(This article, written by Americ Azevedo, originally published in What is True Wealth & How Do We Create it? Edited by Verna Allee & Dinesh Chandra. Indigo Press, New Delhi, India. 2004. Pages 124-130. Note: Book was inspired by the His Holiness the Dalai Lama; an interview with him on true wealth is included.)
are born with true wealth, but constantly forget to realize the wealth we
already have.Failing to acknowledge our
true wealth we keep grasping for more,
like hungry ghosts who are never satisfied while constantly eating!Thus, we go about despoiling the earth,
corrupting relationships, and twisting societies into grotesque forms that
promote needless suffering for ourselves, others, and the earth-at-large.Realizing true wealth leads to personal,
interpersonal, and transpersonal fulfillment. Furthermore, the long term survival of life on
earth depends upon true wealth realization.
need deep psychological and spiritual healing of individuals, groups,
communities, nations and the earth at large. The bedrock of this healing is a
return to this present moment, not
in a selfish, narrow way, but in a way that includes the totality of what is
here-there as well as past-present-future.
It is nothing less then the ancient ideal of enlightenment of all
Paradox of Wealth
may have money but little time.We may
have time but no money.We may have love
but neither time nor money.Coming to a
point of balance between these factors is mastery of the art of living which is
been said, "He who dies with the most toys, wins!" This is both
true and not-true. Some say, “money does
not matter" -- but quietly and privately we fear poverty. Fear of homelessness, hunger, and a drop in
social status drives many to insane focus on money at any cost. If you are poor
with a positive state of mind, you may still suffer a sense of emotion
degradation just from the social stigma of poverty. Such fears are well founded in societies that
fail to attain true wealth, since the members of those societies know they can
and do fall into poverty. A world based
on fear cannot be wealthy in any real sense.
possessions can own us. Attach ourselves
to our possessions and we immediately loose our sense of true wealth. The very desire for possessions not yet owned
breeds greed and lust. We suffer endless
rounds of grasping for the goods that will make us “happy and full”. We get “more”, but immediately need to get
“more” again. There is no end in sight.
as usual” means a life filled with urgency, running to keep up, and without
time. “Oh! If only I had more money, I would do the work I love.” Or, “If I had that big new house on the hill,
people would respect and love me. My
wife would stay with me.” Such
conceptions of wealth are very childish.
of the “richest” people in the world are always “hungry”. Much shopping is for useless trinkets which
act as displacements for lack of meaning and love in life. Many a parent, for example, who has no time
for talking with their children, will just buy toys. Most people identify with the stuff that they
own as an extension of their personal ego.
Consider automobiles and houses which function as symbols of wealth, but
are also destructive to the natural capital of nature.
wealth goes beyond the concerns of the skin encapsulated ego. True wealth includes the social, political,
and transpersonal levels. What about a
friend or relative who needs help? What
about broader environmental concerns? True
wealth goes beyond the individual, and even national, egos. What you spend your money on, changes,
impacts society. Buy an SUV because you
like personal leg room, but consume the air and warm the environment for
everyone else as well as yourself.
Love, and Money
An old man asked me, “With
what do you buy your money?”
I said, “With your life.”
He said,“Right!I wish
I had known that when I was young. I spent my life working for money instead of
love and money are the three legs of truth wealth’s stool. The time allotted to
your life is utterly fundamental; a finite constantly depleting resource. Have you loved enough? Have you made money, invested money, and
spent money in a way that sustains life on this earth for seven generations to
come? Most don’t think we have time for
these questions. We can be occupied
working for money that we buy cars, drive to places, buy food from thousands of
miles away, thus depleting earth’s natural capital without noticing it.
people will say that they are making good money, but have no sense of free
time. They hope that someday in the
future they will have time for the things they really enjoy like family and
nature. Often that day never comes. I once worked at the headquarters of Standard
Oil. My life had become the company.
When I went home, my mind was preoccupied with Standard Oil. One day I awoke to realize that I worked in
an environment that was loveless. I had
money, but love and time where in short supply.
is money? It’s a symbol for value, it is
information; it is abstract. Humans are
driven by symbols to go to war and fight for abstract causes. Money, being utterly abstract, is often
valued more for itself than for what it actually buys – it is the ultimate
“field of dreams”. Individuals and
societies measure self-worth by financial net-worth, but this devalues the
deeper qualities of awareness and soul that are the true source of all value.
Walking by a beautiful garden
filled with iris flowers, someone might think: “I don’t own it, how unfortunate!”
