The topic of money has accompanied me for a long time. I started earning money at the age of 14, then studied economics & finance and subsequently spent 14 years in investment banking. An intensive and instructive experience. That has definitely shaped me. Over the last 3 years, I have consciously left this behind in order to completely find myself again. And reoriented myself. Stripped off my old identity – skinned myself. And with this old skin I threw many instructive experiences into the garbage can. Today it is time to look into this barrel and to reflect what I have learned during this time.
This article is dedicated to our relationship with money. (More articles will follow).
Our relationship to money
I have extensively researched money in general and stock market trading in particular as a magnifying glass on our own human psychology. A topic that affects us all. Because almost all people on this planet are dependent on money, in different ways.
Money is distributed very unequally: According to official statistics, at the end of 2020, 1.1% of the world’s population owned 45.8% of the world’s wealth (more than $1m each). About 55% of the world’s population, on the other hand, owned only 1.3% of the world’s wealth (less than $10t each). The unofficial truth probably looks different again.
But this article is neither about politically correct reasons for this situation nor about absolute assets, percentages or statistics but ultimately about an analysis of the underlying attitude – which is relative. Relative to one’s own norm. Because one’s own focus ultimately creates reality (-experience).
Basically, we humans could be sorted into 3 categories:
1- Owned by Money
Probably the largest part of humanity. These people are dependent on money in the sense that they have none or not enough. One lives from hand to mouth and according to the dictates of external circumstances. Here, the (unconscious) meaning of life is actually survival.
- One believes it is normal to have nothing, life is literally just about survival.
- One might not even be consciously aware of one’s own lack & situation. Either because one unconsciously distracts oneself from it or because of (survival) reactivity one does not find time to think about it.
- One experiences absolute misery & struggle and sees no way out. With possible reasons, such as the circumstances, bad government, karma…
- One would like to have more money, dreams about it, maybe even works with affirmations or visualization (the famous sticker on the fridge ‘I am worth it’), but in the end has no idea or education how to achieve real prosperity.
- One works hard – possibly even for free or below value – and hopes someday someone will discover, save or pardon one.
- Or one believes money is ‘evil’ or corrupts one’s character and therefore one must resist it. One rebels, protests or isolates oneself from the ‘system’. Here one also finds ideas like ‘if the (financial) system changes, then we can finally all live freely and in prosperity’.
- One devotes oneself to religion or concepts of spirituality and hopes, for example, to find salvation through renunciation and a ‘pure’ and ‘correct’ lifestyle.
In all cases, inner drive:
Powerlessness, worthlessness – lack and fear. Inner emptiness, which is reflected (according to the principle of resonance) in outer material emptiness. Because unconsciously one projects one’s own creative power onto the outside and the circumstances. And gives them one’s own power to then experience oneself as a victim of the circumstances.
In this ‘category’ I myself have gained some experience 🙂 Directly, but also indirectly through my wife, who comes from Mexico and completely different life conditions as me. (Whereby the circumstances from which I come were quite simple for Germany).
The ‘one percent’. (There are certainly more who are on the move in this orientation. But only a few who are also ‘successful’). These people are dependent on money in the sense that they (unconsciously) believe that the accumulation of money or material resources is the meaning of life. External abundance as compensation for internal emptiness. Which leads to the fact that it is never enough although the material prosperity grows. Projecting the inner emptiness onto the carrot in front of the nose: more money, more status, more experiences, more prosperity… Then it is enough. The (erroneous) belief. A vicious circle.
- One is in the accumulation phase, learns the ‘laws of success’ and applies them. Makes career. Actually begins to create external wealth, is fascinated, hypnotized, believing this is the answer to the inner emptiness. Euphoria, naivety but also greed can be found here.
- One has achieved material prosperity and financial wealth, but begins to realize that the inner emptiness does not disappear. One wishes for nothing more than freedom, but sees no possibility to achieve it. Because now you have ‘everything’ and you are still not free. A living nightmare: disillusionment and numbness are found here, one consoles oneself with one’s status ‘above the others’ and expensive experiences (boozing, drugs, parties, cars, vacations…). In this way one can distract oneself from one’s own misery. One manages one’s ‘garden’ and denies oneself changes, because that could endanger one’s own oasis. Result: The famous ‘golden cage’.
- One has inherited wealth, married into it or earned it (too) quickly overnight without own competence. One now ‘belongs’. Overwhelmed by the situation, one lives above one’s (high) means. So that no one finds out about one’s own incompetence or the true circumstances, one borrows (more and more) money to maintain the lifestyle and to belong. And rides itself ever further into the dependence. Up to the financial ruin.
- One discovers that money can be a vehicle to power over others. And that ‘power’ is the much more interesting game. Having gained ‘power’, the game is now to maintain one’s own ‘power’ and to eliminate all competitors who might threaten one’s power (conspiracy, intrigue, manipulation, etc.). Consequence: hierarchy is further institutionalized – even by ‘better’ systems. A la Great Reset or Technocracy: Problem > Reaction > Solution.
- People tell themselves that money is pure energy and a mirror of their own abundance. Because the more money one has, the more one can help other people. Theoretically. After all, the ‘have-nots’ are themselves to blame, because everyone is responsible for themselves. A la New Age / Esoteric concepts.
- Bored of making money, you discover philanthropy and network with other do-gooders. One celebrates each other (and one’s ego) for the many good ideas and noble intentions, and then showers others (the ‘have-nots’) with one’s own world-saving visions without being asked. A la Burning man, WEF, Sustainable Development Goals, or New Age versions.
Inner drive here as well:
Powerlessness, worthlessness – lack and fear, disguised in greed but also arrogance and hubris. The underlying inner emptiness, is overcompensated here by external abundance. But this is never enough, respectively always under the danger of loss. Because also here applies: (Unconscious) focus creates reality experience. Therefore, more must always be done, defended or earned.
