It is said that the love of money is the root of all evil, but money is also an inescapable reality of life. Money can definitely create tension, worry, and put even the best friendships under strain. But, money is essential component of life, and if used properly it can be a force for good and contribute towards our happiness.
How can we learn to have a good attitude to money?
- Money is a means to an end. It can be used for good purposes or it can be put to bad purposes. In this sense money is neutral – it is up to us to use it in a divine way and not misuse it.
- If money is used in an appropriate way, it can contribute to our happiness. However, the unbridled pursuit of money will definitely cause us lose sight of the most valuable aspects of life – such as, cultivating inner peace and good relationships with others.
- If we sacrifice our principles and sense of value, what is the use of money? We have to remember what gives us a true sense of happiness. The real happiness comes from being true to our self, to be self-giving and offer happiness to others. If we have to betray these ideals to gain money, then at best the money will buy us a false happiness.
- Don’t worry! Money is probably the biggest cause of worry in modern life. Often it is the richest people who worry the most. The more we gain, the more we stand to lose. Learn to let go of worry – worry doesn’t help in anyway only makes us more tense. If you have real difficulties, just see what practical steps you can take. If you have a reasonably good financial situation, just enjoy it!
- Don’t feel guilt for earning money. Money is not in essence a bad thing. Some people go to the other extreme of being careless or even rejecting flows of money. They may subconsciously feel they don’t deserve it or always expect to be poor. If we expect to be poor and feel sorry for ourselves, it is quite likely to occur.
- A healthy approach to money is to see it as a flow. We receive money for our work, and then can share that with others by buying goods. Money is not a thing to be hoarded, but by spending on things we need, we can allow a healthy flow and sharing. Sometimes, we buy goods we don’t need, but sometimes we also miss out on important activities because we are worried about the cost. You will rarely get to the end of your life and regret spending money on worthwhile pursuits. Be willing to spend money on good things.
- Don’t resent paying money. You can be a multi-millionaire, but still resent paying 50p for parking your car. It is good to feel joy in spending money; it helps you appreciate what you get. Rather than resenting paying 50p for car parking – feel how you are contributing to a vital facility. Why should everything be free?
- It is common to resent paying taxes, but even with taxes we can see it as a way to fund important public services. By paying tax we can feel we are contributing towards society. We will have to pay our taxes whatever, but we can always change our attitude to paying tax – we can do it with a feeling of reluctance or we can do it cheerfully.
- Money teaches us the value of goods. If everything came free, without any effort – we would not gain the satisfaction of working hard. We have to learn how to put value on things. Many instant lottery millionaires – end up going back to work at some point. They miss the challenge and test of working for a living.
- Giving money with a good motive. Some people love to give money and help others. But, you have to be careful with your motives. If you have a lot of money which you freely spend and give away, there is a danger of becoming proud and gaining a subtle feeling that if you give money, you earn the right to influence the other person. If you are very free with money, there is also a danger of attracting the wrong kinds of friends. There is good advice in the Bible “But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”. It is good to give, but much more important to give with humility and unconditionally.
- As well as receiving with good graces, there are also times when we need to be comfortable receiving. We shouldn’t expect to always be self-sufficient. It can be an important life lesson to accept others help with good grace.
- Work v Leisure. Sometimes, our whole life can become dedicated around earning money. The pursuit of career and money becomes a surrogate for other more important objectives and values. If we feel our life is losing balance, keep reminding yourself of the motto – ‘live for the present moment’. The aim of life is not to have a big pension pot in 40 years time.
I love the present moment,
More than I love
Sri Chinmoy 
How To Deal With Friends and their approach to Money
- You need to be tolerant of friends different attitudes to money. But, at the same time, you may need to be firm and clear. This article was partly inspired by relationships with other people and the whole range of attitudes people have to money. One thing I notice is that people often seem to end up repeating certain habits and patterns with regard to money. Some are frequently in the position of needing to borrow from other people. I often find myself surrounded with friends who are really great, but have poor money management! I do believe in karma, so this is my money karma. The most important thing is whether you can be
- If you lend money to friends, you have to be very careful. The most important thing is that you have to be happy with the situation. If you give out of a sense of duty, but secretly resent it, it would be better not to get involved. Because sometime later, this resentment may come back and damage the relationship. Here good communication is important. Offer practical suggestions for overcoming financial difficulties. If loans are helpful make sure it is tied to some tangible action. I can’t say whether it is good to lend to friends or not. You have to be the judge of who you are dealing with. Generally, if you can avoid lending and borrowing, that is good.
 Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 26, Agni Press, 2002.