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Oct 02
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Money and Inspiration
photo by Charles Blackhall

photo by Charles Blackhall

COLUMN: Shambhala Economics

Welcome to Shambhala Economics, a column in the Shambhala Times where we publish articles on uplifted ways to view and engage in the economic side of life. Layth Matthews who is a long time student of Shambhala Buddhism and author of, “The Four Noble Truths of Wealth: a Buddhist View of Economic Life” is host, editor, and contributor for the column.

article by Layth Matthews

This is the continuation of an article on the psychology of money for organizers, business people, and individuals. Part I focused on the connection of inspiration and money (see Inspiration and Money – Part I). Part II follows with more practical suggestions.

Money likes momentum, so if you want to ask for more money, organize a work party and then send out a report on what you got done, and what inspiring thing would be possible, with a little more money – a specific amount. “The meditation hall walls are all painted! Now with a $400 carpet– we can buffer the country music from the bar downstairs – by the way, did you know 400 is just 40×10? Can we count on you for $40? or $10?” Show the money gods you are serious by meeting them halfway.

Financial Container Principle
Another thing to know is money loves a good container. Whether it’s one time or ongoing, good bookkeeping and regular reporting is a sign of honesty and precision, which makes money feel at home.

On the personal level, if you borrow money from someone it’s your responsibility to keep track of how much is owed and remind him or her periodically that you remember the debt and what the repayment plan is. It’s one thing to owe someone money. It’s quite another to be sloppy about it. It deprives the lender of appreciation for their trust and patience. There is no escaping anything, karmically speaking, so it’s best to strive to repay loans within this lifetime, if you possibly can.

The Power of Planning
Money loves good planning. Good planning is like a goose that lays golden eggs. There’s nothing money likes better than an inspiring plan that’s realistic and clearly presented. Keep it simple up front, but include the details in the back. Good graphics show you care, but don’t over do it, which indicates your priorities are off.

Whether it’s for yourself or someone else, a good plan needs to be to be visionary enough to be inspiring and modest enough, or staged in such a way, to be practical. Plans that return the money, or result in more revenue, or significant savings going forward, are best of all. Ideally, everything is worked out such that money is the last piece of the puzzle and the way is clear. A good plan provides clarity, and clarifying complex ideas is the way to earn a lot of money. One caveat is, don’t over-indulge the planning process. Just label it “thinking” and go back to the breath.

Money Manners
Money likes good manners. Money often runs in herds. Note, herds can stampede both ways. So it’s best to move slowly, speak gently, and be very patient with money until you gain its trust and then you can relax, and play a little. So rather than chasing money it’s more like you have to create a good space for it and invite it graciously to an elegant and tasteful plan presentation. Tasteful means – with good food. Finally, you guide it in by making it clear what you wish for it to do next.

There’s obviously lots of things to say about money!

Money and Daring
The almost-final thing I want to say about money is it is unkind not to ask for it! Don’t be put off by cynicism. If you have a genuine product or cause, respectfully asking people for money is practically the definition of leadership. “Hey folks, look over here. This is important.” You are offering them a means to improve their quality of life, inviting them to share in your inspiration, good karma, and become part of your community, solve a real problem for themselves or others.

It’s very intimate when someone gives you money, or relies on you to help them with money for that matter. You become like family, which is why we are often afraid to ask for money – we are afraid to expose ourselves too. We don’t always want all those new family members. So it’s a good idea to look inward a little before reaching out. Depending on the nature of the situation, it’s also a good idea to actually call them or meet them in person if you can, and also to thank them graciously, all of which show the significance of the situation.

Work on the prior points until you actually feel excited to be offering your members participants, benefactors, boss, or customers this gift of an opportunity. If your inspiration is true, it really is a gift (just don’t call it that).

LaythMatthewsLayth Matthews
, is Senior Mortgage Advisor and CEO of RateMiser Mortgage Advisors and the Author of “The Four Noble Truths of Wealth: a Buddhist view of economic life”. He is a Shambhala Training Director and a Former Director of the Victoria Shambhala Center. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada with his wife and three children.

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10 responses to “ Money and Inspiration ”
  1. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for your comments. I, and hopefully other contributors, will try to keep bringing together practical ideas with big vision in the Shambhala Economics column monthly. Maybe you have some thoughts to share on this topic Jim? We are always looking for generally short articles about 300 words, otherwise we can sometimes break them up.

    I am delighted that you picked up that asking for money could be enjoyable. Something I hoped to convey. With fundraising and pretty much all aspects of life, sometimes it just takes a little attitude adjustment to make an intimidating situation workable/enjoyable. Usually it has something to do with reflecting on basic goodness AKA the ocean underneath the waves of ego!

  2. Thanks for the article Layth. I think all the generalities work in broad strokes (money loves planning – another way to say it is your money will run away, evaporate, disappear if there’s no planning.) The examples were great, empowering for people who are asked to ask people to give to Shambhala. It makes it seem possible, maybe even enjoyable, I’d be delighted to see how this imagery extends to other aspects of our lives. Are you and the ed. planning an extension article?

  3. Hey Craig,

    I like that idea of running with some money in your pocket to establish momentum. I’m going to try that!

    But seriously, Shambhala Economics is just the theme for the column, anything to do with making sense of the economic side of life. I think financial attitudes and planning are a big part of economic life.

  4. E Berger, sorry, I meant to suggest that making a commitment oneself, or as a group can sometimes be a good basis for asking others to chip in.

  5. Thanks Jim! I found it and will read it.

  6. Charles Marrow
    Oct 7, 2015

    Greetings –
    I like Laythe’s article and find it useful. Well, maybe its not ‘Economics’ but is still helpful. It does read a bit like mainstream advice but sometimes what is simple can be kept simple over the big word ‘MONEY’ which can be an excessive preoccupation (at least for me). So…thanks Laythe, maybe conventional wisdom is helpful and can simplify certain things.

  7. Layth, if you are interested in dharma and giving, you should find a copy of Vajra Heart by Tulku Urgyen R. There is a short transcript at the beginning where he talks about the reasons why he built his monastery — it is quite profound.

    Vajra Heart is a restricted text — but I suspect you can find a friend with a copy.

  8. I personally think it is quite horrible to follow up a donation with an immediate request for another donation. It sounds so cheap a maneuver. How about a thank you? If you make it sound like the requests will never end, it going to feel like harassment, not momentum. If someone says to me $400.00 is 40 x 10, I wouldn’t even listen to the good cause it’s for.

  9. Is money an extension–or representation–of our “core”?

  10. Craig Morman
    Oct 2, 2015

    Money doesn’t “like” anything.
    If Shambhala “economics” turns out to be just financial attitudes and planning, without depth or understanding of economics, then it won’t really matter if the loonies in my pocket fall in love with my momentum. I could go for a jog to accomplish that.
    The advice is reasonable, but “economics” is a bit of a stretch.

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