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27 Nov 15

Money is different. We need money. Right?

His email said this:

“I understand what you’re saying about not being attached to thoughts and questioning them; it makes sense when we’re dealing with people.

But when it comes to money, it’s different. We need money. We can’t walk around thinking that money doesn’t matter – we’d lose our homes, we’d be out on the street.

I’m paying out for a lot of things at this stage of my business and I’m not earning a lot, so more than ever I feel the pinch around money and that I really need more of it.

How can I not be stressed about this?”

The stress of believing our thoughts about money

Being on my journey with Byron Katie, my response is the first question of her process, The Work:

Beautiful luxury items - but is it true that we need money?“You need money” – is that true?

At first glance, of course it feels true. I look about myself and I see things that money has bought. My laptop, my phone, my mug, my diary, the walls of my home. Yes, it’s true – I need money.

The second question of The Work:

“You need money” – can you absolutely know that it’s true?

The defences and justification kick in. It’d be crazy to say no. It’d be irresponsible, deluded, head in the clouds, in denial.

But that’s not an answer. That’s not looking. That’s not meditating on this moment as I ask this question. That’s bringing all my assumptions and unchallenged beliefs and regurgitating what I think any sensible person would say.

If I’m going to answer question 2, I need time. I need to sit. I need to get honest. It might not come for a while, maybe not even today. It’s a question to live with, to get so close to. Can I absolutely know, without the tiniest doubt, if my life were depending on my answer being accurate, that I need money?

Life with the thought

Whatever I answer in question 1 and question 2, I move to question 3.

How do I live, how do I react, what happens for me when I believe this thought?

When I believe that I need money, how do I plan my day? How do I sit at my laptop? How do I interact with a prospective client, or with one who’s asking for a refund? How do I react when I log in to my bank account, when I contemplate taking another training course or going on a holiday?

What does my life look like when I believe this thought?

What happens to my body? To my relationships with other people – family, friends, colleagues, clients?

How do I treat myself? Do my addictions play up – whether with alcohol, food, sex, shopping or Facebook?

What are the images of the future that arise when I believe that I need money? What are the memories of the past that surface? Am I even noticing anything in this present moment, when these images fill my mental screen?

If you believe that you need money, I invite you to take time now to journal in response to these questions. Feel free to share your insights in the comments section below.

Life without the thought

Now, I imagine a parallel universe where I don’t believe the thought “I need money”. In fact, I can’t believe it. It’s like the thought just wouldn’t or couldn’t occur to me.

Who am I, sitting here, without that thought?

I notice how much calmer I feel. Time expands. I’m looking around myself, appreciating all that surrounds me, the breathtaking abundance of it all. Oxygen, being given freely to me. Comfort in my body. Gravity anchoring me here without asking anything of me.

I notice I move to take actions – and how interesting that these actions might bring money to me. Not because I need it, simply because I’m finding ways of being of service to others and I’m open to them paying me in gratitude for my contribution. I post on Facebook. I interact with my course participants. I write a blog. I speak with my team member. I email my accountant.

All out of love. All out of extending what I have to offer, being in connection.

And to serve my community, I create clear structures through which they can pay me. I price my offerings fairly. I embed PayPal buttons on my webpage. I write clear terms and conditions. Not because I need money, but because it’s simpler and kinder to create these pathways through which money can flow.

Life with, life without

In this, I experience the heart of what Byron Katie teaches – that when I believe my thoughts, I suffer and when I question them, I don’t.

And even beyond the absence of suffering, there is the presence of something. There’s action, happening. Without the thought that I need money, there’s service and contribution and generosity, and there’s also clarity and asking for what I’d like and receiving.

What would life be like for you, without the belief that you need money?

Over to you

I’m deeply curious to know what you discover in this inquiry. Give yourself time with this. You may have had 20, 40, 60 years of believing that you need money. It might feel like a responsible and important belief. So, don’t override yourself. Don’t answer question 1 or 2 with a “no” if your honest answer is a “yes”. Honour your yes, if that’s what feels true as you look with an open mind to find the truth, and move onto questions 3 and 4 regardless.

Feel free to share any and all thoughts in the comments section below; your contribution here means so much to me.

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© Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Image via Death To Stock

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20 Comments

  1. Kim Mason

    What a lovely article, and what a challenging process!

    Since going freelance as a business development consultant almost a year ago, I have felt my relationship with money change in an interesting way.

    I have enormous bounds of excitement and energy when I am talking to new clients about their business problems, when I am offering advice and insight on the bits that I’m familiar with, when I’m sharing my knowledge in a presentation, and when I’m meeting new people in the right environment. Money has no place here, because I am doing this because I love it – people’s responses to my energy reflect this back to me.

    When I’m back in the office doing my own accounts, I focus more on the money, I look at the costs that will be incurred, things that need improving, work that needs to be done. And suddenly my energy is gone, I start to question whether my work is any good, or whether it’s right for me and I forget about all those lovely clients, conversations, workshops and presentations.

