Why has money assumed such an immense importance in our lives? Do we perhaps depend exclusively on it for our own psychological happiness? All of us human beings need food, clothing and shelter; this is understood. But, why is it that this which is so natural and simple for even the birds of the sky, has assumed such a tremendous and frightening importance and meaning? Money has assumed such an exaggerated and disproportionate value because, psychologically, we depend on it for our well-being. Money feeds our vanity and gives us prestige and the means to achieve power. Money has been used by the mind for ends and purposes totally different from those it has in itself, which includes covering our immediate physical needs. Money is being used for psychological purposes; that is the reason why money has assumed an exaggerated and disproportionate importance.
We need money to have food, clothing and shelter; that is obvious. But when money becomes a psychological need, when we utilize it for different purposes than what it has in and of itself, when we depend on it to obtain fame, prestige, social positions, etc., then money assumes an exaggerated and disproportionate importance before the mind; this is where the struggle and the conflict to possess it originates from.
It’s logical that we need to obtain money to satisfy our physical needs (to have food, clothing and shelter). But if we depend on money for our own happiness and personal satisfaction, then we are the most wretched beings on earth. When we deeply understand that money only has the purpose of providing us with food, clothing and shelter, we then spontaneously place an intelligent limitation on it; the result of this is that money no longer assumes the exaggerated importance that it has when it becomes a psychological need.
Money in and of itself is neither good nor bad. Everything depends on the use we give it. If we use it for good, it’s good. If we use it for evil, it is evil.
We need to comprehend in depth the true nature of sensation and satisfaction. The mind that wants to achieve the comprehension of truth should be free from these obstacles.
If we truly want to free the mind of the obstacles of sensation and satisfaction, we must begin with those sensations, which are more familiar to us and there, lay down the adequate foundation for comprehension. Sensations have their appropriate place and when we comprehend them profoundly in all the levels of the mind they do not assume that foolish deformation they now have. Many people believe that if the order of things was according to the political party that they belong to and for which they always struggle for, then we would then have a happy world, full of abundance, peace and perfection. That is a false concept, because none of that can exist if we have not previously comprehended individually the true significance of things. The human being is internally too poor, that is why he has a need for money and material things for his personal sensation and satisfaction. When one is poor internally, externally one seeks money and material things to complement oneself and to find satisfaction. That is why money and material things have assumed a disproportionate value and the human being is prepared to steal, exploit and lie at every instant. That is the reason for the struggle between capitalism and labour, employers and employees, between exploiters and exploited, etc.
Political changes are useless if we have not first comprehended our own internal poverty. Economic systems can change again and again, the social system can be altered again and again, but if we have not profoundly comprehended the intimate nature of our inner poverty, the individual will always create new ways and means to obtain personal satisfaction at the expense of the peace of other people.
It is urgent to deeply comprehend the inner nature of this myself, if we really want to be internally wealthy. Whoever is internally rich is incapable of exploiting his fellowman; he is incapable of stealing and lying. Whoever is internally wealthy is free of the obstacles of personal satisfaction and sensation. Whoever is internally wealthy has found happiness.
We need money, it’s true. But it is necessary to profoundly comprehend our right relationship with it. Neither the ascetic nor the covetous miser has ever comprehended what our right relationship with money is. It is not by renouncing money, nor by coveting it, that we can come to understand our right relationship with it. We need comprehension to intelligently recognize our own material needs without disproportionately depending on money.
When we comprehend our right relationship with money; the pain of detachment and the frightful suffering that competition produces in us, ends. We should learn to differentiate between our immediate physical needs, and the psychological dependence on things. The psychological dependence on material things creates exploitation and slavery.
We need money to cover our immediate physical needs. Unfortunately, needs are transformed into greed. The psychological “I,” perceiving its own emptiness and misery, usually gives money and material things a different value than what they have; an exaggerated and absurd value. That’s why the Ego wants to become outwardly rich, since internally it is poor and miserable. The “I” wants to make itself felt, dazzling its fellowman with material things and money. Nowadays, our relationship with money is based on greed. We always allege need to justify greed. Greed is the secret cause of hatred and of the world’s brutalities. These brutalities many times assume legal appearances. Greed is the cause of war and of all the miseries of this world. If we want to do away with the greed of the World, we should profoundly comprehend that this World is within our very selves. We are the World. The greed of everyone else lies within us. Really, all people live within our own consciousness. The world’s greed is within the individual. Only by doing away with the greed we carry within will the greed in the world end. Only by comprehending the complex process of greed in all the levels of the mind can we experience the Great Reality.