The Curious Nature of Money

The Curious Nature of Money

“Looking closely at money does seem to open up more questions than answers”

Even so, questions are important, and discussing money, so we can lose some of the potential stress and misunderstandings surrounding it, will be of great value (excuse the pun).

Often when seeking to understand money, we’re given advice and guidance that relates directly to its management: how best to save, invest, earn etc. All well and good, however, there is something of fundamental importance, that’s often overlooked: The Psychology.

The Curious Nature of Money

Time and money bear a close correlation. For example, we want that new car, bike or pair of shoes, but don’t currently have the cash available. So rather than waiting, until we’ve saved enough, we borrow. Buy now pay later. You might think fair enough. If we’re prepared to pay the interest on the loan, we’re able to enjoy the goods now, rather than later. But what is the psychology behind this thinking.

“What is buy now pay later really all about. Is this a lack of patience? Is it just a social thing? Or is it that our wants are greater than our needs?”

I’m able to compare my own experience of being young and broke with someone who is currently just starting out in life. When I was sixteen I didn’t have the cash to buy the moped I desperately needed, so, with my father acting as guarantor, I borrowed. It turned out to be a mistake – I borrowed more than I could afford – and my father had been foolish to allow it. He’d been unable to advise me otherwise. In comparison, I’m aware of a young man who, even though his earning capacity is restricted, has successfully managed to save enough money to buy his first moped. He’s also now saving for his next bike; a bigger one. He has no debt. To be able to put the words young and patient together, in the same sentence, is a very rare thing.

“We can know this is down to several potential factors”

Firstly he hasn’t been able to borrow money (no guarantor) or secondly he’s been cleverly advised out of it. The chances are, his beliefs – formed from advice and experience – have created a positive time/money correlation. In other words, he’s learned patience in its respect.

Home Ownership

Of course saving for a moped is one thing, yet buying a house for example, would be an entirely different matter. With the property market as it is, it would be nigh on impossible for the average person to ever save enough to buy one outright. He or she would be so old, by the time they’d saved enough, that they’d never have the chance to enjoy it. Plus we have the problem of house prices always increasing way above the rate of pay increases. And isn’t that a curious thing? The gap between the rich and the poor ever increasing do you think?

“Anyway Let’s Not Get Distracted!”

That last paragraph does all hinge on our beliefs relating to home ownership. Provided we’re able to find a decent landlord we can be quite happy renting. If you’ve no concerns over leaving inheritance to family members (or cat charities,) then owning your own home, is in fact a bit of a nonsense. We can all be sold on the idea of having no mortgage in retirement, but that can be offset, with the belief that retirement is a complete nonsense too. Retire from what? There are many ways we can stay as wage earners in old age. Society actually requires input from the older generation. This is in much the same way children (mostly) benefit from knowing grandparents.

The Curious Nature of Money

We could go on and on with the debate over money, yet there is one simple answer to removing much of the stress surrounding it. I touched on this earlier. It’s that thing of our wants being greater than our needs. Once we can reach a point in our lives where our wants match our needs we’ll be in a favourable position. The sooner the better. This is the time/money correlation in its essence.

“Doing this involves some cleverness”

If, at the age of sixteen, I’d been a little more canny and wise to the world, I could have avoided much of the stress and difficulties I’ve experienced ever since. If someone had said to me:

“Look kiddo, here’s the thing, you’re being fucked over by your own wants and your wanting is being driven by your beliefs on happiness.”

“Right now you believe the only root to your happiness is that moped, right? Okay, so what would need to happen for you to find this freedom and happiness without it?”

That last question would certainly be a mind-bomb for the average sixteen year old. It would probably be the case, that suggestions from someone I believed in and respected, would’ve been necessary. Perhaps, if such a person had introduced me to an inexpensive hobby, things would have worked out differently. Perhaps, if it’d been explained – in clear and simple terms – that happiness and freedom must begin in the mind, and never outside of it, things would have been very different.

The Curious Nature of Money

All in all, there’s no getting away from the facts of life: We will always need sufficient money to cater for our basic needs and independence. Without that we’ve no chance of happiness, and to add to our misery, illness is potentially around every corner.

