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Buddhadharma : Spring 2011
41 spring 2 01 1 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly student dreams of what she’ll buy when she’s a successful doctor. if you’re already fairly affluent, you dream of what you’ll buy when you’re more successful. if you’re very suc- cessful, you worry about losing what you have. in that situa- tion, friendly overtures make you suspicious that people want something from you. if someone asks you for a loan, or puts a hand out on the street, you may be sympathetic, but you’re just as likely to be put off. Your best friend gets a promotion. secretly, you’re envious. why wasn’t it you? in essence, these are all money problems. The possibilities for neurotic money upheavals are endless. we might beat ourselves up for having such worldly reactions, but we could appreciate these dramas as a rich resource for worKinG wiTh MoneY is a challenging and somewhat inescap- able practice. Do you have enough to live on? Do you need more to buy a new (fill in the blank)? should you give some money to charity? we all grapple with such questions in everyday life, whether we’re living a frugal existence or a lavish one. relating with money is also a power- ful source of emotional upheavals. Money or lack thereof can quickly put you in touch with desire, aggression, envy, jealousy, anxiety, and fear—and many other juicy feelings. in the seventies, Chögyam Trungpa coined the phrase “Lords of Materialism” to describe the acquisitive attitude that rules the modern world. in a society like ours, where materialism is indeed often king, we may link our happiness to our ability to buy the things we want. if we can’t afford an iPad, we feel depressed. if we can buy the biggest hDTV in our apartment building, we feel proud. a struggling medical The upside of Money Troubles Carolyn rose gimian reminds us that our difficulties with money are valuable opportunities for working with our mind and strengthening our practice. photo saCHie nagasawa