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One topic I have been pondering a lot, and don't seem to understand is the concept of money from a "big picture" perspective. Assuming we are on the earth to work out karma and learn spiritual lessons and what not, then how does money play into it all?

 

Another thing I don't understand is why it is that I never seem to have any lol.

 

I realize this topic is rather broad, but I would be interested in hearing perspectives about money.

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Money? I'd say it's an artificial social construct created by humans and only really defined within our narrow set of human interactions.

 

If you were born in another time, you'd probably be bartering and wondering why you never had anything of value to barter.

 

Its importance? Relevance to spirituality? No more important or relevant, I'd say, than a computer. Or pants.

 

Do you need a computer or pants? Only in so far as the narrowly defined social interactions between humans force you to (which, to be fair, can be a lot).

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From a big picture perspective, money is a tool, a resource, like many others yet unlike many others. Its usefulness comes about because of the abstraction that allows the society to have moved past the barter system - so of course it is "a human invention." A necessary one, for better or worse.

 

It all comes down to managing resources and the juxtaposition of the individual's risk/reward calculus. Money doesnt really buy intangibles though, like happiness, health, wisdom, though judicious usage can absolutely facilitate the intangibles. There's a proper range for every individual, and part of freedom is the ability to manage that for oneself - but when the state spends too much of its citizens' money, it must take additionally in accordance with its binge, leaving the individual with less resources with which to exercise his freedom. So it behooves one to cast votes that do not encourage the spendthrift, for eventually it weakens the nation - but it all starts right here at home and how we conduct ourselves.

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Like Joeblast said: Money is a tool...the problem comes when we get attached (like with anything)

 

Acquiring large sums of money is rarely a foothold on the path. However, when were not a monk and live in society using money for survival becomes a necessity. I feel its best to endeavor to simply manifest purely what we "need" be it food, water, clothes, shelter...and throw the rest away. Acquiring excess can become very entangling.

 

-My 2 cents, Peace

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Money is almost like a form of karma. It is a force, or type of energy. It is a way of translating how much work you give out, and how much value you give to others, into a material form. It is coined personal power. To spend money means to trade the crystallized efforts of a human being for an object worth the same amount of work. A human being is a conduit for universal energy or qi, and in proportion as he uses and transmits that energy, it will finally be stamped into material existence in the material world. A person will contribute to the larger pool of all wealth an added quota which can be returned to him in the form of material money. You could call money "green energy".

Edited by Immortal4life
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I'd like to add to a good joeblast's post that people often confuse money and marketable skills (that is skills that have some reasonable level of labour market demand). When somebody has good marketable skills and just a bit of common sense, they can easily adjust their requirements for a balance in life between material necessities and spiritual growth. When no skills are in place, this is when the problems start.

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"Cash rules everything around me"

 

It really does. Try living without an income or any savings...the way things are set up is that you basically can't. You can't live.

 

So, already we can see: it determines your very life.

 

Air is free...you can breathe almost anywhere.

Safe water isn't free. You need it within a few days or you die. Need money.

Food isn't free. You need it within about a month or you die. Need money.

The list could go on, but basically, you require money to survive. We don't live in the wild anymore. There are new rules.

 

Then if you want a certain level of comfort (nothing at all wrong with that) you need to use money, either frugally/intelligently or lavishly. Don't be apologetic...the difference may be significant. If you live too frugally, you may be in a bad neighborhood, and someone will break into your house and kill you while you're on the zafu. That's unacceptable!

 

Since you're spiritual, you should be wanting to help your fellow earthlings. That is next to impossible without money to put towards the cause. If you want to be a positive force in this world, you need money. It is more important than meditation.

 

Some have said things akin to, "money is the root of all evil". There is only some truth to that. For instance, it's evil to be capable of spending billions of dollars and not use any of it to help better the world.

 

But for us, poverty is evil. It breeds crime and corruption. Makes you unintelligent and ineffective. It disables you, so that you can't improve your life or the lives of those around you.

 

If you don't have money to pay your bills, you are effectively stealing. A spiritual person should take care of their debts as fast as they can. It feels good to pay everything off and be FREE...and it's a burden to owe. Even for your own benefit of having a clear conscience, having more than enough money is good.