“So to close”

Hopefully this has opened up your mind a little to the subject in hand. I would question the belief that money buys happiness. Without our basic needs being met, we’ll be unhappy, that’s a given. However, our attitude of mind, mentality and belief system, has great bearing on the amount of stress and unhappiness we might experience around the subject. It’s really worth pondering on the time/money correlation. Surly it’s the case, the wiser we are and the sooner we find this wisdom, the happier we will be from the offset?

You can find out more on beliefs through workshop attendance and by typing in the search word ‘beliefs’ into the appropriate box. Your application form can be found here.

 

Tasked

The only reason I’m writing this post today is because of this word: Tasked.

I’ve heard it many times over the last few days so that’s the trigger.

And I hear you ask:

“You’re writing a post because you’ve heard the word tasked several times?”

And I reply:

‘Yep it’s that simple.’

The next question that comes to mind is:

“Who’s setting this task?”

And I reply:

‘The universe is setting the task.’

And the next question:

“How do you know it’s the universe?”

And the reply:

‘I don’t, does it matter?’

The only thing that really matters is that you set yourself a task. Without it, there’s little point to life. Without task life is empty and meaningless.

Tasked
We’ve all been tasked to evolve

So my task, as is everyone else’s, is to further life. It is actually the most fundamental task, we’re all set from birth, we just don’t often see it that way.

“Life’s task is to further life.”

When we take a moment to think about life on earth we see that every single, living organism, be it a virus, parasite, worm, or indeed human being, is driven mainly by the need to reproduce.

“Evolution see’s to it that the most adaptable, healthy and strong, get to spread their genetic coding.”

In time the weak fizzle out and die. How long it takes, for mother nature to weed out the weakest and least adaptable, is often something we’re unable to perceive of. The process of natural selection happens over many, many years. It’s happening to us now, we just don’t see it. When we look at the creatures on earth, and all the weird patterns, shapes and so on, within the species that live here, we get a sense of how ancient the planet really is. This planet is very, very old.

“In real terms, our evolution is happening all the time, yet due to its time frame, we’re unaware.”

As we now understand, we’re all tasked to reproduce. So is that it, or is there more we can do?

I believe if we include evolution into this task we’ll be getting somewhere. In other words, we must continue to make our evolution something we’re conscious of. We’re certainly conscious when we’re reproducing – and what a beautiful consciousness it is – however, as with all other living beings on the planet, evolution isn’t always so pleasurable.

“Evolution and natural selection teaches us to do without certain things as other aspects change and adapt.”

Let’s take consciousness. To assist with our evolution and future survival we must become more aware. That seems simple enough, and yet how we do this, is not quiet so clear cut.

Raising our consciousness involves cutting back on some of the clutter. In other words, we must become more efficient with our thinking.

Mindfulness is the word we can use to describe this efficiency.

“We’re efficient when we’re mindful of our thoughts and actions because mindfulness reduces waste.”

There is actually a kind of paradox here. You might imagine, that to be mindful of our thoughts and actions, the majority of the time, would take a lot of energy. It does. However, through being mindful – in the long term – we become more efficient due to spending less time in the past or future, or indeed nowhere in particular, through daydreaming. We become more efficient, and waste less time, by keeping our thoughts in the present moment. Practise is the key. The more we do it, the better we become.

Also the process of asking ourselves – from moment to moment – what our intentions are, is a very powerful way of raising our awareness. For example, what is your intention through reading this post? To learn something? Find a way to dismiss it? Be entertained for a moment? To find a way to disprove it and discount it? Perhaps, you’re looking to raise your consciousness too? What is your true intention?

Through raising our consciousness we better guarantee the future survival of our species. Be assured, the process of evolution and natural selection is doing many things we’re simply unaware of. It’s the genes, of those who seek greater awareness of this, that will survive. The task that life has set you.

Are you paying attention to what the universe is tasking you?

game

Be Aware of Your Game

Game

“To begin with it is important to establish an important proviso here: All of this is just a game”

Whether you like this idea or not, taking a moment to ponder on the concept of everything being a game, will prove to be beneficial to wellbeing, and ultimately your sense of contentment and happiness. It’s really about gaining a balanced sense of perspective.

