Wealth: Nothing whatsoever to do with money

<June 19/09>

One of the somewhat hard-won lessons in my life has been that wealth has nothing whatsoever to do with money.

This is a pretty radical idea to some – even to many, or most – but for me, it’s truth. My 56 years on this planet have brought this lesson home to me again & again & again.

It’s also true that I often feel like the wealthiest woman in the world – even though I earn less money than most of the people I know, by tens & tens & tens of thousands of dollars.

I’m feeling very, very rich this morning, because I came to Toronto to hear Joanna Macy speak – & she was utterly wonderful and so worth coming for – and in the past 12 hours or so I’ve seen both of my beloved (grown) daughters & two very dear old friends…

And I have a pocketful of twoonies ($2 Canadian coins) with me & have been giving them to people who are on the street begging. This makes me feel wonderful.(1) I know down to my bones that my life is very, very full & privileged, that I am enormously well-blessed & rich – & the older I become, the more compassion I feel for everyone…

And when I come to Toronto and see homeless people, or people on the street begging, it half breaks my heart – & although I’m not a conventionally “religious” person, I know that, as an old saying goes, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

The older I become, the more I love the wise, wise teachings of Buddhist tradition – & the need for compassion is a key one.

Giving money to people for whom $2 is a blessing helps me feel rich. (I think there is something about being generous that makes us feel rich even if we don’t happen to have a whole bunch of money ourselves…)

So even though my financial situation is supposedly much “shakier” & more insecure than that of most of the people I know, I know I am wealthy beyond measure.

What a wonderful feeling!

Janet

P.S. There are many, many other things that make me feel rich, btw, that also have zero, nada, nichts to do with money. Some that spring to mind: being outside/in Nature, walking, bike rides, singing, being with friends/loved ones, writing, reading, doing worthwhile work, smiling at strangers, having a great day & feeling very, very alive. It’s a pretty long list!!

P.P.S. The essay ‘Ditching the Poverty Mentality’ is also relevant on this subject.

Relevant Quotations:

“The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have.” – Leonard Nimoy

"Your wealth is where your friends are." – Plato    [So true, so true!!!]

“A clear conscience is more valuable than wealth.” – Filipino proverb

“The real measure of our wealth is how much we would be worth if we lost all our money.” – The River of Life

“Wealth is something you acquire so you can share it, not keep it.” ~ LaDonna Harris

“Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.” – Benjamin Franklin, American statesman (1706-90).

“Life engenders life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.” ~ Sarah Bernhardt

“Only when the last tree has died...and the last river has been poisoned...and the last fish has been caught...will we realize that we cannot eat money.” ~ 19th century Cree saying


(1) I always give the money along with a smile. And I almost always – at least 99.9% of the time – get a genuine smile & sincere thank-you back…