We all have money wounds – have you noticed?
Often we think we’re the only ones. If we feel inadequate about money – as many people do, especially women – we generally keep it to ourselves.
Money is one of the main things people feel shame about, and naturally we hide that shame. We all tend to think everyone else has it together, and we’re the only ones “pretending.”
Actually, our culture is wounded about money, so how could we not be?
Most of our wounding we inherit from our families, often passed along from one generation to the next. We absorb pain and anxiety about money as we grow up, maybe hearing our parents fight about it, or being scolded for wanting something they can’t afford.”I’m not made of money,” I used to hear as a child.”Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
Or maybe it’s the opposite problem. Perhaps we were indulged and given too much by our parents, who either lived on credit cards, or were determined to give their children everything they had lacked. Either way, we wind up not knowing the value of money, perhaps even feeling weakened, not developing the muscles of self-reliance that come from making one’s own way. By being given too much, we have been robbed of something essential we truly need – our own strength and confidence.
There are so many wounds around money. Some of them are universal. Nearly everyone in our culture believes that they don’t have enough – even rich people feel this way, I’m told. And the more you have, the more you can fear losing.
Even though the saying goes that “money can’t buy happiness,” we act as though it can. And we’re encouraged by the media to want more, to crave things, to engage in a feeding frenzy of acquiring.
We’re taught to measure ourselves and value our worth by our money and material goods, and to compare ourselves to others. Our insecurities are exploited by advertisers to get us to spend money to feel better about ourselves. Hence money becomes equated with what will heal our ills, what will fill our lacks. By this very function of money, it becomes associated with our woundedness.
And the spiritual creative types among us, who reject material values, are just as wounded. We suffer deprivation, feel disempowered, and often lack the respect that our more outwardly successful neighbors get.
None of this is our fault. We can’t help being conditioned by the world we live in. It’s hard to find the right balance, to achieve a healthy relationship with money in our culture.
What is needed is a balance of the spiritual and the material, an awareness of gratitude for all that we have, and a dedication to serve the world in the ways our soul came here to do – and to be recompensed for our service.
Humanity is growing and changing. Our relationship to money, both individually and culturally, collectively, are among the focal points of that change.
What will the new world look like in regard to money? The decisions we make today in our awareness, our actions, and our relationships, are contributing right now to that new world! What choices are you making? How would you like the new world to look? What choices can you make to create greater health and balance in the all-pervasive area of money in our lives?
I live in New York City. I am fortunate to live on high ground, in upper Manhattan. We didn’t lose power. The fierce rain and howling winds last Monday night, and the downed trees I saw the next day are tiny compared to the extreme and protracted suffering of so many of my fellow New Yorkers who live in more afflicted areas.
The storm wasn’t the only blow I’ve had recently, either. In completely unrelated events, I learned of the deaths of three people I have been close to, just within the past two months.
Now, I’m a firm believer in the continuance of life – vibrant life at that – after a person sheds their physical body. Yet I not only grieve my personal loss, but notice the pulling away of some of the underpinnings of my seemingly “solid” world.
By that I mean the familiar, the unquestioned conditions I’ve simply taken for granted – can you relate?
When things change it disturbs our equilibrium. We lose some of the foundations of our sense of safety and well being – which we didn’t even know we were relying on. The loss of these “unconscious supports” can make us feel strangely destabilized.
The supports I’m talking about could be my assumption that I can always pick up the phone and call someone – that they’ll always be there. Or my feeling of invulnerability because I think I live in a region that does not get dangerous weather.
That picture of the storm over the Statue of Liberty suggests to me the unexpected, threatening the security and freedom we take for granted – whether the threat comes as a storm, as a personal loss, or even in the form of political events that could radically change our landscape.
I think it’s universal that we humans crave security, and so project permanence onto what is by nature going to change. I see myself doing that again and again, whether it’s with a relationship or even my own moods (go figure!).
How do you see yourself doing that? Have you suffered when you lost some form of unquestioned support? Can you think of conditions you “project permanence” onto now?
It is hard to hold the perspective of impermanence that the Buddhists prize so highly. The longing for stability lulls us. Our desire for that security goes back to being an infant in our mother’s arms – it is that instinctual and basic. We really can’t help it!
And yet, Buddhism also tells us that this is one of the chief sources of suffering. What can we do?
What I take away from this contemplation are two main lessons:
- Savor and cherish the fleeting, changing, sparkling, impermanent world, and allow the poignance of knowing it must pass increase its sweetness for you.
- Seek and find that which is not fleeting, that which is eternally present, from which all life and movement continually arise. Spend time abiding there, in meditation and awareness.
The more deeply we are anchored in the ground of our being, the more joyfully can we surrender to the dance.