1. Near the end of the 6th day a thought regarding a simple money transfer from one account of mine to another account of mine occurred to me. This was to facilitate the buying of platinum. This single thought filled me with a strange kind of anxiety and created enough turmoil in my mind to seemingly wipe out the tranquility that the result of the last 6 days of meditation. What sort of progress have I really made if six days of hard work can be wiped out by a simple thought?
2. At the end of the day, I was talking to another server on the course in his room about some unrelated matters. He told me the sad and pathetic story of a rich, miserly old man whose mind is in a constant state of turmoil due to his attachment to his money.
a. Apparently this man used to be a magnate in the newspaper business. By the time he had retired, he had accumulated a huge stash of cash. He is now a widower.
b. He has a son who is in his forties, went to the U.S. and then came back to India.
c. The old man is so attached to his cash that he is unwilling to give his son any without a long list of conditions.
d. The son for his part has his own money and does not want any from the old man. So he shows no undue deference to his father.
e. The old man sells all his property in his former city and moves with his hoard to wealth to a new city where he buys himself an apartment and lives there.
f. He hires a servant whom he neither pays well nor regularly. This in spite of the fact that this is a seriously wealthy old man and the servant’s salary is just pocket change to him. The servant get\s fed up and leaves the old man’s employ.
g. The old man now lives alone. He is fearful of hiring any other servant because he worries that the new fellow may steal and abscond with some loot. This makes the old man look even more sad and pathetic because the implication is that the earlier servant was trustworthy. What a fool is he is to let go of an honest man for want of a few more rupees (literally!). Does he now know how priceless an honest man is in India?
h. He tells his son not to bring his friends along when he comes to visit because he is fearful that his son’s friend might come back later to steal whatever catches his fancy.
i. He is suspicious of everyone. So it is impossible for him to have a relaxed conversation with anyone at all. He is thus lonely.
j. He has no peace of mind. How can he when he is always thinking that people are out to get him.
k. Lately he had been thinking who he can give his cash to. His son is not interested. He asks some neighbour of his who he seems to like for some reason. He asks, “Sarmaji, what would you do if someone gave you 50 Lakhs?” The neighbour replies, “I am not interested in receiving money in that manner”
l. When he withdraws money from the ATM, he looks around suspiciously to make sure no one is tailing him or spying on him.
This story really shook me. I did not want to be like this old man.
3. On the 7th day, various thoughts regarding financial matters assailed my mind. Try as I may to puch these thoughts away to focus on meditation, i could not. Varioys thoughts assaulted me.
a. Is this a good time to buy Platinum? Will the price come down more? Should I wait?
b. How much should I buy?
c. What about U.S. real estate? should I go there now or wait to clear out my mind?
d. What clear out my mind. My mind is already destroyed.
e. Should I move all the cash to Sg. Is it wise to put all in one jurisdiction?
f. Is it wise to leave any cash at all in U.S. banks? In U.S. dollars?
g. Is hyper inflation likely?
h. Do I have too much cash? But there is nothing worth buying now. The market is so murky.
i. Will the govt confiscate all my precious metals? Will the banks?
j. Worry worry worry
3. By the 8th day, thoughts of anxiety regarding financial matters passed away. Again the lesson absorbed is one of impermanence. Nothing lasts for every. All conditioned phenomena are temporary. Why lose peace of mind by reacting to temporary phenomena?
a. I managed to earn the money, to save it, to accumulate it and even to invest it reasonably well, but I clearly am unable to digest it.
b. My anxiety regarding financial matters points to the fact that I am holding the wrong sort of ideas. There is too much attachment to money. What are the correct ideas to hold? What is the correct perspective to have?
c. A thought occurred to me that perhaps this money was not really mine. How can it be mine when I have so little control over it? When it can be so easily stolen, lost, confiscated, cheated out of. When it is influenced by so many things beyond my control? Is it wise to call the money mine when my control over it’s fate and use is so limited?
d. my belief has been that i earned the money by my intelligence. But I have no control over my intelligence either. IQ is not constant over time. There have been times when my IQ was above that of a barely functional gorrilla. And i had no control over that either. Times when i stared at a circuit diagram and my brain came to a stand still. Is it wise to call this brain mine, these thoughts mine when again my control over them is so limited? Where did those brilliant thoughts that made my money come from? I don’t know. Then how can i say those thoughts were mine?
e. Yes, the money is not mine. That money belongs to the Dhamma. It belongs to the Tao. I am merely the custodian. All that my hard work did was to give me the right to be the custodian of that money. Not it’s owner. Now that I am a custodian, i must be a good custodian. The money must eventually return to Dhamma. It’s best use is in Dana. In distribution. Distribution how? Distribution in the cause of bringing the Dhamma to other suffering beings in this world.
f. May my decisions regarding money be guided then by Dhamma. I intellectually disclaim all responsibility, ownership and attachment to this wealth that is in my name. One day, if I am successful in meditation, I will also be able to emotially withdraw all attachment and ownership to this wealth. May my wealth help other suffering beings along the path to Liberation. May all my investment decisions to grow the wealth be made with the understanding that the wealth must eventually be used in the cause of Dhamma
4. And with that decision, the turmoil in my mind subsided. The balance of mind returned. Since that day I have found no reason to change my decision. A balanced mind always makes good decisions. i have a balanced mind. This is a good decision.