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Nov 03
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More Money, Mind, and Meditation

Part two of a two-part interview with Shastri Matthew Lyon about how the Shambhala spiritual path works with financial success 

Q: Is there an aspect of meditation related to receiving generosity? 

A: Yes, that’s one of the themes of the Money, Mind and Meditation course. The theme that generosity to oneself, it’s really important for us to contemplate, and I think half of mindfulness really helps us to address that issue as well. What is the nature of generosity to oneself? How does a real experience of our own inner worthiness or our own well-being relate to these other issues?

And so for example one of the questions to explore is, what is the difference between self indulgence, like unnecessary or unskillful self-indulgence, and treating ourselves well? Treating ourselves well ties in to the question you raised about how we receive things. If we feel inherently worthy then we have no hesitation about receiving a gift because we feel inherently that we are worthy of receiving gifts. It’s not from an ego standpoint, but it’s more of a sense of acknowledging a circle of generosity that exists.

People naturally want to give, and when we accept a gift graciously we complete some kind of generosity for the other person. When we accept it well, that gives them a feeling of fulfillment and peace, a feeling that it was a worthy thing to do. When we don’t accept it well or we have hesitation about it, then they feel uncertain about it too, and so that circle gets a little bit distorted. But when there is a natural sense of ‘Oh yeah, there’s no problem with receiving a gift,’ because I’m naturally a giving person, then I can give the grace of acceptance back to that person.

The issues that come from people who maybe have a very low income so they have a very limited budget are really different from those of people who are making good money. But each of those situations has its own problems. One of the themes of the course will be that one can feel a sense of inner wealth, richness, possibility, and potential at any financial level. It’s about helping people to discover that.

Q: Financial stability seems to be a sensitive topic for most people. Are there practices that are helpful to start, tools that people can use to continue their practice with this course material? 

A: Yes, I made a list; this is just a draft, but I’ll share this list because I’ve come up with some things that are specific practices that people can start to employ. I think they will really help no matter where you are on that spectrum.

  1. The first step is just to meditate regularly, because when we do that we’re cultivating the experience of inner wealth, and we don’t need any money to meditate.
  2. The second is practicing generosity to oneself. So, not being afraid of eating properly, taking care of oneself well. This means taking time for self-care, dressing well, and not being afraid of that or feeling guilty about it.
  3. The third is practicing generosity to others. On a very simple level, practice daily acts of giving consciously, even if it’s a very simple thing. Bringing someone else a cup of coffee or giving them a nice apple that we saw at the store. Little things like that. That process of giving to others is empowering.
  4. The fourth one is establishing mindful rituals around our financial life, so we have a sense of order when we make financial decisions. bringing mindfulness to them.
  5. Practice feeling abundant at our current financial level, including cultivating gratitude and appreciation in our lives no matter what that level may be. We can have a sense of appreciating our situation.
  6. Work patiently with poverty mentality. Notice when we don’t feel like we have enough in our lives, which is the mindfulness practice of just seeing it. I’ve found that so many people are not conscious of poverty mentality; we don’t even realize that it’s happening. Like saying ‘that basically is too nice for me even though I can afford it; I don’t feel worthy.’
  7. And on the other side of things, be unafraid of financial success when we are coming from a place of generosity in our lives. If we are allowing ourselves to be financially successful in the service of generosity, then that’s a really great thing for the world. Not only does it help in terms of our ability to give, but it helps in terms of the example we’re providing.
  8. Accept our practical limitations with regard to money, but possibly try to find some opportunities within that, so we don’t feel a sense of imprisonment within our financial situation.

So that’s a list of some of the practical things. There could be a much longer list, but those are just some steps that people can take.

Q: Is there anything else people should know coming into this course? 

A: We will be using discussions of money as a steppingstone to these more general issues of self-worth. What is generosity to oneself? What does generosity to others really mean? What comes into play is that the power of generosity is greater giving and more giving, without expecting anything in return.

Generosity is really one of the key themes of this course. We could say that we usually think of generosity as a virtue. But one of the important principles is that generosity is actually power. It’s an empowering principle. Just like when we lift weights, our muscles get stronger. When we engage in generosity regularly it actually strengthens and empowers our spirit and leads to more generosity.

This course is giving us an opportunity to just look at and discuss these issues together and in a mindful way. As Warriors in the World, we’re dealing with money all the time. This, too, is part of our path. How do we bring these principles of mindfulness and compassion to every moment? How can this help us achieve inner peace?

“Money, Mind, and Meditation” applies the sanity and gentleness of the Way of the Warrior to our relationship with finances and how we define prosperity. Shastri Matthew Lyon has been a financial advisor for the past 34 years, and has worked extensively with countless people in helping them to find a form of financial well-being, which includes inner peace. 

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