The Tao of Losing Money

There are few things in life as stress producing as losing money. Even losing relatively small amounts of our hard earned money can send those atavistic surges of rage straight up the hypothalamus. Consider an event like when you return to your cars and find a $35.00 parking ticket. If you are like most of us, the heart rate will rise and thoughts of all the things that could have done with that money will flood the brain.. all the bills we could have put that money towards, the nice dinner we could have bought, the new CD‚s we could have bought.

How about the fact that, according to, "if you bought $1000 of Nortel Stock, the worth now would be around $72.00. If you bought $1000 worth of Budweiser (the actual beer, not the stock), one year ago and drank all the beer and traded in the cans for the nickel deposit, you would have $79.00!" Amongst all the certainties of life, like death, taxes, sex with the ex, is the fact that there will be times in life where money that we don't want to spend will get sucked into the big deep pit of unwanted loss. Since we can‚t control the flow of money into this pit, the only thing we can control is how we react to monetary loss. There are three general reactions.
Firstly, we can live in a state of stress producing mental resistance, which is perhaps the most common approach. Option two is as John Belushi advised his fellow fraternity brothers in "Animal House", "My advice to you is to start drinking heavily" as suggests in the case of the Nortel stock drop. By far the healthiest approach lies behind door number three; that is to work with the Tao of Losing Money.

TheTao of Losing Money does not necessarily mean becoming a complete non-materialist giving away all your belongs in order to join an ashram. Nor is a "head in the clouds" philosophy that assumes that
money grows on trees. What it is a practical state of mind that helps us accept those inevitable gusts in life which blows sometimes small, sometimes large amounts of cash from whatever fruits are growing in
our money tree.

Yoga, Zen, and Taoism all teach us to control our minds so we don‚t create resistance to what is. The classic Taoist analogy of unpleasant experience in life is that of a tree in a heavy wind. When life kicks up a breeze that blows our money away, we have a choice. We can allow our minds to be rigid and unbending like an oak and been prone to snapping. Or we can be like a willow, flowing and bending with the heavy winds.

"And so castles made of sand melt into the sea.... eventually"

Jimi Hendrix

The Tao or the Way

Now I am sure the more pragmatic of us may think, "but I work hard for my money, I am not going to just sit back and watch it disappear." Nobody likes seeing money slipping through their finger tips. Given the undeniable fact that money will be sucked from our firmly clenched finger tips on an almost daily basis, if we really want to be healthy and happy we should develop a framework that will help us develop the
mindset of the supple willow in the wind.

As Depak Chopra points out in his Book, the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Currency actually is derived from the Latin word "currere" meaning "to flow" or "to run". If we try and hold on to it too tightly, it will surely evade us. Or at least the cost for hoarding will be paid in sickness, stress and poor personal relationships.

Now I admit, being the descendant of many a hot-blooded Irishman, the "staying calm while losing money gene" is a little recessive in my family. One of the best menatl tools to help me flow with the Tao of Losing Money is the Buddhist Sand Paintings.

For thousands of years Tibetan Bhuddist monks have engaged in a practice of making "mandalas of colored powders" (dul-tson-kyil-khor). Over a period of days or weeks, millions of grains of colored sand are arranged on a flat platform. When the sand paintings were finished, in an act symbolic of the impermanence of all things, the completed masterpiece is swept up and poured into a surrounding river. The healing energies would then be carried out into the world.

Because the loss of money is such a hard thing to
accept, the Mandalas have been huge saving graces to me because they keep the larger picture in view. Even though I am now hundreds or thousands of dollars poorer, I still have at my very center a bright shining soul. Connecting to this space can keep us clear through all the windstorms of life.

Thanks to all the wise people who mapped out a life course that is can put us into harmony with the way the universe works. Turn our rigid and non-accepting oak tree minds into soft and yielding willows.

Next time you look to the Dow Jones to see how your
stocks are doing, keep a little Tao in that "Jones"

All Good,