Money – What attitude to take to it?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

Morocco is a country where a lot of people live on the bread line. It is common for a picture of the king and his wife to be hung in people’s homes and from some outsider’s viewpoint it would appear that the royal family is often idolized.  Yet, we cannot help noticing the way the rulers of this and some other Arab states like Qatar and Kuwait — not to mention Saudi Arabia — have been amassing money for themselves. Mohammed VI of Morocco has been said to amass a fortune of $2.5 bn from the phosphates found in the Western Sahara which account for half of world reserves. Other rulers have based their wealth on oil.  Are such rich people happy and contented with the opulence they can afford?

moneyDo we feel indignation or perhaps a secret envy towards them? What attitude should we take to money?

Dreaming of money

When one is hard up, buying a lottery ticket and thus dreaming of untold wealth has its attractions, even if in one’s heart of hearts one knows there is virtually no chance of winning. A bit of harmless fun. Or is having a pleasing fantasy any different from coming out all guns blazing to make money and lots of it?

It is widely thought that the current economic recession in the United Kingdom — at least in part — has been brought on by reckless bankers still enjoying bumper bonuses. It may be just ‘childish foot-stamping’ but these say they want to move abroad because of the 50% top rate of tax they are paying.  Money seems to be a more powerful lure for them than the attraction of living near family and friends and one’s own community let alone the notion of banking integrity. Perhaps this is why they were attracted to working in the financial industry in the first place.

One could ask provided one earns enough money for one’s basic needs, why should it bother one if another person happens to be earning more?

Money and social status

I, for one, feel uncomfortable where the private affluence of the few is flaunted in the publicly seen poverty of the many. Can this not be seen in the ostentation of the ‘nouveau riche’ compared with poorer housing, medical and educational facilities available in the public services?

On the other hand, arguably unless they had a profit motif where would our entrepreneurs come from; where would our start-up businesses develop?  Just how money orientated can one be without it amounting to grasping opportunism? For how many of us is the amount of wealth we have of more significance than the use to which it could be put or by what means it was acquired in the first place?

Love of money

You do tend to get a lack of human warmth where people are too busy making money to make themselves agreeable. How could such people accept the notion of heaven which is one of sharing and doing things for the sake of others? This could never be comprehended by those who love themselves more than others and who are greedy for gain.

Swedenborg describes a group of people who had died. They had expected the happiness of the heavenly paradise to consist of magnificence, splendour and boundless wealth. They were allowed to experience exactly what they had imagined heaven to be like until they were sick of it and begged to leave!

How much better if people were prepared to be untroubled by any lack of possessions. The tradition of those from isolated rural areas can be to restore their energies by spending time living simply without expensive modern conveniences close to nature and far from the maddening crowd.

Often people say that it is a fallacy that the way to happiness is the acquisition of more and more money. Money itself may be a good thing, but no wonder we remember that the love of money is said to be the root of all evil.

Copyright 2011 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

http://www.spiritualquestions.org.uk/

30th March 2011Categories Ethics, Private EthicsTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Leave a comment

Looting America And God’s Gifts

 

Money has a cultural hold on all of us. It is quite hypnotic. Money has put us into a trance so profound that our cognitive ability has diminished to the point of simply knowing the price of things at the expense of being able to discern the true value of things.

Like modern physics, we have divorced ourselves from a life of meaning and values. In America, money is how one keeps score.

Money thwarts our search for meaning yet it exerts a powerful pressure on us that is constant. It is hard to become spiritual when our stomachs are empty and we have no roof over our heads. Even worse, spiritual growth has been almost completely abandoned as a means to finding happiness. Instead, we will not be happy until we keep up with and finally surpass the Joneses.

We better ourselves by bettering someone else. This economic philosophy is contrary to God’s great commandment of loving the neighbor.

Do not get me wrong. Money is important. But more and more, it is being made from cunning and cleverness rather than from a sincere desire to be of service to others. In most cases, we seek to help ourselves rather than to improve the well-being of others.

The big problem is that we have separated the acquiring of money from the enrichment of our innermost being. Making money enters into everything we do EXCEPT for our spiritual growth. But making money should be intimately involved with our spiritual growth as well!

Why? Because, making money should be the “fruit” of our God-given talents. These talents are lost in the corporate scheme of things where one is swimming among sharks and looking to gain some advantage.