We’re all playing our particular part in the overall game of life, and a particular, specific game as individuals. As a means of survival, the game you’re playing as an individual, has been devised over the time you’ve been alive. Your role in life is part of the game. When we ask: what is my role in life? We get to understand our purpose and direction.

And so, what is your role in life? What do you see as your purpose? Do you have a purpose? This last question is interesting, because even if you don’t see yourself as having purpose in life, this lack is also part of the game.

“Perhaps you have many roles and interests in life. You may be a mother or father yet also have interests outside of these roles. The more facets and aspects there are to your game, the more interesting your life”

Let’s take another example that’s a little more extreme. Let’s imagine you’re poor and homeless – you may want to add some colours here, perhaps there’s a sad background story, you might carry a lot of guilt and therefore have issues with drink or stronger drugs. We can ask: Why this game? Do you feel you have no choice in this? Are you simply compelled? Is there an element of control, or perhaps some kind of time frame to be played out? Even a homeless drunk, if it doesn’t kill him first,  will eventually tire of something pointless and so change the rules.

“Many homeless people will tell you their situation is through no fault of their own. Is this just another aspect of their game that changes once they take responsibility for themselves?” 

You see, pointless games, are played out by many of us for much of the time. It’s often the case that it has a time scale, and no matter how hard we try to step out of it – particularly one that’s self-destructive – we just seem compelled and powerless, to change it.

“This is where it becomes even more useful to see all of what we do as games”

It’s very empowering to see homelessness and addiction in this way; it implies some level of control. Sure there’s randomness within games (consider monopoly and the throw of dice) and yet we can choose to gain more skills within the game, and as such, play far more skilfully.

Game

I clearly remember playing monopoly some years ago; the situation seemed hopeless. I was almost broke with few properties on the board, with my opponent possessing all the money and properties, in favourable positions. Interestingly enough, after about two hours of play, I actually won!

I remember, before each role of the dice, figuring out what numbers I needed them to fall on, to stay out of trouble, and which numbers I needed to fall, in order for me to gain the advantage. To my amazement – not to mention that of my opponents – the plan worked. Every time I threw the dice, they fell to my advantage, in the end my opponent was bankrupt.

The reason I was able to turn things around, I believe, was through awareness: I planned and worked out how I needed the dice to fall. Bear in mind, this was a random game of monopoly, with the random nature of throwing dice as a deciding factor. So with this in mind, imagine how we can influence our game of life, through increased awareness. We think we’re aware right now, yet the truth is, we’re barely aware at all.  

“More than anything we’re unaware of the rules of our own games. There’s no doubt, if I failed to understand the rules of monopoly, I’d have had absolutely no chance of winning”

So understanding the rules – of your own game – is essential. Firstly what are you playing? A winning game (happiness and well being) or a losing (suffering) one? Secondly, how, by whom and when, were the rules established? Who showed you how to play? Did you simply learn it through trial and error? What are you looking to win? Life or death? Most importantly, are the games you play virtuous? In other words, are you looking to make your game easier, believing this is done through the manipulation of others?

Manipulation of others is based on fear, so if this is one of your rules – rules taught you by others – stop, because fears ultimately become self-fulfilling, ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS.

Game
You can influence the fall of the dice.

Awareness is the key. You can influence the fall of the dice with your awareness. Become aware of the role you’re fulfilling to gain the advantage. Are you the good or the bad guy? Which one are you? 

“Understanding gives advantage that can turn things around”

There is a set of rules that dictate how to find a life full of contentment and happiness. Unhappy and homeless is interesting for a while, however, as soon as we see it for what it is, through raising our awareness, we load the dice in our favour.

If you’re suffering just raise your awareness. What is the gameplay? In terms of the advantage, card or dice, what are you looking to achieve. For example, is the homeless man, through playing his homeless card, simply looking for someone else (society) to take care of him? In the long run this is often seen for what it is: gameplay that compensates for lack. Be this self-esteem, belief or simply an inability to stand on ones own two feet.

Game

We must remember: every game has some kind of end goal. Consider the true story of the Indian lady who lived on the streets as a beggar for forty years. Eventually, she’d saved enough money, to buy her own home. Gameplay to fool the foolish?

