Money is an intriguing facet to our modern existence. It is interesting; the word currency implies a current or the movement of something. Makes sense right? Money is made and money is spent. Stock markets spike and housing markets plunge. Money moves into our pocket and then into the Super Target cash register on payday.

There is another way to look at this commodity called money: Money can make us happy and it can make us suffer. Who is not in a good mood when we get that long-awaited and much deserved paycheck? And how about the suffering of living month to month, struggling with bills and credit card debt. Money it seems can be our best friend in times of need and also our worst enemy.

I love money and I also loathe it… more than anything, I respect its power…

As I write this blog I have that Pink Floyd song echoing in my head: “New car, caviar, four star day-dream; I think I’ll buy me a football team”… or something to that effect…

My point is this – We need to be more mindful of money and how it influences our happiness and suffering. In Buddhism we are asked to treat all thoughts as equal.  There is a need to be mindful of our ego created false-self and connect to something more authentic – our True Nature.  We do this by being mindful of our root of intent so that we do not react blindly in social situations and conflict. We do this by being mindful of our addictions, desires, anger, fear and jealousy; all pendulums of action and reaction that govern credibility and karma. In doing so we create more happiness and less suffering – we need to have the same quality of mindfulness when it comes to money.

Now, I am not a financial advisor by any means. I have had my financial triumphs and also complete fiscal failures. The one thing I learned though is the more attached you are to the concept of money; the more you are going to suffer. When we attach ourselves to money and the material things it allows us to buy we are giving power to our ego. We do not need money to make us happy; we need happiness to make us happy. Happiness is not based on money but our thoughts, actions and reactions in life. Yes, money can buy liberation and freedom – but only if you are not slave to it.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with making money. In fact I encourage it! But, money is a tool, not a toy (unless you are a billionaire). Money is meant to pay the rent or mortgage, pay bills and buy new tires. Money is a tool so that in this modern world we can get from point A to point B. When we spend money through our egos, we become a slave to money. We overspend on stupid things. We become emotionally attached to these stupid things and we need more money to support our ego driven world. How much money we have and what type of car we drive figure into our self-worth.  TV and print ads influence our decisions. When there is not enough money, guess what happens?  We tend to suffer! Trust me, there is never enough money…. Therefore logic says do not base your happiness on money. Do not base your happiness on something with currency – something that moves up and down. Base your happiness on something fixed and solid – base your happiness on things you can control like intent, actions and reactions. Be mindful of money, use it to your benefit and be happy with what you already have and not what you don’t have.

I have to go – its time to pay my bills 🙂

John C. Bader