Several months ago, a lady scolded me one day in email for having what she called “a high-priced treatment center that is making me rich.” I replied, “I’m making $12 an hour at the Center.” I never heard from her again.
Are we only fighting ourselves around money? Even if the Kiloby Center was a high priced treatment center, which it isn’t (its prices are average among treatment centers), every institution (profit or non-profit) must bring in money in order to provide its services. That’s our system as it stands right now. It may not always be our system, but it is at the moment. Granted, there is greed in the world. And its good to step up sometimes and confront that greed face to face. But sometimes our knee jerk reactions to others around money say much more about ourselves than the ones we are fighting against.
Money is a divisive issue and carries lot of cultural, psychological and emotional issues including fear, safety, security, lack, individual value and self-worth.
Sometimes when a client at the center wants to look at money issues, we place a check or a bill out on the table and just begin inquiring. Where exactly is the money? Is it the green color on the bill or the blue color of the check? Is it the writing or the graphics? Is it the feel of paper in your fingers? Is it the word “money?” Inevitable, the client sees that “money” is not any of those things. And that’s about when the thoughts begin flooding the mind.
Money actually shows up in our consciousness as these kinds of thoughts:
“I don’t have enough.”
“I’m afraid I will have nothing when I retire and will be all alone.”
“I am stressed out a lot about money.”
“I want more.”
“Money is evil.”
“People are greedy.”
“Life isn’t fair.”
“My value is tied up into how much I make.”
And along with those thoughts are all kinds of emotions and sensations that feel stuck to the thoughts, making the thoughts seem believable. Therein lies the suffering and reactivity.
The paper on the table is rather innocuous. It’s just paper. It could just as easily be a piece of toilet paper. We assign all sorts of meaning to the paper. But the paper is empty. It has no intrinsic meaning or value in and of itself.
This is one thing I really love about the Living Inquiries. When we begin looking for money or for whatever identity is wrapped up in the whole subject of money, we come face to face with our own belief systems and suffering, our fears and insecurities. We don’t find money at all. We come face to face with ourselves. We then have the opportunity to see the multiple layers of psychological and emotional suffering that we have placed on this paper. We get to see why we are so afraid of our futures and so angry at others who seem to make up the evil, greedy world. We stop telling lies. We stop believing that the issue is in the paper or even in other people. We see that the issue lies within us. And this provides the extraordinary opportunity to see beyond all of that and live a life that is free from the chains of fear-based thinking. We are free to make money or not. The freedom is not about either really. Some will make money and some won’t. This kind of mental, emotional and spiritual freedom is more valuable than any piece of paper or any paycheck.
Einstein said that,
you cannot solve a problem with the same consciousness that created it.
So fighting against money and stressing ourselves out around how much we have or don’t have, while remaining unaware of our unexamined beliefs, is falling into the trap that Einstein warned against. Questioning self-beliefs changes the world much more drastically than simply having good money habits, making money or making enemies out of others who make money. It changes the world by questioning belief and identity. Belief and identity make up the world. When we begin questioning these “self” issues around money, we are questioning the world itself. The world changes according. The world is whatever you think and feel it is. Don’t trust me. Inquire and see!