Chapter Five from the book "Introduction to Gnosis"
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 known. 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, gives us the means to achieve power. The mind has used money for ends and purposes that are totally different from those that 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 before the mind and 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 exclusively 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 a 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 make of 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 arrive at comprehending the truth should be free of these obstacles.
If we truly want to free the thought from the sensation of satisfaction, we must begin with those sensations that are more familiar to us and establish there the adequate foundation for comprehension. Sensations have their suitable place and when we comprehend them profoundly in all the levels of the mind, they do not assume that stupid distortion 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 then have a happy world, full of abundance, peace and perfection. That is a false concept, because none of that can truly happen if we have not previously comprehended individually the true significance of things.
The human being is very poor internally and that is why he has a need for money and things for his own stimulation and personal satisfaction. When one is poor internally, externally he seeks money and things to complete himself and to find satisfaction. That is why money and things have assumed a disproportionate value and the human being is prepared to steal, to exploit and to lie at every instant. The struggle between capitalism and work, employers and employees, between exploiters and exploited, etc., is due to that.
All political changes are useless 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 has ever comprehended what our exact relationship with money is. 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 psychological dependence on things. Psychological dependence on material things creates exploitation and slavery.
We need money to cover our immediate physical needs but, unfortunately, needs are transformed into covetousness. The psychological I, perceiving its own emptiness and misery, usually gives money and material things a different value than what they have, an exaggerated and absurd value. That is why the I wants to become rich externally since internally it is poor and miserable. The I wants to make itself felt, to dazzle its fellowman with material things and money.
We always allege necessity to justify covetousness. Covetousness is the secret cause of hatred and the brutalities of this world and, many times, they assume legal aspects. Covetousness is the cause of war and of all the miseries of this world. If we want to do away with the greed of the world, we should profoundly comprehend that this world is within our own selves. We are the world. The greed of all other individuals is within ourselves. Really, all individuals live within our own consciousness. The world’s covetousness is within the individual and only by doing away with the covetousness that we carry within will the covetousness in the world end. Only by comprehending the complex process of covetousness in all the levels of the mind can we arrive at experiencing the Great Reality.
Samael Aun Weor