Why has money assumed such an immense importance in our lives? Do we perhaps depend exclusively on it for our own psychological happiness? All of us human beings need food, clothing and shelter; this is understood. But why is it that this, which is so natural and simple for even the birds of the sky, has assumed such a tremendous and frightening importance and meaning?
Money has assumed such an exaggerated and disproportionate value because we psychologically depend on it for our well-being. Money nourishes our personal vanity, gives us social prestige, the means to achieve power. Money has been used by the mind for ends and purposes totally akin to those it has in itself, among which are to cover our immediate physical needs. Money is being used for psychological purposes; that is the reason why money has assumed an exaggerated and disproportionate importance.
We need money to have food, clothing and shelter; that is obvious. But when money becomes a psychological need, when we utilize it for different purposes than it has in itself, when we depend on it to obtain fame, prestige, social position, etc. then money assumes an exaggerated and disproportionate importance in the mind. This is where the struggle and the conflict to possess it originates.
It is logical that we have a need to obtain money to satisfy our physical needs (to have food, clothing and shelter). But if we depend on money for our own happiness and personal satisfaction, then we are the most wretched beings upon the earth. When we understand deeply that money only has as its purpose to provide us with food, clothing and shelter, we then spontaneously place an intelligent limitation on it. The result of this is that money no longer assumes the exaggerated importance that it has when it becomes a psychological need.
Money in itself is not good or bad. Everything depends on the use we give it. If we use it for good, it is good. If we use it for evil, it is evil.
We need to comprehend in depth the true nature of sensation and satisfaction. The mind that wants to comprehend the truth should be free of these obstacles.
If we truly want to free the mind of the obstacles of sensation and satisfaction, we must begin with those sensations which are more familiar to us, and there lay the adequate foundation for comprehension. Sensations have their suitable place, and when we comprehend them profoundly at all the levels of the mind they do not assume the stupid deformation they now have. Many people believe that if the order of things was according to the political party we belong to and for which we always struggle, that we would have a happy world, full of abundance, peace and perfection. That is a false concept, because none of that can exist if we have not previously individually comprehended the true significance of things. The human being is too poor internally and that is why he has a need for money and material things for his personal sensation and satisfaction. When one is poor internally, he externally seeks money and material things to complement himself and to find satisfaction. That is why money and things have assumed a disproportionate value and the human being is prepared to steal, exploit and lie at every instant. To this is due the struggle between capitalism and work, employers and employees, between exploiters and exploited, etc.
Useless are all the political changes if we have not first comprehended our own internal poverty. Economic systems can change again and again, the social system can be altered again and again, but if we have not profoundly comprehended the intimate nature of our inner poverty, the individual will always create new ways and means to obtain personal satisfaction at the expense of the peace of other people.
It is urgent to deeply comprehend the inner nature of this myself if we really want to be internally wealthy. Whoever is internally rich is incapable of exploiting his fellowman, he is incapable of stealing and lying. Whoever is internally wealthy is free of the obstacles of personal satisfaction and sensation. Whoever is internally wealthy has found happiness.
We need money, true. But it is necessary to profoundly comprehend our exact relationship with it. Neither the ascetic nor the covetous miser have ever comprehended our exact relationship with money. It is not through renouncing money nor coveting it that we can come to understand our exact relationship with it. We need comprehension to intelligently recognize our own material needs without disproportionately depending on money.
When we comprehend our exact relationship with money, the pain of detachment and the frightening suffering that is produced by competition ends.
We should learn to differentiate between our immediate physical needs and the psychological dependence on things.
The psychological dependence on material things creates exploitation and slavery.
We need money to cover our immediate physical needs. Unfortunately, needs are transformed into covetousness. The psychological “I,” perceiving its own emptiness and misery, usually gives money and material things a different value, an exaggerated and absurd value, than what they truly have. That is how the “I” wants to become rich externally since he is internally poor and miserable. The “I” wants to make itself felt, to dazzle its fellowman with material things and money. Nowadays, our relationship with money is based on covetousness. We always allege necessity to justify covetousness. Covetousness is the secret cause of hatred and the brutalities of this world. Covetousness many times assumes a legal appearance. Covetousness is the cause of war and of all the miseries of this world. If we want to do away with the covetousness of the world, we should profoundly comprehend that this world is within our very selves. We are the world. The covetousness of the rest of the individuals lies within us. Actually, all individuals live within our own consciousness. The worlds covetousness is within the individual. Only by doing away with the covetousness that we carry within will covetousness in the world end. Only by comprehending the complex process of covetousness in all the levels of the mind can we experience the Great Reality.
First: Lie down in the form of a star, opening your legs and arms to the left and the right.
Second: Concentrate now on your immediate physical needs.
Third: Meditate. Reflect on each of those needs.
Fourth: Lull yourself to sleep trying to discover on your own where necessity ends and where covetousness begins.
Fifth: If your exercise of concentration and inner meditation is done correctly, through internal vision you will discover which are your legitimate necessities and which are covetousness. Remember that only by profoundly comprehending necessity and covetousness will you be able to establish true foundations for the correct process of thinking.
This chapter is from Introduction to Gnosis (1971) by Samael Aun Weor. The print and ebook editions by Glorian Publishing (a non-profit organization) are illustrated to aid your understanding, and include features like a glossary and index. Buy the book, and you benefit yourself and others.