Roll-of-moneyDoes money buy you happiness?

That is actually a difficult question to answer isn’t it? On the surface the answer seems simple but when we reflect on our own life and the struggles we call our own, the answer might not be so simple. Oh sure, it is easy to stand up on a pedestal and say money DOES NOT bring happiness, but what happens when you are short on rent or can’t pay the mortgage?  So many of us are living month to month, grinding out our lives; trying to make enough money to make ends meet. Can I ever get ahead?  Does it ever end? A lack of money seems to create stress and anxiety – suffering its common denominator…

Money is an odd animal. When we have enough of it, we can go to Whole Foods and buy the healthy foods that cost more but are better for us. When we have extra cash we can save some of it for a much-needed vacation. Maybe start an emergency fund.  For a lucky few we can pay cash for our children’s education instead of taking out loans. And yet, this same currency can turn its ugly head as credit card debt soars and medical bills pile up.

And then there are those that surround themselves with materialistic virtues – building this hollow wall of self-esteem and social acceptance on the backbone of money. Of course many of us struggling would love to wear those shoes… We could say stuff like, if I won the lottery, I would not change… Is that true? Do you believe that?

Money, Money, Money… it makes the world turn…. Now I have that Pink Floyd song in my head… LOL

“These days, in our materialistic culture, many people are led to believe that money is the ultimate source of happiness. Consequently, when they don’t have enough of it they feel let down. Therefore, it is important to let people know that they have the source of contentment and happiness within themselves, and that it is related to nurturing our natural inner values.”

–          Dalai Lama

I have lived on both sides of the pendulum… In 2006 after an amazing run in the real estate market I had more cash than I could have ever imagined earning. I had the money for lavish vacations, toys and luxury cars. Ironically, it was the same housing market that made me fat with cash that later in 2009 took it all away. Looking back on the past brings me awareness for the future. Having money created suffering by building an ego… The lack of money was also perpetuated by ego – my attachment to cash was a little like a drug… When I had it I was warm and satiated and when it was gone, I was cold and naked. Still, the realization was that money did not make me whole. If anything it made me weak and dependent.

It took mindfulness to find a compromise for money… a middle area that appreciated money as a tool to pay bills, and as a means to enjoy life in moderation; being fully aware that it is also an opiate for the ego. The root meaning for the word “currency” means current or movement. Money moves like a swirling wind which means it is undependable and unpredictable. Just like the rollercoaster ride of the stock market, when you base your happiness on something that is not stable there is no guarantee for happiness. As the Dalai Lama states so eloquently, we need to connect to something real and authentic – something from the inside… That indestructible essence… That authentic and unlimited power within is our True Nature : An endless source of energy and contentment – our connection to everything…

Money is not evil… True it does not buy happiness but it can buy liberty especially when we see currency as a tool and not a toy. When we can manage money for good and betterment; not becoming a slave to it; there is a balance to be enjoyed. There is nothing wrong with making money; the art in life is not becoming attached to it…

John C. Bader

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