What is the end goal of the game you’re playing?

Time In My Head (for the professional)

“Just this morning I’ve been reminded of how I create a particular difficulty: I allow myself to be distracted”

Like me, you may be on a path; a journey toward a goal. This goal may require a lot of your time and energy. In fact, if you’re intention is to be successful at reaching your goal, allotting the correct amount of time and energy, is an important proviso.

Thinking time is very precious. If we’re to be successful, focusing our thinking-energy, in one particular direction, is required. Distractions can come in many forms, from everyday activities, (such as cooking, exercise, working and sleeping), to problems we may encounter when dealing with others.

Dealing with others can be the most distracting. Even when we’re cooking, washing up after we’ve eaten, or exercising much later, we can still be focusing our thinking-energy elsewhere. It’s other people that often break our train of thought.

“It’s the behaviour of others that can break the strong connection we may have formed with our important creative energy.”

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The way to understand this, and potentially deal with the problem, is to measure our level of our emotional involvement with others, compared to that of our work. We’re measuring the importance of purpose. Let’s say our intention is to leave some kind of positive legacy to the world. I’d say that was quite important, wouldn’t you?

Now, in order to finance your activities in this regard, you need work. It could be, the work you’ve chosen is deliberately undemanding; taking very little of your thought-energy. So much so, that even when doing the work, you can be busy processing your long term goals in your head. All well and good you might think.

The stumbling block are the people you must work with. No matter how hard we try, the antics of those around us, continue to interfere with our thoughts. The main reason for this is our own humanness, this is to say, our empathy and intuitive nature is getting in the way. Others disturb our emotions; they create emotional disturbances to such a degree it becomes a distraction. In this scenario we must ask ourselves: What must I do to lower the level of my emotional involvement?

“When we’re emotionally involved we’re being fully engaged. The reason for our emotional involvement may well be a lack of focus on what’s really important: our legacy.”

If we remain as the majority, we leave nothing, we simply consume and die. Think about it. Others, will potentially be distracting you from your purpose, simply because they have none. It is not your responsibility to teach them this, your responsibility is to yourself, and your positive legacy.

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It can be seen as hard or a little callous to suggest we must be indifferent to some of those around us, however, nothing is achieved when we’re being distracted from the goal of reaching our purpose. Mindfulness is key. Be mindful of your emotions and how others may be throwing stones into the pool of your mind.

legacy

From The Ridiculous to The Sublime

Sublime Beauty

The Sublime

“To be out of confusion, in a place of certainty, is to have a sense of the sublime.”

“To be associated with feelings of calm, wholeness, clear-headedness and direction of purpose, is also to have a sense of the sublime.”

Would you say that most of us, if we’re lucky, only ever get this sense for fleeting moments during parts of our lives? To feel in touch with the sublime every moment of every day would probably suggest we’re constantly high on drugs. In fact when we think of it now, we can easily understand one of the reasons for drug addiction. To take a drug, that puts us in the sublime, without any of the work necessary to reach this place, is no doubt very alluring.

Sublime Without the Drugs

Form that last paragraph you may have gathered my belief. I believe, feeling in touch with the sublime, is something we can all achieve. And no, I’m not a drug pusher, at least not the kind of drugs sold on street corners, that is.

“I push another drug, the drug created through sublimation

To sublimate is to rise above our instinctive drivings. When we do this we have the necessary energy to reach for the sublime. Our direction and purpose becomes something very different indeed.

If you’re in such a place, that the services of a Therapist are being sought, then first consider the importance of sublimation. Imagine, for a moment, freeing yourself of the type of instinctive drivings that have potentially created your problems to begin with. In other words, put aside the cure for your loneliness (relationships), put aside your need for a drink (guilt, frustration, boredom, loneliness), put aside your unthinking drivings: the things you do before you even think about it. Start to think about how what you do only adds to your sense of unease. And then make that call.

You may think some of your current behaviour is the cure; that it makes you feel better, however, when reality strikes, you do know these things are only temporary and fleeting, do you not? The more time we spend free from instinctive drivings, that use up our precious, creative energy, the more able we are to use this energy constructively.