 

Lets say you want to raise kids....well, do you want to raise malnourished kids? Kids who go with the wrong crowd and end up getting into a lot of trouble...who end up having a record and ruining their future? Kids who don't know how to save money, so they steal or deal drugs, and live a miserable life? Kids who don't end up going to college because you were broke and unable to help them out, so they end up working jobs that they hate and barely scraping by? By being poor, you are ruining the lives of everyone around you.

 

Anyway: it is absolutely necessary to put forth all effort to be smart with your money. That is my opinion. It's also wise to invest...I am (still) in college and just set aside 20 bucks a week. That's like skipping 2 meals out, or not going to see a movie in the theater. It equals out to about 1000 a year. Investing that (intelligently) will make me into a millionaire after about 47.5 years at the interest rate of 10%...a little less than what the market has done over the long term. It's essential to start investing early. But I also plan on investing 10% or more of what I earn once I have a real career...so the millionaire mark will come even faster.

 

Be smart...read books on the subjects of personal finance, frugal living, and smart investing.

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Great post Scotty, advice I need to take to heart. I have a high paying job but am horrible with my money. Definitely one of the areas I need to work on.

 

But, I AM taking steps, bit by bit, to get better about it. Have any recommendations for good books on personal finances?

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For that subject, I have taken a lot of hints from here and there. For instance, keep a tiny notebook in your pocket and record each thing you spend, so you always know exactly how much you should have in your account.

 

I'm finally getting smart about money this year so I'm definitely not an expert yet. Hopefully others here can recommend things. My next book purchase is probably this one on personal finance, based on the positive reviews:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Personal-Finance-For-Dummies-ebook/dp/B002UHTTZS/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1332291745&sr=8-6

 

Something I think a lot of people don't bring up is that spending less requires building a lifestyle that you love, which isn't so costly. Kind of the same concept as if you quit an addiction, you need something else to fill its place. It's always possible to surround yourself with cool and high quality things that are less expensive...and if you want something expensive, if you just wait a little while, usually you end up losing the "need" for it and could care less.

 

I think it's good that if you can't find anything decent that's cheap, you buy the one with the best quality no matter the cost. Save up so it's doable. That way you increase the sense of value of what little possessions that you have...it's not worth surrounding yourself with cheap junk.

 

Or expensive junk.

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Money may be (for many) linked to things like value (money = value of exchange). May be linked to choice. May be linked to morality/deserving (this I figure as both unfair and pretty arbitrary, unless you count birthright - also arbitrary). May be linked to personal sense of worth. May be linked to personal sense of value. But since money only has value in exchange, IMO/IME all of the latter are at best approximations, at worst skewed to prevailing values which may or may not have anything to do with actual contribution. I don't even want to begin untangling the karmic stuff on this one.

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"Cash rules everything around me"

 

It really does. Try living without an income or any savings...the way things are set up is that you basically can't. You can't live.

 

So, already we can see: it determines your very life.

 

Air is free...you can breathe almost anywhere.

Safe water isn't free. You need it within a few days or you die. Need money.

Food isn't free. You need it within about a month or you die. Need money.

The list could go on, but basically, you require money to survive. We don't live in the wild anymore. There are new rules.

 

Then if you want a certain level of comfort (nothing at all wrong with that) you need to use money, either frugally/intelligently or lavishly. Don't be apologetic...the difference may be significant. If you live too frugally, you may be in a bad neighborhood, and someone will break into your house and kill you while you're on the zafu. That's unacceptable!

 

Since you're spiritual, you should be wanting to help your fellow earthlings. That is next to impossible without money to put towards the cause. If you want to be a positive force in this world, you need money. It is more important than meditation.

 

Some have said things akin to, "money is the root of all evil". There is only some truth to that. For instance, it's evil to be capable of spending billions of dollars and not use any of it to help better the world.

 

But for us, poverty is evil. It breeds crime and corruption. Makes you unintelligent and ineffective. It disables you, so that you can't improve your life or the lives of those around you.

 

If you don't have money to pay your bills, you are effectively stealing. A spiritual person should take care of their debts as fast as they can. It feels good to pay everything off and be FREE...and it's a burden to owe. Even for your own benefit of having a clear conscience, having more than enough money is good.

