EXCHANGE, PART 2: CONDITIONINGS & VALUE
It’s first important to note that America is a society that revolves around and is highly influenced by money and consumption — and it has exported this materialistic obsession throughout the majority of the world. The American Dream proclaims “He/she who dies with the most toys wins”, creating a society fixated on competition and fiscal selfishness. America’s cultural rugged individualism is led by a corporate culture addicted to showing profit, feeding the need for continual growth of profit and creating a vicious cycle. We’re taught to spend our precious time and energy to go to school to secure a good job to garner money, to acquire more, and keep the cycle going.
And, in a fascinating, crazy-making hypocrisy, American society espouses archaic, Judeo-Christian teachings including “the meek shall inherit the earth” and “it is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven.” Churches and temples preach that poverty is to be strived for and spiritually advisable/desirable.
Consumers are being created and incentivized, and simultaneously shamed for pursuing wealth.
To be clear: there is nothing inherently virtuous about poverty. For certain people in specific traditions, at specialized times, it is appropriate to pursue a path of renunciation. Money (by itself) is not the root of all evil. It is simply a unit to measure exchange. Attachment & greed aren’t advisable spiritual goals, but avoiding affluence isn’t the solution.
After releasing the societal conditionings we have around money, we want to turn our attention toward our familial patterns with exchange. How was our parents’ relationship with finances? What imprints have shaped our lives? The vast majority of us didn’t have financially enlightened parents, and therefore have some degree of what is frequently referred to in spiritual circles as “poverty consciousness” to some degree (or its inverse, “entitlement consciousness”). Some of us could be contending with deep ancestral karma(s) around acquiring, maintaining, and having.
A primary issue is VALUE. We all respect and value what we pay for. Ponder: how comfortable would you feel going to a dentist who charged $20/hour? (yes, that amount is geographically biased to USA… we are 100% supportive of medical tourism – substitute in any analogy you like… plumber…. Lasik surgeon…) Would you have the same confidence in them as a dentist who charged $100/hour? The key word/understanding/concept to remember is EXCHANGE. Everyone – including you – deserves to be fairly compensated for their abilities and expertise.
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