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:
“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.
P.S. PASS IT ON
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© Corrina Gordon-Barnes
Image via Death To Stock