As a proponent of living mindfully and with a desire to bring mindfulness into my daily life in terms of: communication, work, family life, friendship, abundance, skillfulness and simplicity I have been thinking about mindfulness and money. I’ll write about the motorcycle in a bit.
I grew up with parents who wanted me to “understand the value of a dollar” and to “work for what I got”. These messages have been deeply ingrained. As a result, I have worked hard and believed what I have should be a result of the work I performed, so I had difficulty accepting gifts, especially gifts of money.
That being said, I do desire material things. I like to live in a place that is visually pleasing, preferably near a pond and surrounded by hemlock trees. I like to dress in clothing that is made well and is flattering.
I like to drive my Subaru because I live where winter is long and snowy and driving a Subaru helps me to feel safe. But yesterday, while driving my Subaru, I saw what seemed to be so many Lexuses (Lexi?) and I had a deep desire to have one because as well as being safe when I drive, I like to drive a fast and powerful automobile.
Perhaps for you, it is a house by the ocean, a red Porsche convertible, traveling to exotic places, or a motorcycle you desire.
I love gourmet food and fine dining at restaurants with ambiance. I desire beauty in the form of art, crafts, music, film and dance so I indulge in going to museums, crafts fairs, concerts, movies and dance performances.
I enjoy being generous with my sons, my friends and family members. I am also aware that when I am with people who have more money than I do, I enjoy being treated to meals. I find I am more generous to some people than others. I wish I had more money to be more generous, especially with my sons.
I find, when it comes to being mindful about money I have more questions than answers. I have many questions:
- What does my upbringing have to do with the way I think about money?
- What does my upbringing have to do with the way I spend money?
- What does my upbringing have to do with the level of my generosity?
- Why do I give to some people and causes more easily and liberally than others?
- Why am I comfortable accepting gifts in certain situations and from certain people, and uncomfortable in other situations?
- How do I assign value to what I purchase?
- How does money fit in with living a life of simplicity?
- Why is it so difficult to talk about money?
- How does money fit with the way I feel about myself and others?
- How do I feel about family members who withhold money?
- What do I want to teach my children about money?
- Why do I feel that when people have “a lot of money” their lives are “easier”?
- Would I be happier if I had more money?
What I do not question, is the importance of being mindful when it comes to money. I do not question the importance I place on living simply even with my desire for material things. And I do not question the value I place on being generous no matter how much money I have.