I have also gained extensive experience in this area. Especially in the years in the financial industry. Directly in which I myself played this game, was ‘successful’ and then stuck in the golden cage without alternative. A ‘never-enough’ surrounded by ‘never-enoughs’. But also by dealing with and ‘trying out’ ideologies of all kinds. I have met many people over the years and can say that the above characteristics are ultimately independent of absolute wealth. Everything is relative to one’s own yardstick or norm. You can find euphoric billionaires as well as disillusioned aspiring ‘careerists’, or hypnotized do-gooders in every wealth class.
The ‘have-nots’ and the ‘Never-Enoughs’ play the ‘system’ game with each other
Some project their own powerlessness on the outside – the ‘system’, the ‘elite’, ‘money’ etc. and give their own will – unconsciously – to them. Also in that they resist the system. The others compensate their own felt powerlessness by dominating the others or ‘money’. In the end, it is not about the absolute level, but about being relatively better than others. It is then a matter of preserving this differential.
An interplay that is mutually dependent and chains the two groups together.
2- Money owner
Here you will find people who have deeply engaged with themselves. They have realized that money per se is neither good nor bad. It is only a projection surface or an amplifier. Of what they are. Of their own attitude and their own self-image.
Here the order of the essential questions is corrected:
- Who am I?
- What do I want to do?
- What do I want to have?
These people have pacified themselves with their shadow and their own dysfunctionality by no longer compensating for it – e.g. by doing more or having more or the opposite of it – but simply seeing and feeling it. And thus one’s own powerlessness or worthlessness is no longer projected but neutralized. Result: Healing and becoming whole. Money loses its meaning.
And from this truth and this holistic self-understanding around one’s own true being but also the connectedness with everything, one’s own unique destiny is lived. Motivated not to earn money, to change the world or to heal others, but as an expression of one’s own devotion, joy, curiosity. And this attitude brings about change. Because it orients the focus from the outside to the inside. Into one’s own wholeness, the inner fullness. And this focus creates reality experience.
And that, of course, can lead to material abundance. As a consequence not as a precondition. Here then begins to open up that money is actually ‘only’ energy carrier. A resource. And it is this resource, like any other, which is to be met with responsibility and awareness. And with this attitude, of course, can bring about wonderful change.
These questions have occupied me deeply. And also caused me to deal in depth with the subject of money. After I was ‘obsessed’ for a long time, I then categorically rejected it. And was also through this still ‘obsessed’. Now I have started to discover it value-free, as an amplifier of my own attitude. Not more, not less. In the context of this reorientation I meet more and more people who neither reject nor worship money, who actually live in inner and outer abundance and share it with their fellow human beings. Again, this is not dependent on absolute wealth.
3- Neither Nor
Here it becomes philosophical 🙂 The truly spiritual perspective. All categories dissolve. Also money loses any meaning. Turns out to be a projection surface. Everything is. Nothing is. Every possession appears as an illusion. Because everything is one. The (absolute) truth.
- Matriarchal (indigenous) communities without private property.
- ‘Enlightened’ ones who no longer have any need for money or other property. For there is no longer any lack to remedy. Nothing more to bring about. Only to ‘be’.
- To be free to have money. To be free to have no money.
I was very surprised by this realization 🙂 And it is absolutely true for me. Equally, it is relatively true for me that I live in this moment. Being in the here and now. With my personal story. In a society with money. And from here, I can orient myself to where I truly want to go.
May a life without money be possible? Certainly. I love imaginative games. However, I have never personally met anyone who lives free – inside and outside – of money. That of course does not mean that these people do not exist. Maybe I will meet them soon. On the other hand, I have met a lot of people who claim to be free (of money) or offer solutions to become free (of money). But actually (almost) always motivated by fear and lack. And then, for example, take refuge in communities or exclude or marginalize themselves in some way.
The only exceptions I know of: The Indian sages Ramana Maharshi and Anandamayi Ma.
Conclusion: One thing is clear to me – money is a projection surface
If there were no money, we would increasingly project our inner lack onto other things. And believe these other external conditions would now be responsible for our lack or would solve it. As long as nothing changes inside, nothing changes outside. Money or not. As long as we do not recognize what really motivates and drives us – fear or love – and chose love, we will continue to perpetuate fear. And remain trapped in the duality of poverty – wealth.
Money has a huge value in our society
Therefore, dealing with it is a great mirror on our own psychology: It mirrors us in magnification the inner processes. From euphoria and self-overestimation to resistance, fear of survival and existential distress.
It is easy(er) to blame others for one’s own situation, or oneself. And absolutely understandable when this happens. There is nothing wrong with that. But lasting change can only come from within. And real empowerment comes from realizing that the key lies only within oneself. Dealing with money can be challenging, but from personal experience it is ultimately very empowering and liberating. People who grew up or live in wealth can learn an incredible amount from people who are poor: E.g. rediscovering vulnerability & connectedness and detaching from arrogance and hubris. Being able and allowed to help is a great enrichment for both sides.
But above all, the reverse is also true. Poor people can learn determination and assertiveness through (material) success and also learn to develop and communicate their own value. Or simply to bring their own ideas and visions to life regardless of external conditions, even in a capitalist world, and to inspire others for them.
Both (poverty and wealth) are, in my view, relative aspects on the same limited continuum of (monetary) value. This begins to open up when one leaves one’s island (personal fixation as ‘poor’, ‘rich’ or somewhere in between) and swims outside one’s own box. This flexibility allows for the release of limiting notions on the subject of value.
And the dependence on money.
And then even freedom for money.
So I am curious: What do you think about money?