On any given day, you could be diagnosed with cancer, get run over by a drunk driver or be a victim of a drive-by shooting.
Money anxiety disorder lies at the heart of so many of the disruptions that occur in our lives, our society and our world. It can be triggered by events like fluctuations in the marketplace, losing a job, having to ask for a raise, enduring a divorce or simply struggling to stay on budget.
Like the economy itself, our anxiety about money fluctuates, but we don’t have to be at the mercy of it. We can learn to cope with unpredictable financial times and stop the panic.
But we can’t evolve if we don’t take some kind of risk.
We must risk failure, love, approval and desire. And things may not work out in the way we plan or fantasize. We may have the best of intentions to choose and embrace a plan or go forward with a great project, yet there is always a risk. This is true for life in general and it’s definitely true in our spiritual relationship to money.
Just when we think we have enough money, a project falls through, an unexpected bill shows up or there is a natural disaster that derails us.
In our financial lives, there are so many variables. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and fires come unexpectedly and destroy lives and millions of dollars worth of property on a regular basis around the world. None of this is personal.
On any given day, you could be diagnosed with cancer, get run over by a drunk driver or be a victim of a drive-by shooting. There are risks inherent in just being alive, let alone all the other risks that we have to take in our dealings with work and money.
The heart of prosperity sees this, somehow embraces it and in some ways even moves toward it. This way, we face our fears directly and recognize through practice that what makes life exciting, interesting and worth living is the many unknowns and risks.
We must always be prepared for the changes that come with each passing cycle. All aspects of impermanence can be transformative. They can all lead to deep prosperity if we are centered and balanced. The world gives us many tools with which to better prepare ourselves. The Buddha calls this “cultivating skillful means.”
Using skillful means to approach your financial life will ultimately benefit all parts of your life. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Don’t lose faith.
Things will eventually change for the better. Keep moving forward, even if it means you have to start over from scratch. Imagine the worst that might happen and sit with this image until it no longer frightens you.
2. Stay calm as you plan your financial future.
Take regular breaks to breathe and collect your thoughts to ground and center yourself. Feel the earth solid under your feet.
3. Invest time getting to know people in your community.
Especially if you plan on asking them for favors. People are less guarded and more willing to help and support you when they feel your sincerity. Explore to what extent you are open and generous, how it feels and what it looks like. Explore to what extent you are not open and generous and how it feels and what it looks like.
4. Invest in expanding your knowledge and wisdom not just around the subject of money, but around yourself.
It’s the highest form of investment you can make in yourself.
Enjoy the harvest of the good investment decisions you made during the slow times. Slow down and fill up your spiritual bank account. As you start saving and investing, manage your money wisely; keep them it optimally so you can take advantage of the inevitable downturn. This is a mindfulness practice in itself. Instead of the focus being on the breath and thoughts coming and going, you can practice being with the flow of your finances and choose to make wise decisions that have a wholesome financial outcome.
6. Be generous.
Especially if you tend to hold onto money! Give time, energy, support and money to those in need. Remember to maintain compassionate boundaries. Being generous does not mean rescuing others, as this may actually prevent them from learning how to make it in the world.
7. Be a lighthouse.
Allow your love, kindness, wisdom, clarity and compassion to flow out of you freely so others will become inspired.
When you encounter a rock in the stream, flow around it. Remember the lessons of nature and use them.
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Assistant ed: Cat Beekmans
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