Nine Worthwhile Things Money can Buy.
“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.” ~ Henry David Thoreau.
We modern hippies and spiritual types love to criticize those with money, or—if we have money—we love to not be transparent about the privilege said money affords us. I grew up without money, but I did grow up wealthy—a loving mom, a safe home (though we lost it, eventually), a cute cat (“Boo”) and a rescue dog named Pumpkin and a garden and poppies and a hand-me-down bike.
But our Buddhist teacher, Chögyam Trungpa, would always emphasize that it’s an ethical value to be able to pay one’s bills. To be a good citizen. Wealth doesn’t matter—but money, which he referred to as “green energy,” does.
We can relate to it sanely, without attachment, but with mindfulness. And we must, if we’re to transform money into a vehicle for improving our world, rather than a reason to exploit it.
Money may not buy us love—that’s what meditation is for. But it can buy us simplicity—a freedom from fear, and worries.
So let’s look at nine things worth “buying.”
1. Travel. When you want. Where you want. Stay in a hotel, or buy or rent a bike. Freedom to explore.
2. Time. While most rich folks are busy working, truly rich folks know they can go down to the creek with a hammock and a book you want to learn something from and do nothing on a sunny day. Time to spend with one’s children, or family, or friends, or camping, or climbing, or just doing nothing once in awhile.
3. Clothes that fit. I grew up poor, never had a dress shirt fit my arms, neck and torso.
4. Healthcare. The feeling that you could get run over by a car on your bike and just go to the hostpital and get a cast on and be fine is soooo relaxing. I’ve never felt relaxed in that way, ever. Also, teeth that fit your mouth—dentistry. I’ve never really had either, and my front teeth are wearing out ’cause they’re hitting my bottom teeth.
5. Generosity. Giving to foundations, non-profits, childrens’ baseball teams, good causes, human beings…and most of all, buying mom or dad a house. Of course, we can always be generous with our words and heart and attention and time and within our means, money. But—the feeling of setting my mom up, the last few years, has been one of the best feelings of my life. Helping her enjoy her retirement, and take a retirement. Helping others.
6. New socks. New undies. PS: “new socks have chemicals that will fuck up your feet if you don’t wash them up first.”
7. Starting a rescue farm…a sanctuary. Elephants are going extinct. Let’s fight that!
8. No worries about money. Being debt-free. No mortgage, no student loans, no worries.
9. Extra guac.