Money - Money Talks, but it can’t love you back
by Connie Miller
Money is one of today’s top stressors, and many clients are seeking counselling for financial problems. They seem to suffer from a deep lack of self-esteem related to money. Their problems come not from money itself, but from their deepest fears, fantasies and their relationship with money. What remains unconscious can control our behaviour. Unless we face our hidden beliefs and fears about money and make them conscious, we will sabotage our relationships as well as our sense of self.
Recently I watched a programme about children of billionaires. It has become evident in my practice, that not only financially poor people are facing problems today, but also the financially wealthy, who have become what I call “spiritually poor”. These children of wealth never seem to develop a sense of connection and belonging and often have difficulty experiencing true intimacy. They had all the money and material things they ever would need, but money, like things, cannot love us back.
Few of these children were allowed to go to the park, and choose their playmates. When they did, they were forbidden to invite these children to their homes, or if they did, the families of the neighbourhood children would judge them as having ‘more’ than they did and stop them from playing together. Eventually they had to choose their friends from a select, exclusive group of children of wealth. They not only lost their choice of friends, but they also missed opportunities to interact and develop relationships with diverse cultures. These children began to feel isolated, lonely, and different from their peers. Would money become the substitute for their self-esteem and give them a sense of connection and belonging? Would it become their higher power? Would money love them back?
What these children craved was time with their parents. Time was a commodity that was not available to them, as both parents were unavailable, working to maintain their money and status. A few children were lucky enough to have a consistent nanny who brought them up, but for the most part, many of them had maids and a series of nannies. They learnt that people could be hired to care for them, and that money could temporarily buy love. They also learnt that someone had to be ‘paid’ to love and care for them, and since they were nothing but employees, they could be dismissed at anytime. They learnt that relationships were inconstant, and not to be trusted. Later in life, how much time, and energy would they want to invest in intimacy? Intimacy means, ‘into- me- see.’ Who really saw these children? How did they learn self-esteem? What they learnt was that it was easier to count on money than people.
How did they learn to respond to authority? With money? How does one develop a tolerance to frustration when everything is solved immediately with money? What happens to these children later when it is time to discover their dreams? Are they even allowed to have their own dreams after getting whatever they wanted in life? Do they feel obliged to remain in the family business? What are their fears, including the fear of failure? Is the unspoken message “You will be thrown out of the family if you become successful.”? When they experience loneliness, lack of love, and connection that having wealth brings, they may never want to continue in the family business.
Will money fill that empty hole inside of us? What is the attachment to things outside of us for love and security? Maybe it is not the money that is the problem but our relationship with it. Like anything that we attach to outside of ourselves, such as food, drugs, and alcohol we get temporary relief. A quick fix that gives us great mood swings. And, like anything in our lives, we can build a tolerance to things that come from outside of ourselves, which results in wanting more. Money becomes like any addiction, a spiritual calling, but one that goes to the wrong address.
Maybe the Beatles were right, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love”.
Self-worth or net worth?
How do people put a value on self-worth? Never having an identity, can money give them one? Did they mortgage their souls for false security? Will having money make these clients look perfect?
I ask my clients to clarify some of their beliefs about money including the ‘no talk’ rules that exist in their families. Often just talking about money brings about much anxiety and secrecy. Most people will talk about sex before they talk about money. Money is the thing most often lied about in marriages and relationships. Are we told not to talk about money in a household even though our material wealth or lack of it is visible? Is there shame connected to having or not having money? Is it more acceptable to talk about a lack of money? Are we judged by how we live and where we live? Does this help us to feel more disconnected? If I am poor, will I be seen as lesser than others? Will I be seen as an outcast, lazy, downtrodden, foolish, and undesirable? What if my family believes that money is the root of all evil? What are our cultural beliefs about money? Does having money signify superiority, happiness, belonging, wisdom, sex appeal, perfection, and even spiritual superiority? Are people with money more deserving? Do we judge one’s value by how much they are worth? Do we think that people with money have no problems?
Fear, doubt, anxiety, and disbelief all serve to repel abundance from us. Faith, love and gratitude for the gifts of our lives keep energy and abundance flowing. The more we trust in our well-being, the more it will be realised. We can have money intelligence but what about a spiritual intelligence? Maybe it is time to build a spiritual capital instead of a material capital. Similar to the game of Monopoly, we spend our lives trying to get more to be more, sacrificing and mortgaging our souls to be loved. In the end, though, like the game, everything we worked for all goes back in the box and all that is left is love; the very thing for which we have been searching.
