Yoga Mail

By Nicole Yong.Y.Y

When we follow the path of Jnana Yoga, the path of wisdom, we go through a process of gaining wisdom through self-surrender and devotion to the divine grace. The gained wisdom helps us not only appreciate, but also discriminate between change and permanence, and that which is real and unreal in the world.

As Jnana yogis, we are aware of some level that wealth is a vivid human experience of the concept of Maya – the world as illusion where things appear quite real but are not what they seem.

Wealth is an interesting topic...

Let’s be sincere – how do we interpret that a person is wealthy? Maybe he cruises in a BMW i8 Roadster or a Mercedes Benz AMG GT. Maybe she dons gold or diamond jewellery and only shops at high end shopping boutiques. Could it be that the individual lives at a high-end residential area? Or maybe the individual brings the spouse for high tea at a 5-star resort.

Most people tend to make assumptions such as only those who are rich can afford luxury items, or only those who are rich lead a happy life. Is it true? While these people may seem wealthy, we actually do not know. Let’s take a look at the subject of wealth further.

Common Beliefs About Wealth

There are many common beliefs why people are wealthy. It could be because they are successful in their businesses, have wealthy parents, have high-paid jobs, married to a wealthy person or have won a lottery. Whatever the reason is, most people think the more they have, the wealthier they are. Basically, they want to feel secured and obtain societal recognition.

When we look back 70+ years, people largely bought everything with cash; they hardly used credit cards or cash advance facility. Hence, it was easy to detect who was wealthy as vision is our most trusted sense and influences many of our thoughts and behaviour. Most people still make the same assumptions today.

However, the financial world now is no longer the same. With “credit facility” being introduced to the public, the perception of wealth has become indistinct.   Today, we can buy whatever we like by simply swiping the credit card or signing up for a loan one after another, just to satisfy our desire.

Eventually, the man who works as a manager, has a chance of getting a car loan to buy himself an expensive Mercedes. The woman working as an executive can buy massive amounts of clothes and jewellery on her credit card.  Well, this is where the world gets blurry. These people may appear rich, but are they really rich?

The problem... fake richness

Here is the sad part. We see people’s wealth displayed on the social media- pictures of them going on luxurious vacations, dining at high-end restaurants, donning fancy branded clothes and living in beautifully renovated homes. People want to prove how “successful” they are.

As long as these people can afford their monthly bills, they may be able to maintain this illusion. They may not be aware of what financial independence and financial management are. If they continue living in this illusion, they may never be able to actually achieve real wealth.

In actual fact, these people are often the most stressed as they get their self-esteem from the material world. They try hard to look for solutions – work harder to earn extra to pay for their desires. They live in a world where they feel like that they do not have enough time, and eventually they become exhausted.

When there is a discrepancy between what they want to be and what they actually are, stress builds up. The false ego causes them to go after their illusion – Maya.  When stress levels are high, diseases may inflict the body.

Beat the Wealth Illusion

Here are some Truths about Wealth:

  1. We need less. We just need a self-sufficient life style – a moderate size house to live in, an affordable car, healthy food and simple clothes. Having a financial management plan allows us to recognise the fact that we don’t have to spend more money than what we earn to be happy.
  2. Money is not the only reason why we work. Financial compensation will not succeed as a long-term motivator. When you work for the benefit of others, you will find satisfaction in the working life. Wealth won’t make us happy all the time. It is simply an illusion that wealth brings us happiness. Studies show that some of the most joyful people are not the wealthiest.
  3. Desire for wealth robs us of our peace of mind. The desire for wealth causes us to work too hard that we become so stressed out. Eventually, we neglect our family.
  4. Learn to donate to the people in need. We do not have to be rich to help others. We can buy some groceries for the elderly at the old folk’s home. Generous people are happier and healthier.
  5. Practice mindfulness to reduce stress. Mindfulness is an approach that helps us pay attention to our thoughts and feelings. It allows us to slow down our breathing, and gradually calmness sets in.\
  6. Learn how to meditate from a qualified teacher. Meditation is a powerful tool to help us reconnect with our inner silence, and rediscover who we really are and the meaning of life.

We always have choices in life. Let’s change the way we think about wealth. Start to enjoy our lives a little more instead.  Living a minimalist lifestyle will promote individuality and self-reliance. This will make us more confident in our pursuit of happiness. Om, Om, Om.