This is one of the toughest topics for many of us – especially yoga teachers – to discuss.
From the great sages that have come before us, we know true freedom comes from going beyond our wants and desires.
From my experience though, I find that we often push money away because of what we feel it represents and then we realize that we need it to eat, to pay the bills, to save for our future and many other different reasons. In this situation, money becomes a push/pull type of relationship and we get stuck in a cycle of suffering.
Money isn’t the root of all evil, money is amoral meaning it doesn’t have morals. It’s not good and it’s not bad. It’s the love of money that’s the problem- and that’s a human problem, not a money problem.
Think of money like a brick. I can take a brick and throw it through someone’s window, or I can take a brick and build a home or hospital. The brick doesn’t care. It’s just a brick. But when you put it into the hands of a human being, it takes on the character of that person. It does whatever the person holding it wants to do. But we get confused about this; sometimes we think, Oh, that person has a big pile of bricks, so he must be evil. And that guy doesn’t have bricks, so he must be good. But it’s just a pile of bricks.
So where does this resistance to money come from?
Let’s first take a look at your history with money dating back to your parents or whoever raised you. What were their attitudes or opinions on money?
I found that when I sat down and thought about my family, a lot came up for me, a lot! In my family, money wasn’t given without expectations. It was if my mother would say to me silently when paying for something: “Now you must love me, now you must respect me.” So money felt like it carried a heavy burden.
Do you have some of the same beliefs about money that your parents had?
My earliest memory in life was waking up in a hotel at two years old the night my mother left my father. I was scared and confused. My mother knew on her honeymoon that the marriage was not going to last. My dad loved fishing so much that he took my mom down to Florida after getting married and rented a trailer on the water so he could fish. He would leave my mom in the trailer while he went out in the boat and caught their meals. Within two years of being married, she had already found another lover (who would eventually be my step-dad) and there I was, a young baby trying to figure out if this world was safe.
I’ve realized that my whole life I’ve been seeking safety and security and because I didn’t feel safe and secure in my own skin, I had a relationship with money that was an extension of that inner feeling. Money was always spent in a way that left me scared and worried.
It took a long time for me to figure this out, 37 years to be exact. Now, I’m not blaming my parents for how I treated money in the past but it does give me some sense of how things have unfolded over the years.
Maybe you can begin to connect the dots that add up to your current beliefs about money when you look back at your childhood.
For a lot of us, this is a topic that is marked with a lot of emotions so taking this step by step (baby steps) and being gentle with ourselves is a good strategy to getting on the path that leads to financial peace.
It would be easy for me to write volumes about this topic but for now I think this is a good starting point to begin your journey looking at your relationship with money.
Within the next two weeks, I will be releasing Part II of “Why Yoga Teachers Have A Hard Time Talking About Money” so check back soon.
Ryan Rockwell (“The Yogi Marketer”) turned his passion for yoga and marketing into a career as one of the most sought after marketing strategists. He focuses in representing individuals and companies who have a conscious voice. Ryan’s clients have included Yoga Journal, National Geographic, Vegetarian Times, Backpacker, Climber, and True Nature Yoga. Ryan’s work has now evolved into helping other yoga teachers share their gifts with the world.
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