    So this is when I believe that I need money.

    I don’t know about you, but I very definitely prefer the first scenario. That’s when I believe I can help people – and, as it’s business, and as Corinna explains, the money then sorts itself out. (With a bit of sensible process applied).

    Thanks Corinna, for another brilliant article. It’s triggered me to write a post about pricing next on my blog at http://www.allthingsnewbiz.co.uk – which, if you’re doing what you love, is much easier than when you are living for money!

    1. Corrina

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Kim.

      At workshops about pricing, I have two people stand on stage with me. I ask everyone to imagine a flow of energy coming through each person’s heads and out of their hands.

      One is the business owner, letting their gifts flow through them to the client. There is no sense of needing money because the focus is on the out-flow.

      And then the client is letting their financial resource flow through them to the business owner; the energy mirrors the business owner’s.

      It’s a powerful visual exercise because it shows that there is no NEED in these flows – in fact, need would block the flows.

      They are the natural outpouring of what each person has to give.

      1. Karen J

        Beautiful imagery in that comment, Corrina – Thank You! <3

  2. John Donaldson

    Thank you for asking these questions.
    When I thought about the early questions I re-interpreted it as:
    I may need money for the future.
    But I don’t today. I have sufficient for my needs at the moment.
    I have always had sufficient for my needs in the past
    So why am I concerned about the future which hasn’t happened yet?
    I hope this helps some people

    1. Corrina

      Very useful, thanks John. On a forum yesterday, someone posted: “What time is it? Now. This is all.”

  3. Annie

    Hi Corrina many thanks or this one. I can really relate to it. Found it interesting, timely and though-provoking.

    I haven’t yet taken these questions to a deep enquiry level – my surface level initial response was that I don’t need money (or instant access to money) at every moment all of the time.

    When money becomes an issue is when I want/need something that I can acquire only in exchange for money – and that familiar pang of oh no, I can’t have it – can’t have what – I shall have to settle for ‘less than’ at whatever level is within budget.

    In those moments where I don’t need money – sitting in the park working on something and hearing the birds sing and someone playing the piano – I am blissful and full of gratitude and abundance.

    When I want something that I don’t have the money for I get upset and slowed down. My confidence stumbles and I “retreat”. If only we didn’t need money I muse. But our society is set up in a way that we (generally but not always) have to part with money in exchange for goods and services. If society was set up differently and there was no need to spend money in order to get what we want/need, there would be no need to have money. It wouldn’t even exist as a concept.

    And if there was no need to have money, there would be no need to work! We would be free to work if we wish to and at what we wish to and not work if we don’t wish to. And nobody would bat an eyelid.

    There are some people who have learned to get through life without money. They perhaps offer their time and ‘labour’ in exchange for what they want and need. So no, we don’t necessarily need money. Except when we do 😉

    And the person we are when we fret about money is most likely less effective, less ‘productive’ less healthy, less happy and more stuck than the person we are when we relax into the moment and surrender to the idea that we don’t need money right now. (unless the wolf / the bailiffs are at the door right now!

    I’ll try…
    Annie´s last blog post ..Emigrate, Immigrate, Integrate, Grow

    1. Corrina

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Annie – and let us know what happens when you take these into deep inquiry. It can be stunning what we discover.

  4. Kate Bacon

    What an interesting question!

    At first the answer seems obvious – it has to be “yes”. But what if we take all the emotional drama out of the “I need” part…?

    Simply stating the fact “I need money”, then sometimes we do (to pay our bills) and sometimes we really don’t (to walk in the park, to sit on the beach, to have tea with friends).

    It feels like the attachment is where we can easily come unstuck – as it will always feel like there is never enough, or it could be taken away from us.

    Thank you for asking the question Corrina!

    1. Corrina

      You’re so welcome, Kate – thanks for showing up here with your insights.

  5. Nela Dunato

    Recently I dug up some of my old notes and found an affirmation my mentor shared with me: “I don’t need money, but I can have as much as I want, whenever I want.”

    To this day I still haven’t done any clearing work on the beliefs that prevent me from accepting it as truth and living according to it.

    The belief “I need money” is a good start.

    1. & 2. This question makes me think of situations when other people care for us. So WE don’t need money, but they do. This reminds me of a time at the very start of my business when I relied on my partner’s income to survive. It was a very unpleasant time for both of us, full of tension.

    3. Accepting projects I’m not inspired by. Going over my own word that I will never design a travel website again.
    Pushing myself to work when I’m feeling tired and burnt out.
    Arguing with my partner over who paid what and who owes how much.
    Feeling disappointed when I want something, and I can’t afford it (literally, no money in the bank).
    Not able to do pro bono work on a project I’d enjoy.
    No time for my personal creative projects.

