money - the grand delusion

Today we ask that you examine your beliefs about money.

For almost all humans, beliefs about money are a source of terrible misery.

Not money itself, mind you.

Beliefs about money.

What do you believe about money?

What were you taught as a child?

What did your parents believe about money?

Do you believe that money is hard to come by?

Do you believe that you must struggle and work very hard in order to earn money?

Do you believe that money is a source of terrible injustice and inequality in the world?

Do you believe that your existence depends on money?

Do you believe that without money, you would die?

Do you believe that money makes you worth something?

Do you believe that money makes you a slave?

Do you believe that you must constantly guard your money from those who would steal it?

Do you believe you must hoard your money?

Do you get a rush when you spend money on a “guilty pleasure”?  Do you feel guilty, afterward?

Do you believe that debt is shameful?

Do you believe that being dependent on others is shameful, or makes you a slave?

Do you believe that wealth makes people successful?

Do you believe that wealthy people are morally corrupt?

Do you believe that poor people are lazy, and should be ashamed of their poverty?

Do you believe that people with money have more value than people without money?

Write down a list of all your beliefs about money.  It might be very illuminating for you to do this.

Know this:

Every single one of your beliefs about money is false.  Every single one of these beliefs is a lie.  They are all lies.

False beliefs about money are perhaps the greatest lie ever perpetuated upon mankind.

Of course, it is humans themselves who created this lie.  It is not some great evil inhuman conspiracy — that is yet another false belief.

Individual humans perpetuate and maintain all the lies about money, and pass these lies down to their children.  

The truth about money is, money does not exist.

It is a made-up thing.  It is a magic trick.

What is money?

Print on paper?  Numbers on screens, or flying around in space?  What is this thing?

It is imaginary.  It only exists in its present form because people believe that it does. 

As an imaginary thing, it is neither good, nor bad.

Money is, in fact, whatever you choose to believe it is.  Herein lies your potential liberation.

We know that this is perhaps the hardest of all earthly illusions to break.

It is much easier for people to stop believing in God, than it is for people to stop believing in money.

That is because money appears to be “real.”

But is it?

Do animals believe in money?  Do animals use money?  

Animals interact with what is real, on this plane.  They interact with the dirt, the plants, the trees, the sky.  They eat and drink and defecate and sleep.  

Babies do not believe in money, either.  It is a concept that must be taught.  

If a baby is raised in an environment in which money is not something people believe in, that baby will grow into an adult who has no idea what money is.

But such an adult could understand mathematics, or the laws of physics, or the beauty of a painting.  Such a person would understand love.

That is because mathematics and physics and beauty and love are universal constants.

If you an encountered an alien species with a civilization roughly at your level of development, you could easily communicate with them about physics, mathematics, art, and love.  

However, those same aliens might give you a blank look if you attempted to talk about money.  

Do not believe that it is unjust that you happen to live in a time and space where money is a dominant illusion.

But know now that your existence in no way, shape, or form depends on money — no matter what you think.  

If all money ceased to exist right now in this moment, isn’t it true that you would continue to exist?

Therefore, you exist independently of money.

Since you live in a world in which almost everyone believes in money, it is useful to cultivate a healthy relationship with this imaginary thing.

Do not give it all your power, as so many people do.  That is insanity.

The best thing to do is to change your beliefs about money.  It is very hard in this world to stop believing in money altogether, although some people have done this.  But if you are going to believe in this imaginary thing, you may as well choose to have good and empowering beliefs.

Really, it is no different from believing in God.  If you choose to believe in a personified God, why not create a loving image for this deity?  Instead of an angry, judging, shaming God, you can choose to believe in a loving, beneficent God — and you will be much happier for it.  

If you are going to believe in money, instead of believing that money is the root of all evil and the source of all your problems in life — why not choose to believe that money is a wonderful form of energy through which you can express beauty, creativity, and love?  

You are not a slave to money.

Money, as a form of energy, serves you.

Money is like the genie from mythology.  The genie can be an unruly demon that wreaks terrible havoc in the world.   That is what happens if you live in fear of the genie, and believe it to be an evil demon.  But if you lose this fear, you can master the wild genie, and utilize its energy to grant your wishes.  

You must master your fears around money.  Most humans live in terrible fear of money.  Even rich people have terrible fears around money.

What are you afraid of?

Do you fear that if you lost all your money, you’d be homeless?  You’d starve and die?  Is this fear truly justified, for you?

Of course, historically, young Buddhist monks live as homeless people, by choice.  They spend time as itinerant beggars, begging for food.  They generally do not die in the process.  Instead, they attain a deep freedom.

Culturally, there is no shame around begging Buddhist monks.  Their cultures support them.  But in many places, there is terrible shame around poverty.  It is considered a mark of failure.  Many people commit suicide over this.  

It is the shame that makes beliefs around money so toxic for people.   Just as the belief in a judging, shaming God makes belief in that kind of God very toxic for people.  

It is not the money itself.   It is the shaming beliefs around the concept of money.  

More than anything, it is useful to examine your shame-based judgments about money.  Examine your judgments around rich people, poor people, middle class people, and corporations.  Look at the ways you feel shame around money, or believe that other people should feel ashamed around money.  

As attached as you may be to all your stories about money, they are not good for you.  And if you really sit honestly with these beliefs, you will see that they are simply not true.

If you can do this, you will break the death grip money is holding on your consciousness.

If you can do this, you will be free in a way that very few living humans are.

And it doesn’t mean you need to be a penniless monk.

Once you recognize that money is an illusion, you can choose to play with the genie, or not.

But never again will you give the illusion of money all your power.