How to transform money from a symbol of happiness to the experience
‘Sometimes money costs too much’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Only when you put your own happiness first, can happiness last.
The mission of ‘happiness first consulting’ is to enable you to choose to be who you really are – and experience the authentic, deep, lasting happiness that is already inside you.
Since biblical times, the pursuit of money seems to have brought happiness to some and misery to many. The saying in Luke that it is ‘easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle that a rich man to enter the kingdom of God’, is a metaphor of detachment and humility. The ‘eye of the needle’ was a small gate into Jerusalem through which camels could only pass if they took off their burden and went on their knees. It’s not the having (or not) of riches that weighs us down, but our attachment to materiality and the lust that drives us to seek in vain where happiness does not lie.
The power of money?
How does a pile of paper, a box of coin, or a number in a bank account gain so much power over mankind? Because we give over our power to something that does not exist! Money is only a symbol. A symbol of energy. A reflection of our relationship with ourselves in that area. And often a symbol of what we want more than everything else in life.
But symbols are not the reality. Symbols represent the reality. For example: a menu is a symbol of food. It can increase your appetite, but would you eat the menu to satisfy your hunger? The menu points the way – until you participate in the eating of the reality and have the experience. Similarly just having money can give you a thrill, but cannot give you lasting happiness. But your desire for money points the way to the fulfilment you seek. The clearer you are about what you really want enables you to use the symbol as a wayshower to the reality you’re after.
But there is a catch. Inside us we have two very different ‘selves’ – one false, the other true. The false self is insatiably driven. The true self is already fulfilled. If you ask your ‘false self’ what it wants, it will lead you into stress, burnout and bitter disappointment. Only if you ask your ‘true self’ will you be led towards your destiny and ultimate fulfilment. We call this quest ‘putting happiness first’, because only putting happiness first, makes happiness last.
The false self is loud, urgent and urges you into fools’ gold. The true self is quiet, patient and leads you to your highest good.
Whether you live in a castle or a cardboard box, lasting happiness is equally available to all. Likewise, rich or poor, all misery follows, like the night, the day, from erroneous identification with the ‘false self’ and it’s seven deadly habits:
2) Feeling guilty
4) Controlling relationships
5) Weaponising weakness
6) Withholding generosity (or being profligate)
7) Seeking revenge
The axiom of ‘happiness first’
‘To be most accursed, rich, only to be wretched,
thy great fortunes are made thy chief afflictions’ – Flavius, Timon of Athens
The axiom of ‘happiness first consulting’ is that you are already infinitely wealthy and blissfully happy right now. This is also the hidden underlying principle throughout the works of the spiritual master, poet and playwright, William Shakespeare. In this series of blogs, I shall be using famous Shakespeare quotes in a soul-centric way to illustrate this essential truth.
When you were born, you were literally a bundle of pure joy. Your soul, your true self, exists in a state of freedom, detachment, understanding, compassion, unconditional love, and instantaneous forgiveness. But this natural state of being has been ‘sicklied o’er with the pale caste of thought’. Over 7 billion men, women, and children on this planet are, in reality, blissfully happy. But if you look at the 10 O’clock news, or perhaps in the mirror, this is far from what you see and hear.
What the hell is going on? What the hell are you focusing your attention on that robs you of the bliss, joy, happiness, and fulfilment that is freely available right here inside you – if only you would look?
And, more important, what really is it you need to re-focus on to restore and enjoy the original, pure state of happiness that lasts forever and will never go away?
The next blog in the series summarises the fundamental, existential choice we all have, but few make, that takes out out of the dilemmas of materiality and into the wellspring of happiness already inside you.