    4. Working on my personal creative projects whenever I want.
    Accepting only selected client work that’s interesting, inspiring and pays well.
    Even more time spent writing.
    Relaxing, going for walks and hiking, guilt free.
    Wrapping up my workday before lunch and spending the afternoon free.
    Experimenting with services and products that I have no idea if anyone would buy.
    Following my inspiration more. Believing in myself and the gifts that are wanting to come out – not those that I think other people need.
    To be honest, I’d take a 2 month unplugged vacation to meditate and journal and create art, and find out what my next steps are. I wouldn’t be sitting here at all.

    This tells me that my business is not the way I really want it to be. I know what I want it to be in the future, but I don’t know how to make my way toward it.
    Nela Dunato´s last blog post ..Dealing with creative burnout

    1. Corrina

      Nela – Deeply appreciate your honesty, Nela, thanks for sharing your process with us here.

  6. Tessa Gaynn

    Great questions, especially number two – ‘can I absolutely know that I need money’? To me it feels like asking that question has the effect of prizing open the shell to reveal the pearl inside. By questioning myself in that way I feel more open to the possibility that maybe ‘I don’t need money’, there is space around that idea, I can see it is just an idea, a belief, a deeply entrenched one but not necessarily the truth. I love what you say Corrina, that without the belief of needing money there is service and generosity and clarity etc. I’d buy that any day!

    1. Corrina

      Tessa – Your presence when you are being of service and clear and generous is so compelling, and my experience is that people aren’t just “willing” to pay money, they actively ENJOY it when they’re on the receiving end of these qualities.

  7. Sabine Green

    Very interesting ideas.
    I know that when money is becoming my prime concern, there is contraction. Contraction on the inside which means I can’t be open to others (and my clients). Contraction on the outside which means I’m tense and end up feeling physically unwell.

    The idea of Needing money produces fear for me. Fear makes me look at things in a negative way. A client that reschedule is the end of the world when I would normally look at it as a sign I need a break or need to do something else. A slightly negative comment makes me think I’m really not good at what I do etc….

    I’m my experience the difficulty is when you actually need the money (eg to put food on the table or buy clothes fit your kids) or when you see that money as the key for one important thing to happen. Then it’s also impossible for me to step back.

    1. Corrina

      Great to see you here, Sabine – thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  8. Heather

    A very good exercise, Corrina! Recently I came into some money, and I was amazed to experience how secure and cared-for it made me feel. I explored that feeling with great interest for several reasons.

    First, on the practical level, in order to manifest more money it’s essential to live within that feeling of being warm, supported and cared for (or whatever lots of money makes you feel). Not only do we act more rationally – as you say, “moving into action” rather than dithering and calculating – but I’m sure that at a micro-level our body posture and pheromones communicate to the world that we are comfortable and at ease with comfort, which naturally attracts more.

    Suddenly acquiring money was for me the equivalent of the “full larder” exercise I learned to use with binge eaters. Imagine having so much food in the house that you couldn’t possibly eat it all, even in your wildest blowout. Even better, actually go and stock up on so much food. How does it make you feel? Many people report that after the first shock their desperate feeling of neediness (greed) disappears. That’s what happened to me with my influx of money.

    But secondly, as you imply, Corrina, the money / food is simply carrying our own projected feeling of satisfaction. Someone who feels innerly stable and nourished won’t fall apart in panic if their income slows down, but will simply recognise the situation and take steps to put it right. To do that they need to contact their inner sense of support.

    Although as helpless babies we were right to scream and panic when the food and warmth ran out, as adults we have quite a lot of power over our thoughts and feelings, even if these arise from childhood deprivation or a relentlessly negative environment. Thank you for reminding us all of how to shape our emotional landscape so it supports us rather than traps us.

    1. Corrina

      And thank you for sharing your wisdom, Heather.

      This particularly jumped out: “but will simply recognise the situation and take steps to put it right” – because for me being in empowered bold action is so much more possible when I’m not caught up / contracted by believing stressful thoughts.

    2. Karen J

      Wow, Heather!
      This – “as helpless babies we were right to scream and panic when the food and warmth ran out” is a hugely valuable reminder for me – going back that far feels absolutely right! And I hadn’t done that / gone there before.
      Thank you!
      Karen J´s last blog post ..Teeny, Tiny, Little-Bitty Baby Steps

  9. Dani Rukin

    What a beautiful and powerful piece. Being willing to question our attachment to a belief even when it seems so obviously “true”, especially around a topic we can all relate to, no matter how much or little of it we have. I love the beauty of how, when we let go of the thought, it frees us up to share our gifts and be responsible for making our services available and easily accessible to those who would benefit. Brilliantly and thoughtfully written. Very moved and inspired by this inquiry. Really resonates. Thank you!

  10. Carisa Montooth

    Wow. This one brought up a lot of stuff around money. I’ve been asking that same question for a while and trying to dig deep into the intersection of money and spirituality. Thanks for giving me a space to consider what’s going on in my thoughts around this.

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