Wholeness, The Sublime, Sublimation

Consider all the time used up by the majority simply following habits and patterns of behaviour, that are driven instinctively, and not just instinctively, perhaps only by habit: behaviour that has become unconscious and unthinking. The more we place our minds in the present the more we’re able to control our actions.

To become more aware, more conscious; this is to be more in control of your game; closer to the sublime

Be mindful of your thoughts, your actions, your drivings. What causes you to do the things you do? Are they beneficial? What kind of life do you want? We all have the potential to get the very things we want. Sublimation is the process of freeing up energy we now need to think creatively, proactively and constructively. Simply stop what you’re currently doing and think. Be now, be present; raise your consciousness; raise your game. That’s the way.

The Gates to Heaven – The Gates to Hell

Think: The Gates to Heaven - The Gates to Hell

“Both are here. Both gates exist here on planet earth. Both heaven and hell are here and nowhere else.”

You see, it really is a choice – or certainly is for most – in terms of which gate we choose. When I look around me, it would seem, many are choosing hell. In the process, hell is becoming more prevalent; more apparent in the world.

“How we do the choosing isn’t in fact a complicated procedure. It’s what our minds unconsciously seek, that holds the key. Changing this involves becoming wise to it.”

Take the example of a young boy in Aleppo who witnesses his mother and sister dying in the street: blown to pieces by a mortar rocket. Does this child live in hell? In the moment he sees his family destroyed by a mindless act, yes. Later though, he will have a choice.

The child can go on to harbour anger, bitterness and resentment for the suffering inflicted on him, through having his family brutally taken away, or he can look to understand it. He understands it to take away the pain and suffering. He gives the loss of life a purpose. “They died in the name of love” perhaps. “They died as an example of how mindless war is” perhaps. Or better still: “Wrong place, wrong time, and nothing more.” The religious, of course, understand it as ‘God’s Will.’ Hold to that, and we’re all pretty much powerless, to change anything.

Think: The Gates to Heaven - The Gates to Hell

During a recent experience, I realised, that the person who was bullying and abusing me (as many of us are, all we need do, is wake up, and open our eyes) was frightened. Terrified in fact. I could have easily added to her fear, yet on this occasion, I decided to respond to the situation with love. Not love of her, love of me.

“Love of me said: Becoming angry with this child will only harm you. In this way, even though I was – once again – being abused by the frightened, I remained calm.”

Be aware, at first, responding to abuse and anger with love, is hard, however, I firmly believe, that in time, it will soften even the most violent of abusers. My abusers – as do yours – live in their own personal hell. Don’t allow them to show you those gates.

The more we allow frightened, unaware people, to influence how we think, react and live, the wider the gates to hell are opened: A great yawning cavern of ignorance, hate, anger, and fear, lies before us.

I seek heaven here on earth as I believe it must exist. It exists, for the simple reason fear, and the man made hell we’re currently so busy creating, also exists. Think of war zones, Think of working 50 plus hours a week in a boring dead end job (as does my abuser). Think of being forced, on a daily basis, to do what we dislike. Think of being unable to breath because car emissions are choking our cities. Think: so much of the wildlife on this planet is under threat. Think: thousands of people starving to death in Yemen. Never think I always exaggerate. Starvation is the cruellest death.

“Heaven is found when we find a sanctuary within ourselves. When we no longer fear alone, when we no longer fear anger, when we no longer fear death, and when we no longer fear loss or change, we are safe in the sanctuary of our soul.”

Safe, because we’ve found our soul through the removal of the misty haze, fear and confusion creates. In addition to sanctuary within our souls, when we clearly see suffering as choice, we are freed by our own courage. Such a favourable position to be in. So favourable is this position, that we’re then able to spread this around, by teaching it others. When we teach it, we reinforce it within ourselves; our souls.

At times I think to myself: ‘It’s not my job to teach this person how to be a good manager, a good, kind person, a loving mother or son, a beautiful wife, husband or parent,’ And yet, if I give up, we all give up. Don’t you think?

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The Solution:

Think: how do I continue to choose suffering and then show others the gates to my personal hell? And then think: how could I make this place a more comfortable habitat for me and others? Think: what do I need to do, to open the gates to my heaven, to experience it, and then share it with others? Think: I. Love. YOU.