Money and Inquiry

by Mayuri on December 5, 2009

Applying the Spiritual Method of Inquiry to Money

One of the themes that I have continued to talk about is taking responsibility? It seems like an easy concept, but it is actually something very difficult to do. Mostly we like to blame- our mates, our parents, our investment advisor, the government, the economy, Bernie Madoff etc. etc.

What responsibility means is taking the 180 degree turn- instead of looking at the other, we begin to look at ourselves. This is the turn talked about in the spiritual journey- you can’t start until you begin to turn inwards. But it is not just those on the spiritual journey who need to take responsibility- we all do. It is required if the planet is going to survive- the argument about that has moved from “if” to “when”. There is no “other” that is going to do that for us. It is necessary that each one of us take responsibility for how we are living our lives and what we are contributing to the planet. If you confront yourself truthfully, you can know for yourself.

Of course, we are influenced by the culture we live in.  One measurement of  the mean responsibility (average) in your culture is the carbon footprint, which you, as an individual,  are contributing to. And the carbon footprint in the US is the second largest in the world. The only country higher is Australia, and that is because of the exportation of their natural resources, not because of their consumer consumption, which the US’s is a reflection of.

So, what does that mean practically to take the 180 degree turn? How can you practice that in a meaningful way? The answer to that is a method called inquiry which you can apply to yourself.

What is inquiry? It is an open and open-ended questioning of our experience that leads to a living understanding of ourselves. It is experiential, not conceptual.

It is also natural and simple. It is how we as infants began to orient ourselves in the world. It is how we learned. For example, like “how can I pull myself up to this table”, or “What is this like if I put it in my mouth”. These inquiries are  not  answered through concepts, but actually making contact with what is happening right where we are. So, inquiry is part of being human.

What I am talking about in this context, is applying that same natural attribute of inquiry to our consciousness, so that we can see  ourselves more clearly. So that we can wake up to what we are doing, how we are living.More importantly, it can wake us up to our underlying beingness. It can penetrate our layers of defenses, our resistances and opens things up so that we can see more clearly the truth of a situation .It opens things up within the realm of our personal experience. And we can apply this inquiry to our relationship to money.

Let’s take an example. Let’s say I am a married woman who takes care of the money in our relationship because I believe my husband has no capacity in this area. I feel resentment and wish I had a more responsible partner.As I feel into my resentment, it reminds me of my mother’s resentment. I begin to recognize that my parents’ experience  molded this belief in me. In this example, my mother had an alcoholic husband and I remember the fear in my belly,  and I feel like I need to control the money or I won’t survive.So  I begin to see how I have been blaming my husband instead of looking at me.This looking at your own experience and taking responsibility for what is happening in your life is the 180 degree turn.

With inquiry, you can find what is beneath a feeling or belief, and this takes us into deeper and deeper realms of reality. And if we apply this inquiry into our beliefs, attitudes and reactions to money, we are using money as a spiritual path. Inquiry is the defining method the the Diamond Approach in the Ridhwan Spiritual School.

There are qualities that support our inquiry and make it more effective.We need to have an openness to seeing the truth, to allowing whatever comes up without having any goal or position or preference. That means we have to be able to allow ourselves to experience not knowing . Not knowing is the doorway to something new, to new possibilities and is not normally valued in our culture.  Otherwise we stay in the realm of the known which does not take us deeper into our depth or the truth. If we think we know the answer, then we are not open. We can be truly surprised about what we find out if we remain open to what is being revealed in our inquiry.

You need to start where you are. It is not about what you think, but what you feel. So check in with your emotions and body sensations. Remember inquiry is experiential. You are not trying to figure it out with your mind. In inquiry, the mind’s role changes from “figuring it out” to curiosity and recognition of what’s true.

The world of truth  is approached through increased attention to oneself – to our consciousness in the midst of our world dealings. And this is the beginning of our freedom from it.

The issue confronting us is that money is such an enormous role in our lives yet we are generally unconscious about it.

So in order to free oneself from the thrall of money, we need to study ourselves in the middle of it. Not avoid looking at our money issues and hope it will work out for the best. We need to begin to see the causes and effects of our relationship to money and inquiry can help us do that.

So the process is to dive into the middle of our money issues, feel the discomfort energy fully, and recognize what truth we find for ourselves in the middle of it.

When you do this, it removes the power from a structure, a belief, an emotion, and makes it transparent, so that whatever it was creating in your life disappears. And at the same time opens you up more and more to who you really are.

And when you rest more and more in your deeper true nature, in beingness, even in the midst of the intensity of feelings that you experience around money, you will be able to respond more skillfully to your money situation. And you will have more wisdom about your relationship to money that you can apply to it. And equally importantly, as a result, you will contribute to the sanity of the planet.

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