Money and Death

by Mayuri on May 20, 2015

You Can’t Take It With You

Image courtesy of 2nix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of 2nix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My Uncle Ken, a loving  heartfelt man and my mother’s older brother, passed away this week. And in contemplating his death, it also started a contemplation in me about money and its relationship to death. It may sound trite to hear “You can’t take it with you”, but it is actually a very profound statement. Whatever you can’t take with you, is not what you should be spending a lot of time on earth attaining. What does continue is your consciousness, your life. What is true is never lost.

At the same time, money is our society is embedded in everything that we do and is therefore something we spend a lot of time in our lives dealing with. But although it occupies an important place in the physical world, in the “god world” it has no importance at all. That is why Christ said, ” It is as difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven as it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.”

So the accumulation of money just for itself from this perspective looks ridiculous. I have often felt that those who accumulate money for the sake of it believe they are going to cheat death. The more money they have, the better and the goal is the accumulation of money for its own sake. This has become an illness that could affect the very survival of the planet. There is richness in the world, but it cannot be had through accumulating things. Acquiring things is the ego’s attempt to expand itself. Even if we could extend ourselves to the end of the universe and appropriate everything in our path, we would be missing the boundlessness of Beingness, our spiritual nature.

Because we can’t take it with us, it really has no value in and of itself. In and of itself, it is actually sterile. It is only a symbol of value, not real value. You could liken it to a physical body with no spirit in it. And it is our spirit that survives.  Why spend your life acquiring which adds so little value to what does continue after physical life- your consciousness? So the question becomes, how can we bring our spirituality, our consciousness into our money? And in effect transform it from something sterile into something valuable?

The only real value is in its use in the physical world. But for so many, the accumulation of money for the future (which is an illusion) becomes an end in itself, and we forget where true value lies. This is what I say in my book:

We experience a painful emptiness when we believe that the material world is the source of our bounty and don’t understand that our physical senses are not our soul’s satisfaction. The heart of our true nature is endless, boundless love and a richness that is not finite. The joy of Being cannot come to you from any possession; it emanates from the formless dimension within you, from consciousness itself, which is one with who you are.

Once we know this to be true, we don’t have to spend our time and energy acquiring more and more things and then trying to protect or hoard what we have—because Beingness is ours, and it is unlimited. The Being world is beautiful and glorious and luminous, and it is the source of our richness. The more we know ourselves as that, the more we understand that this richness is inherent in who we are.

So what if you learned to use money wisely for your own personal growth and for the growth of others around you? If you develop that wisdom, then you can let the wealth you have be the means of bringing in higher values of the progress of the spirit.
In his book, Grieve No More Beloved, The Book of Delight, Ormond McGill transcribes “There is no harm in acquiring great wealth if you possess it rather than letting it possess you. Look upon wealth as a means of acquiring greater freedom to do that which is worthwhile doing. If you can handle money in that way, then it is worthwhile acquiring in the physical world, as the stewardship of fortune can teach many lessons worth learning, but for far too many it is simply money, money, money…jingle, jingle, jingle.”

 

That does not mean we can’t acquire treasures and collectibles that are meaningful to our hearts- that is not the same as collecting money just for the sake of it. What is important to remember however, is that those objects are not valuable in and of themselves, but because of the joy or pleasure  – the Beingness – they bring our hearts and for the reminder of formless dimension of Being that is their nature. They are valuable because of the formless dimension beneath them. If your treasures also bring joy to others, then that is even better. Nothing that beautiful, or worthwhile is ever lost. All that you acquire that touches your consciousness will go along with you in spirit.

Money is the perfect place to practice the spiritual principle of  “To be in the world and not of it.”

 

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Women, Money, & Spirit

by Mayuri on February 10, 2015

Speak Up, Speak Up, Speak Up

Image Courtesy of Dr. Joseph Valks at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Dr. Joseph Valks at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On Saturday February7, 2015 I attended a Symposium entitled Women, Money, & Spirit– A One Day Symposium Reflecting On the Meaning of Money in Women’s Lives at Dominican University in San Rafael, CA. It was a joint organization between Kate Levinson, author of Emotional Currency and Mairi Pileggi, a Dean and the Director of Gender Studies in Dominican University of California. There were two plenary sessions of all 200 participants, as well as breakout sessions in which I was honored to be invited to participate.

I thought I would share some of the points that were made during the plenary sessions that I believe speak to all of us.

Kate Levinson kicked off the event by talking about a crow that kept cawing at her, and how she suddenly felt that the crow was telling to her  “Speak Up”. She did a pretty credible caw imitation! As women we have a lot of values to bring to the transformation of the money system so that money can change including relatedness, reciprocity, feeling, nurturance, heart, sufficiency, compassion, caring, and connection instead of the greed and disrespect that have predominated in the masculine-based money system of the last millenniums. She proposed the money system could become more personal, connected and meaningful. But in order for this to happen, women need to speak up and break the taboo.

Georgette Wong is the CEO of Correlation, an innovative consulting firm dedicated to impact for world-class investors and the curator of the Take Action! Impact Investing Conference Series. She is in the field of this practicing Make Money, and Do Good. She explained that what she means by impact investing is using money to channel into the heart. That we need to use our money to support our life purpose and our vision. She asked the provoking question” will you invite your money to join you on your life journey?”  She also asked us, “what are you willing to ask for, to command”.

Barbara Sargent is the founder of Kalliopaia Foundation, whose mission is to contribute to the evolution of communities and cultures that honor the unity at the heart of life’s astonishing diversity. She gives grants to smallholder projects for women, grants that align with each other and the earth and consciousness. Her wish is to bridge the “other”- the rich and those without and start the flow of money from those that have it. Like me, she sees that money to flow to keep the whole cultural system healthy. The way I have spoken of this in my book is that money is like blood- if it doesn’t flow it stagnates and stagnant blood can mean at least the loss of health, but also possibly death.

Kim Klein is an internationally known trainer, speaker, and author well known for her ability to deliver information in a down-to-earth and humorous way. And she definitely had us in stitches! Kim talked about the issue of asking- the willingness to ask “will you help me?” and how women have been conditioned that they are not supposed to ask for things. She said 70% more people give money away than volunteer- and where that money goes is to those who ask! She suggests we need to reclaim our asking as women- a powerful imitation and part of the practice of generosity.  She encourages us not be afraid to ask, but rather recognize that our  part of generosity is to ask. Then you could experience joy of asking and of helping each other. She closed with “Do what brings you joy!”

Sister Carla Kovak is a member of the leadership team of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael. As a Dominican Sister, she has practiced living the vow of poverty for 50 years, and lived communally with no personal money and yet the experience of sufficiency for a part of this time. She sees the real poverty is in the status of women in the world, in education, networks, community and how we have all been contributed to this. She envisions a solidarity with all beings, and the joy and abundance that comes when we are happy with enough!

She recognizes that everybody has needs, even this with a lot of money, and that there really isn’t a hierarchy of needs- money doesn’t shield you from life.  When we realize there is no asymmetry when it comes to needs and have a compassionate view we can start the bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots. That would mean each of us owning our humanity and entering into the dance of giving and receiving.

Chris Fortin, a Soto Zen Priest, led the closing ceremony. She left us with two impactful statements from the spiritual point of view that provoke food for thought:

No giver, no receiver, no gift

and

We think we are doing things for ourselves, but we are doing it for the world

As I was leaving, I ran into one of the three men who were brave enough to be with 200 women for the day. When I asked him how he had been impacted, he said “I learned more today that I learned in 30 years of  being in business”!

Perhaps you will attend Women, Money & Spirit Next Year!

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