 

Lets say you want to raise kids....well, do you want to raise malnourished kids? Kids who go with the wrong crowd and end up getting into a lot of trouble...who end up having a record and ruining their future? Kids who don't know how to save money, so they steal or deal drugs, and live a miserable life? Kids who don't end up going to college because you were broke and unable to help them out, so they end up working jobs that they hate and barely scraping by? By being poor, you are ruining the lives of everyone around you.

 

Anyway: it is absolutely necessary to put forth all effort to be smart with your money. That is my opinion. It's also wise to invest...I am (still) in college and just set aside 20 bucks a week. That's like skipping 2 meals out, or not going to see a movie in the theater. It equals out to about 1000 a year. Investing that (intelligently) will make me into a millionaire after about 47.5 years at the interest rate of 10%...a little less than what the market has done over the long term. It's essential to start investing early. But I also plan on investing 10% or more of what I earn once I have a real career...so the millionaire mark will come even faster.

 

Be smart...read books on the subjects of personal finance, frugal living, and smart investing.

 

Very well said Scotty. We can look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs to further expand on this:

 

450px-Maslow%27s_Hierarchy_of_Needs.svg.png

 

If your basic needs aren't met doing any kind of cultivation would be difficult and probably prove fruitless. There aren't too many places where you can just live in the jungle off the land anymore.

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I wrote this a while back:

 

Ode to money;

the lubricant of barter,

the measuring stick of perceived value.

We create it,

name it & play with it.

 

A useful idea,

worthy servant and poor master.

It Is because we think it Is.

And if you don't,

I have a nice P.O Box in Brooklyn for you to send it to.

 

Even Einstein had problems with money. In 1904 working as a patent clerk he met my great great uncle, Manny the accountant who explained it to him. Using language Einstein would understand Manny wrote this:

 

M = E C^2. Which translates into Money equals Energy times Consumption Now and Future.

 

You see how energy is at the heart of money? And what is energy? The potential for work. In humans terms Energy makes our lives better and more enjoyable. Flip the equation and we see E= M/C^2. Present and future consumption divides our M and cuts our Energy.

 

Equations must be balanced and choices made. Still one can break out of the zero sum game through leverage. Creativity, creating new resources or combining old ones in new ways allow more work done with the same effort. This is how the wise tap the source of money.

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Money is just a modernized way of hunting for a meal.

 

I abhor spirituality that preaches against money.

 

If you want to read a good book on money read 'Richest Man In Babylon.' Free on Google. Best book I've ever read on the subject and it deals directly with the subject. Very clear principles.

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Another thing I don't understand is why it is that I never seem to have any lol.

It has to do with a scam of the banks that was 'legalized' by the authorities below them. Debt is accumulating nearly everywhere, but people still have difficulty deriving the enlightening question and finding the answer to it: Where is it all going to?

And the answer is so apparent. (I recommend watching "Money as Debt" or "Zeitgeist: Addendum" for details)

 

And the karmic relevance of money: It equals power/influence in the world, and thus it can be used to control people through artificial scarcity, which triggers existential fears. The way it is used today (and always will unless people change on a grand scale) is as the lifeblood of oppression/tyranny. Taking away money is much more convenient than sending a soldier to a household.

Edited by Owledge

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Apparently money is a lot of things to a lot of people.

 

I'd say that it is a measurement unit for value. Rather than trading chickens, you now trade money. You generate money for value given(work, services or products) and you give money for the same thing.

 

That's it.

 

Anything beyond that is your bias and over-complication in my opinion.

 

opinion:

I think it's funny how quickly people focus on the 'swindlers' and the people that steal or cheat others. When they are forgetting the other 98% of people who work hard and provide quality services.

 

Then how much thought, time and effort is put into trying to avoid being burnt.

 

When it happens. Forgive them, and move on. Focus on what you do, what you want, and how your building it. What others do is out of your control.

Keep your eye on what is in your control.

 

John

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Thanks for all the interesting responses. I guess one question I have that probably is impossible to answer, but I'll ask it anyways. Why is it a necessity to have and acquire material things to survive? as opposed to the spirit world where such things don't seem to be necessary? What is the reason for it??

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Impermanence vs 'relative permanence' - without sustenance, the body perishes - "things" assist and support the body. Things that move the speed of light dont pass time, if time isnt experienced, what of decay?