We are in our current financial crisis because greed, envy, and self-identity have taken the cockpit in the acquisition of money. Rather than happiness, any success at making money leads to fear in keeping it—to the point that nothing can be really enjoyed anymore.

Surveys often show that many of the most “successful” people feel they are missing something in their lives. Acquiring riches can dull us to the richness of life and love. Such individuals have not paid attention to their souls. This type of success poisons everything.

All wars, all forms of social injustice, crime, and the destruction of the environment, emerge from this blind striving towards wealth and power.

How we acquire money and spend it shows WHAT WE ARE. We are looting America and God’s gifts.

How do we escape this financial and social captivity?

First we must not live above our means. Next we should work on our relationships with friends and family (before we find ourselves making this discovery on our deathbeds). Finally, we must either do the jobs we have from a sincere principle of mutual love and service, or find new ways to make a living that offer us true self-worth and deep satisfaction.

Follow this simple path and you will begin to experience heaven itself.

Posted on October 10, 2008by thegodguy

http://www.staircasepress.com

Posted in god, Inner growth, love, Reality, religion, spirituality, unity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Discontent – Why do I have this?

discontent
Brian Moore

Brian Moore the former English rugby international player sees something of discontent in himself. What he wanted was success. And he pushed himself really hard over and over again to do well. He now recognises that whether it be in sport, business or whatever field you are in, if you are too driven you can drive yourself into the ground.

Some people have high ambition and specific goals to match. But those of them who are too driven have discontent even when they get to where they wanted to be.

Discontent hankering after things

You also may hanker after things you haven’t got; fame, or fortune, people or possessions. For example perhaps all you think you need is just a new sofa and when you get it everything will be sorted. But when it arrives you find there’s something else you must have — a new holiday, a new job. For some people a basic discontent persists no matter what they get or achieve. Something else looms on the horizon and they long for that too. Sooner or later they won’t get what they want because nobody gets all they want in life.

Discontent hanging on to things

When people in India hunt for monkeys, they set out a heavy wooden box with a small hole on top just big enough for a monkey to squeeze a hand through. Inside the box is a banana. A monkey smells the fruit and reaches inside to grab it. The hunters approach to capture him. As it tugs and pulls, it can’t pull the banana through the hole. The strange thing is the monkey refuses to let go and run away before being captured.

Sometimes you may wonder if you too hang on to things no matter what the cost because you assume your happiness depends on having them.

Discontent of envy

In a ‘keeping up with the Jones’ type of society, envy can arise when there is a love of having more and more of the same things that other people have, only better and better things. In a competitive intellectual society, envy can also raise its ugly head. In both cases it is striving for anything which is owned, prized or wanted by others in order to gain their approval and admiration.

According to the major spiritual traditions, these sort of feelings arise when the superficial things of life are the sole centre of attention for their own sake, at the expense of deeper human values, human relationships and social obligations.

Story of Nasrudin

The Islamic mystics tell a story about Nasrudin out walking who found a man sitting on the side of the road crying. He wailed “I am so poor. I have no money and everything I own is in this little bag.”

“Ah-ha!,” said Nasrudin, who immediately grabbed the bag and ran as fast as he could until he was out of sight..

“Now I have nothing at all,” cried the poor man, weeping still harder as he trudged along the road in the direction Nasrudin had gone. A mile away he found his bag sitting in the middle of the road, and he immediately became ecstatic. “Thank God,” he cried out. “I have all my possessions back. Thank you, thank you.”

“How curious!” exclaimed Nasrudin, appearing out of the bushes by the side of the road. “How curious that the same bag that made you weep now makes you ecstatic.”

Discontent not noticing the valuable

Sometimes what is valuable is not noticed. It is hidden away in the simplest things of life but we do not see it or appreciate it because of the frantic pace of our lives. Overwhelmed by numerous commitments, activities and appointments, our lives are filled to the brim with things to do and little time to be – things to achieve and little time to appreciate. Greedy to accomplish more, we pack our daily schedules with things to do and places to go. Believing that achieving our goals is more important than being still to quieten the mind and appreciating the many treasures and simple joys stored up for us within the present moment.

Discontent not trusting in the Divine

Emanuel Swedenborg taught that those who trust in the Divine remain in equanimity whether they obtain their desires or not ; and they do not grieve over the loss of them for they  are content with their lot. If they become wealthy they do not set their hearts on wealth. If they are given social status they do not regard themselves as more worthy than others.

Is this not the route away from discontent and towards satisfaction and peace of mind?

Copyright Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems