Work is work, and money is great but we must all be mindful not to worship the God of Green Paper. Money gives us the gift of having the freedom to do more and have more, but what it doesn’t buy us is love or happiness.
Money without love is a deep misery. It’s paralyzing when we realize we can have it all and still feel empty. Happiness, is in part, a byproduct of achievement best gained when we’re working from something and for something larger than ourselves. Success is something to be shared as much as it is to be gained. Sharing gives us a deeper and more meaningful experience of life and people. For this reason, we must have some connection to a philosophy of life that is bigger than solely feeding our egos or material needs. The more spiritual we are, the more connected to something beyond the daily grind of being a human being, the more we enjoy and appreciate our success.
1. Quality of life
The majority of spiritual traditions provide consistent participation in a community of people who embrace and welcome our presence. Whether it is attendance to church, a meditation group, even a running group, a yoga studio or a Spartan race team; membership and participation provides a sense of belonging and builds a strong network of social and emotional support. Feeling we belong somewhere, to some form of dogma or meaningful life philosophy, brings us a sense of safety and security. These strong bonds increase well-being. They balance our expectations around life, relationships and around our ideas of success into a clearer and more meaningful perspective.
2. Support through challenges
When we feel spiritually connected, and connected to a group of similar people, we have more strength to overcome our harder times in life. The spiritual tenets we follow serve as the platform for our personal growth and development. As we get stronger, we come to view our painful times as contemplative opportunities, and eventually come to trust that the hardships we pass through are designed to makes us stronger and wiser as people. We have more faith that we are internally and externally supported to come out on top. Our spiritual practices provide the refuge we need when we need it. Undoubtedly, we are more resilient when we have a community and a deeply held philosophy to live by.
3. Never alone
Spirituality helps us identify with and recognize the interconnectedness of our lives with those of all other things and people. When our heartbreaks, and gut wrenching experiences are framed by the knowledge that countless others have undergone similar types of hardships before us, the blow softens and we feel less isolated in our own pain. Mistakes and failures are an important and shared part of the human experience. No one gets out of life pain free. It is important to practice self-compassion and to love ourselves regardless of mistakes or failures. The beauty of a spiritual philosophy is that it never abandons us; it is there to uphold us. When we are spiritual we learn that we are not by ourselves, we are with ourselves.
4. Mindful choices
The more we love ourselves, respect our lives and other people, the healthier the choices we make in nearly every area of our lives. Spirituality is about being loving, healthy, humble and kind. Therefore, when we adhere to a particular dogma we tend to treat our body with more kindness, and tend to avoid making unhealthy choices physically and emotionally. Spiritual tenets help keep us mindful not to drink too much, to not be violent or unkind, and to engage in behaviors that are life preserving for ourselves and others. We live with more peace and maturity.
5. Acceptance of life
Having an acceptance of life and people is good medicine. We stop expecting life to be easy and pain free. We start living life on life’s terms. We are able to accept people for who they are, and let go of needing them to be different. We come to trust that some people can remain in our hearts but not in our lives, thereby keeping our lives clean of toxicity. The less toxic our lives are, the more room we create for our own success and happiness. As we set boundaries around our lives, we are better able to forgive and to gain some control over our urges to blame and hold onto our hurt feelings. Living this way lowers our blood pressure helping us to live with more vibrantly. The less we harbor bitterness, anger and hurt the better our heart-health is physically and emotionally.
6. Spiritual conversation
We must have conversations with our idea of God daily. Many pray, others exercise, some read, others write and some meditate. The form of this conversation doesn’t matter. Having the conversation is what matters. This conversation is the direct connection we have to ourselves, to the inner us that holds a wisdom that is above all of our worries and fears. When we have these conversations, it can feel as if we’ve been taken from the basement of our emotional house, here we are in the dark and without insight, and lifted to the fifth floor where we can see things from a higher, more evolved perspective. We go from being totally limbic, to having the clarity of the prefrontal cortex, where rational thought can guide us. Life is always more positive when we’re not stuck in our primal reactions. Our internal spiritual conversations keep us in touch with ourselves and the bigger picture of our lives.
Conceit is self-given, and molded around money, power and control. If we worship the God of Green Paper, we will know intuitively that money, or any of our material possessions, can be taken away at any time without our consent or permission. For this reason, we must never worship the material and show off our power. When we have a spiritual philosophy to live by, we are more generous, we give credit to others, involve ourselves in charities and commit to random acts of kindness daily. Most importantly we do this quietly, not to advertise how great we are in an effort to gain attention. Spirituality keep us humble. We come to understand that the more we give, the more we listen, offer empathy and take time for others, the wealthier we feel. If we’re going to be wealthy in this life, money is certainly an important part of that equation, but love must come first to have the emotional wealth that can sustain our spirits and our hope in life and people.
Spirituality helps to buffer our fears, to protect our hearts, and to bring us a sense of resilience from a communal support. A strong life philosophy serves to raise our levels of consciousness in how we handle ourselves, how we handle people, and how we think about life and approach our problems. Spirituality brings a depth and a maturity that grows us into healthier, happier and wealthier people. Spirituality is forever, money comes and goes. For this reason, don’t strive for financial success alone. Strive to experience the depths of what it means to be an emotionally wealthy human being.