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!


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…