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Thanks for all the interesting responses. I guess one question I have that probably is impossible to answer, but I'll ask it anyways. Why is it a necessity to have and acquire material things to survive? as opposed to the spirit world where such things don't seem to be necessary? What is the reason for it??

I don't see any difference or contradiction. You need material stuff - food, shelter - (nominated in monetary terms for the sake of simplicity) to sustain your living. Likewise you need to put some effort to advance in spiritual development.

 

Some people are confused when they distinguish money and time. Both are resources. SOmetimes you have more money and less time, sometimes the other way. Just think of them as your resources, that might make things easier to understand.

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http://earlyretirementextreme.com/

 

Early Retirement Extreme provides a robust strategy that makes it possible to stop working for money in just a short number of years. It provides a paradigm shift in economic perspective from consuming to producing.

 

OK advice from that site, although his investment strategy is not revealed.

 

I already follow that line of living although my savings rate is not 75% unfortunately :)

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Speaking of money. I came across a website today that was teaching immortality for 10,000 EUR.

 

: /

 

Didn't know whether to puke or rage.

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Money is how we're controlled. A mass root chakra imbalance. The main system is set into place where the poor follow a paradigm of trading time for money while the rich follow the paradigm of using intellegence to make money. It forces us to constantly worry about survival. Money is nothing but paper with a value that was SUPPOSED to represent a fraction of precious metal. Once upon a time it was paper that represented a fraction of the gold the country had known as the "gold standard". Now that we've dropped the gold standard (for us in the USA) the paper means nothing.

 

Here's basically how is works. If we lived without money we could easily go out into the wilderness and grow our own food, be farmers, have our own land and live our life as we choose. HOWEVER because those with power have power, they have decided that they own the world, they own the land and that people have no right to the land, we have to pay taxes to the owner of the land, thus we need to slave for them in order to live on what was originally free. If we refuse those with power pay others to come and take you away and force you into a prison cell or execute you. Thus we are at the mercy of those who claim ownership of the planet. On top of that we are all in a mindset of the "individual" rather than the "group". When you have a small group, like a village or tribe that all work together for the good of the whole then it's a much better(imo) setup.

 

Getting away from the darker reality of things. Money is indeed a tool for survival. While this "system on self destruct" is still in play, however, we rely on it for the purchase of goods. It has been linked with the root chakra and the worry produced by fear of survival affects the kidneys/adrenals physically which actually leaves us with less energy to spend our time for money. It is, imo, the 'foundation' though, as for all endeavors in this world, it is required. Need food? you need money. Need shelter? u need money. Want to leave the city? U need money.

 

The bright side is that it's actually not that hard to get. The even brighter side is that those "in the gnosis" can use the money earned trading time and labor and leverage that to invest in better opportunities that can make cash the "smart" way.

 

In regards to karma...I don't really beLIEve in the "do good an good comes to you" kind of karma, so...idk what that means to anyone, but if you want to make a difference in the world, you'll need cash to finance it. Cash to me is kinda like "The Force" from Star Wars, it's "alignment" is determined by it's user. But I don't think there's a such thing as "money karma" it just depends on if you're exposed to the methods that make cash and if you choose to believe in them and make them work for you.

 

Why do we need material things? We actually don't (in my mind). As that bangin rap video said..."I'll grow my own food and eat the money". Buy some land, grow your own food and you're golden. Thats what I plan to do anyway. But what about food...do we really need to consume other lifeforms to stay alive? No, we don't, not when we're in our natural state, however the more we fill our bellies with food our body cannot use, the more clogged we become and thus the more we need from the outside. I believe the human vessel is a spiritual thing and comes completely self-sufficient...when it's clean. But from generations of misuse and ignorance, we're born with compromised bodies. If you wish to learn to live without food then I suggest you join the movement and learn to clean out your body. Then you won't even need most spiritual practices and meditation will be effortless. It seems like you intuitively know somewhere inyour heart that all this materialism is...maybe not "wrong" but at least "un-harmonious", that we shouldn't have to do all the things we're doing just to survive. We shouldn't be dependent on material things, we shouldn't need to work or slave just to survive in this world. You can free yourself if you know how.

 

-Astral

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