So they miss the simple of joy of the experience. You don’t need to own things in order to
enjoy them. To really “have” something we must be present to it. Taking time to appreciate the existence of an
object, a friend, or a place is really having that object before us.
is transpersonal because it is “beyond the personal”. Everything that we do to accumulate wealth
depends on past human efforts; as well as the Earth, the solar system, and the
cosmos at large. You are not your own
source of supply. Companies create
private wealth by extracting resources from nature as if nature is
"free" and unlimited. Water,
for example, was always free. Industrial
pollution turns water into another commodity with price barriers for the poor
and helpless. This situation creates
can be a wealth of time. Societies can
make time for living, for singing, for family, for just sitting and
watching. This wealth is greater than
the focus on consuming goods and working to pump up the "gross domestic
man can become homeless and starve to death in a big city filled with
apartments, hotels, and food. It is not
just lack of money that brings us to the homeless state. Depression, lack of faith in life, lack of
friends, and lack of family ties can bring one to this place. Call it lack
cannot be truly wealthy in such societies with extremes of poverty and riches.
The expansive homes of the few wealthy are beautiful, but the society is really
poor and ugly. So many become restless and debased is such a society. I cannot relax in a mansion without security
systems and insensitivity to the disparity around me. Just like the Buddhists
who say they cannot become enlightened until everyone is enlightened, you and I
cannot be truly wealthy until all are “wealthy”. Clearly, a new meaning of wealth needs to
emerge for the culture at large.
investor will diversify her assets into different categories of assets so as to
balance out risk with the changing tides of market fortunes. The seeker of true wealth balances the assets
of time, love and money across the dimensions of personal, interpersonal and
transpersonal – thus optimizing abundant life for themselves, neighbors, future
generations, and Earth.
balanced wealth portfolio can be attained by disciplining the ego and personal
pride. This spiritual practice has
ramifications for self, society, and life on earth. Portfolios are lists of assets by categories.
We could begin by playing with lists of
“assets”. One simple list of categories
for grouping our assets would look like this:
categories are not absolute; they are starting points to help us on the road to
true wealth realization. Make up your
own categories and lists. Begin from
where you are, and expand to include larger dimensions of wealth.
True Wealth Realization Practice
is usually defined by external measures: affluence, millionaire money levels,
ownership and control of companies, and influence over people. Look deeper;
and, there is thefeeling of being wealthy or poor more or
less independent of external wealth measures.
Work with that feeling so as to become more independent of the strictly
personal illusions of money-wealth and poverty.
who you really are. This means giving yourself the time to
contact your own ultimate wealth: the
soul. Your own soul is your own ultimate
wealth. As you begin to be wealthy in
yourself, you will be able to extend your sense of wealth to include others and
reality at large. Every soul is the same
soul – only covered by different personality, history and circumstances. I could have been any one of the other people
that I see everyday.
awaken to this very moment is truth wealth.
This moment is in truth all we really have and own. Everything else is just on loan; we must give
it all back in the end.
It is produced by David Dornfeld, head of the Mechanical Engineering Department and Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability at the University of California, Berkeley. This subject is most important as we head into a world of global climate change. Here's the blog's summary description: Commentary, information and resources related to green manufacturing, sustainable manufacturing and sustainability in the US and abroad. Based on information from a variety of sources (web to print) and including technical information from researchers in the field as well as researchers at the University of California in the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability (LMAS - lmas.berkeley.edu).
When did it
begin? Anyone of us around for that event? Was it the sound of “aum” as
suggested in the ancient Upanishads? Physicists
and cosmetologists project backwards using mathematical time travel. They say
we can tune into the sound of the cosmic creation event, the Big Bang. You can
“hear” that creation sound on your radio or television as the static on
channels with no active broadcast stations – it’s a small percentage of that
static! The shock waves of creation are still with us.
“Universe” = “uni” + “verse” suggesting “One song”. The
universe sings one song. Listen, listen, and listen. The song is love.
Creation is not over. New varieties of animal and plant
species are still arriving. Old mountains falling. Creation is a big long
winded event. Now is the moment of creation. “Undo the work of Creation” – come
into presence where you are. It begins here and now. Again and again. Now
create. “Let there be….” Just fill in the blanks.
A listener of my audio recordings listeners
your words always give me hope that there is someone on the same frequency out there. the frequency of the universe.
A beautiful idea: that we can tune ourselves to the frequency
of the universe! What could that frequency be? Perhaps the ringing echoes of
the Big Bang creation event. Maybe the sound of Aum (om) as suggested in the
Upanishads. Or, is it the frequency of truth - which only a quiet soul can