I didn't allow myself to even think about the many possibilities that could open up to me if my income increased only by a small amount.
I felt guilty for wanting more than I had and fearful of disappointment if I did dare to hope.
The more personal development work I did and the more I got to know and understand myself, the clearer and more intense my dreams and desires became. I knew I wasn't alone in this, even though it surprised me.
And then a day came when it all fell into place. I was studying yoga and meditation in India. During our daily satsang one of the other students brought up the question of all the many things she wanted to do in her life, even though she also felt drawn to a simple life of spiritual practice. The soft eyed monk smiled broadly at her question, (as wise Indian sages do) and gave the following reply:
"You cannot stop the wanting simply by more wanting. If you want your desires to go away you need to go into the desires, explore and fully experience them. You may even find fulfilment there if you choose well. Go and enjoy!
"There will come a time when you realise that your connection to spirit is truly the ultimate experience but very few people have truly reached this point. It cannot be forced."
On hearing this I realised that growing my income and creating more freedom and choice in my life was actually the next stage in my growth. I began to include my relationship with money within my spiritual practice.
I encourage you to explore how you suppress your dreams and desires and allow them to come into the light.
Look at any negative judgement you hold about money and see if it is rooted in some painful memory. You will have then formed a belief in order to protect yourself. Maybe the time has come to let it go.
And whenever you make time to be present to your inner world, embrace your money in gentle reverence and bring it into the warmth of your loving awareness.