We need to develop our spiritual intelligence so that we can gain spiritual capital in our world and therefore build financial recovery. We can build a spiritual capital with our spiritual intelligence. The concept of spiritual capital can establish a base on which there is mutual trust and communication in organisations. Spiritual capital reflects the core values, the person’s value systems, and the internal driving force of human beings; these qualities are essential to build lasting relationships among people of different backgrounds. It addresses those concerns about what it means to be human and the ultimate meaning and purpose of human life.
Danah Zohar reports, “Spiritual intelligence is badly needed in our market economies today. It allows people of different backgrounds to understand each other in friendly terms, to think creatively and change the rules and their roles in their lives according to new situations. It allows people to think about all kinds of possibilities and vision in life. When we develop our spiritual intelligence, we have the ability to dissolve old ways of thinking that put too much emphasis on material capital. Spiritual intelligence refers to the skills, abilities, and behaviours we need to help us balance the expansive love that flows through our hearts and all of creation with the need for discipline and responsibility. When we successfully balance these polarities in our own feelings and in how we treat others and the world, we are able to create forgiveness, healing, and connection and in fact we are co-creating with God.”
Spiritual intelligence is a way of thinking, using the peace of God within. Spiritual intelligence does not mean being clever, for that implies short-sightedness, and this is different from true spiritual wisdom. Many politicians are clever in order to attain a goal outside of them and are motivated by self-interest – the gains are short- sighted. Spiritual intelligence sees the larger whole and how we are all connected. Just as cleverness divides, feeding the ego, saying “I am better than you”, spiritual intelligence includes and unites.
For many of us, work is a means to an end – to acquire possessions, maintain our sense of identity, and improve our lifestyle. For some people, however, work can also be a means of avoiding distress through channelling their energies into busyness, relationships, or addictions. Our work can be an expression of who we are or it can be a job. Finding our purpose and expressing our gifts can be a life- long journey. Rather than referring to a ‘career’, we may need to reflect about the meaning of our work at various stages in our lives. More commonly today, it takes a few turns and changes of direction for us to find fulfilment in life. Building your spiritual intelligence may help you when you reassess your work situation. For different reasons, many people around the world are unhappy and this can be an opportunity to look at work as a possible area of change.
There are seven factors, which are necessary for spiritual intelligence and behaviour reported by Howard Gardner:
• Divinity, the sense of connection to a God figure or Divine Energy Source
• Mindfulness, an awareness of the interconnection of the mind and body, with an emphasis on practices that enhance that relationship
• Intellectuality, a cognitive and inquiring approach to spirituality, with a focus on understanding sacred texts
• Community, the quality of spirituality connecting to the community at large
• Extrasensory perception, spiritual feelings and perceptions associated with non rational ways of knowing
• Childhood spirituality, a personal, historical association to spirituality through family tradition and activity
• Trauma, a stimulus to spiritual awareness through experiencing physical or emotional illness or trauma to the self or a loved one.
There are twelve necessary components recognised for spiritually intelligent leadership. Each stage overlaps the other and serves a primary function: Self-awareness, spontaneity, being vision- and- value-led, holism, compassion, celebration of diversity, field independence, humility, tendency to ask the fundamental “why?” questions, ability to reframe, positive use of adversity, and sense of vocation. Some of the qualities of spiritual intelligence are values such as courage, integrity, intuition, and compassion and love. These imply responsibility to one another. The more aware you become, the more you let go of your old roles and the ego is reduced by removing all thoughts of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. This gradual process of reduction calms the mind further and leads to the experiencing of progressively deeper levels of peace and happiness. Developing our spiritual intelligence is critical today so that we can have a strong enough inner world to sustain our need for belonging, self-esteem, contribution and love. When we develop our spiritual intelligence, we can begin to ask ourselves what we are doing and then seek some fundamentally better way of doing it. As human beings, we live by meaning and purpose, not by status or pleasure. Maybe having less, will make us depend on others more and to rely on our inner resources.
Elizabeth Dunn from the University of British Columbia did a study last year that showed that spending five dollars on someone else promoted greater sense of happiness and connection than spending it on yourself. When we are busy, trying to get there, we avoid the very things that would make us happier such as donating to charities or spending time with others.
Lately, I have been travelling throughout the world training others and doing workshops on how to access our spiritual intelligence. I have seen many types of money. I have seen many things written on various currencies. So far, I have never seen “In Money We Trust” written on any of them. “In God We Trust” is written on our money. Yes, money talks; but maybe we are not really listening.
Connie Miller, NCC.LPC.TEP is the founder of Souldrama® a group experiential process that combines psychotherapy and spirituality. It helps people move from their rational, through their emotional to their spiritual intelligence by aligning the ego and soul. This process helps people to discover their higher purpose in life, moving those that have been stuck in relationships or addictions, so that they can become spiritualleaders. She can be reached at www.souldrama.com
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