September 11, 2012 by blogmasterjdeam
Dear All, I wrote my blog and instead of hitting save (in drafts) I hit delete. The entire thing disappeared. Sure, at first I wasn’t too concerned. Surely it was here somewhere. So I started going through every hiding place: trash, sent, inbox, whatever, and I couldn’t find it. I did a few deep sighs and then figured, that must not have been the topic I was meant to write about, which was money (and not buying happiness, yada, yada, yada;) I’ll pick something else.
So I went to one of the books I use for inspiration, opened it to a chapter and, I’m not even surprised by this, it was about money. When I read what M.J. Ryan wrote, I decided to quote it here. She says it a lot better than I do.
Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by
spending oneself that one becomes rich.
~ Sarah Bernhardt
Driving home the other day, I heard on the radio that as the stock market went up, so did the salaries of corporate bosses who take stock options as part of their compensation. Last year, the head of Disney made $10 million, another guy in L.A. made $45 million, and that’s not even considering Bill Gates. I could feel my blood turning green with envy, and all sense of gratitude for my own life — that I have a wonderful, loving family, close friends, a beautiful house, fundamentally good health — went flying out the window. “If only I could have just one of their many millions,” I thought, “then my life would be happy.”
The truth is, of course, that happiness is an inside job and, beyond the subsistence level, money truly has very little to do with our happiness. But most of us are convinced that money can indeed buy happiness. The universality of that feeling struck me a few years ago when I read about a study that asked people how much money they thought they need to be happy. Everyone, no matter what they made, thought they needed more. People who made $20,000 thought $30,000 would do it; folks at $45,000 were convinced $65,000 was the magic number, people at $100,000 were sure $200,000 was it. The only thing that changed was that as people’s incomes grew, their magic number grew exponentially (proving like nothing else that the “gimme hole” only grows through feeding). I realized then that there is something in human nature — well, at least in contemporary Western human nature — that will always long for more and envy those who have it: Oh, there you are again, and then turn our attention back to what matters.
Here’s a practice for dealing with envy. Spend one day with one pocket of change and one empty pocket. Each time you find yourself envious of someone, put a coin in the empty pocket and ask yourself, “What is there that I am noticing in the other person that I want to find in myself?” (Because you wouldn’t notice it if it weren’t already in you.) If it’s money, is it the freedom? The chance to play that money buys? A sense of security? Whatever it is — more play, a sense of security, free time — you can work on getting more of it in your life, no matter the circumstances.
I can choose to spend my time envying Bill Gates, the housewife who doesn’t have to work because her wealthy lawyer husband provides for all her needs, and the person down the street who just inherited a large estate from his mother, or I can begin to understand what I am really long for in myself.
I use envy as a trigger to remembering that I want to do a better job of giving myself away, as Sarah Bernhardt counsels, so that I will experience a true sense of richness no matter what my material resources. I can’t keep the green-eyed monster from rearing its ugly head from time to time, but I can use its appearance to rededicate myself to using myself fully on behalf of the world as a whole. The feeling of abundance — great fullness — that doing the work out soul is here to do is better than any old million dollars.
~ M. J. Ryan, from Attitude of gratitude
It is day 21 of the blog. For three weeks I have worked at being happier. As I think over the last three weeks I find I might be on to something. I haven’t lost my temper, yelled at anyone (except Etta, and if I told you what she did, you’d yell too. In all fairness to myself, I wasn’t angry when I yelled at her, I was just trying to get her to listen to me and stop doing what she was doing — dang dog!) I have not said a word I regretted. I have made appropriate apologies where appropriate. I have sent tender loving kindness to many, many people. I have not felt resentment or anger. I have held everyone I encounter in compassion, including MYSELF. I am at peace. I am content. I know no matter what happens, everything will work out, and it will work out for my highest good. I have complete and utter concentration on my goal: happiness. At first I was thinking “I should quit while I’m ahead.” But then I remembered all the times I’ve done just that. AND IT DIDN’T STICK!
While running the 5K on Sunday, anytime I looked up and thought about how much further I had to go, I immediately looked back down and said, out loud: “be here now, be here now, be in this very moment, in this very moment there is only the earth beneath you.” It totally worked, and as some of you know, I ran my best time ever (and I mean EVER.) I didn’t do any additional training than normal. I turned a year older since the last race. So what made the difference? I think it was my attitude. I simply enjoyed the race, no strings attached. I enjoyed the weather. I enjoyed that M joined me. I thanked all the volunteers as I ran past their stations. I smiled at everyone I encountered. Wow … I am speechless. So let’s move on to the good stuff.
PRANAYAMA: Today I like the idea of the deep, slow, counting breaths. Inhale for a count of ten, hold, hold, hold, exhale for a count of twelve, rest, rest. I will do this for about five minutes.
ASANA: It is a good day for Sun Salutations. To that I will add high lunge, warrior I, warrior II and warrior III. Then going to the floor, I will do a fish pose, camel, shoulder stand, and before going into Sivasana, I will do a twist known as Mariachi pose.
YOURS IN THE THROES OF HAPPINESS, Chris