Tag Archive: Money


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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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

www.responsiveuniverse.com

I just paid my bills and I am a little depressed…

It reminds me of the classic “heart & mind rift” I talked about a couple weeks ago; I do not know about you, but money brings me great joy and great suffering all in the same sentence. You get excited because you just got paid and then you get depressed after you do bills because there is no money left. Of course it is not that cut and dry, but the mind which facilitates the ego focuses on money – how spend it and also how to save: it can be both positive and negative for within the mind is our rationale and calculating intellect but also our false-self and ego. Money, shallow confidence and trying to keep up with the Joneses can facilitate suffering at every level imaginable.

And then there is the Heart.  The heart brings compromise to the whole scenario. From the heart we draw on our True Nature or heart wish. From the heart wells up wisdom and that inner voice that speaks truth and love. My heart tells me to not let emotions marry with money. There should neither be joy or suffering when it relates to money.  Another word for money is currency. The term currency means movement – thus money moves into your pocket and quite naturally moves right back out. The lesson is, we should never attach happiness or wellbeing to money because money is not dependable. Blue sky, the stars at night and our True Nature within is dependable; not money…

Want some good advice? I learned this the hard way: When money is getting you down in the dumps, think about what you have instead of what you don’t have. Look around you to people you care for, nature and the possessions and heirlooms within your home that do make you happy. Find your center and surround yourself with the gift of now. Be mindful of what you have now and not what you did have or could have – those thoughts of past and future, fear and fantasy is of the ego. Empower yourself with gifts that are tangible and accessible right now.

I feel better already…

 

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

 

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