How much is too much? We work to make money to provide for ourselves….and some of us lucky ones, like my boyfriend and I, get to do something that we love and enjoy doing every day for a living. We don’t make millions, we make enough to live very comfortably provided we aren’t silly with our income. We have an above average home, but it’s at the expense of having below average vehicles, and we’re happy with that. We don’t want for anything really and I feel very fortunate for that, especially right now. However, my Sifu doesn’t seem happy with us. She doesn’t like that we spend so much on our home which is also our office, but not our car for some reason. She thinks it should be nothing for me to drop an extra $60/month for Hula classes, and doesn’t understand why I have to think about that extra commitment before agreeing to it. She called me selfish for not wanting to pay that much. I don’t understand why she is questioning why I have to ‘save’ for a new vehicle, and not just go buy a new one when I need it. I’m really confused about this. I think maybe she thinks we have more money than we do. I don’t know. Maybe she wants us to spend everything we have. She once told me that we could live off $2K a month in Los Angeles quite comfortably. I really can’t see how that’s possible when between Kung Fu, Hoola and Belly-dancing, I would be forking out several hundred a month alone. Yes, it’s possible, but I’d have to be ‘selfish’ and not pay for any classes at all in that case.
All I know is, I’m trying hard to build my company because I feel strongly about how important my work is to kids’ education, and I try hard to keep my financial situation in the black, not committing to extra expenses if I can’t afford them, saving for things I want instead of buying them on credit, and always paying my bills on time. With these practices, we’ve come a long way between us, and not being stressed out about how we’re going to pay the bills each month really helps us focus on other things…..like meditating. Now I realize that meditation is supposed to help you not get stressed out about this kind of stuff, and that if I were enlightened, I wouldn’t even be stressed about it at all….however, I’m just starting out and it’s just not that easy to do. You can’t just drop all your concerns and replace them with contemplations of a higher level. I wish it were that simple. If it were, I would think none of us would need to practice at all…we’d all just be enlightened.
I subscribed to Shambhala Sun recently, and it’s come to my attention that ‘Buddhists’ in America appear to be quite wealthy…at least those subscribing to this magazine. The articles are about successful Buddhists in executive positions, directors, writers and successful artists..all making a lot of money. Even millionaires at Google, setting up mediation classes at work. Companies like TED cater for way above average income individuals who can afford the $6K entry fee to experience lectures and presentations on how other similarly wealthy individuals are finding great new ways to do amazing things technologically, artistically and best of all, altruistically. These people are making a lot of money, but they take it and do wonderful things with it. They help develop syringes that break after one use so that children in India don’t get infected with HIV from reused needles in hospitals. …something that is a common practice…..and there’s so many other projects they come up with that are just amazing.
I don’t want to lose sight of what I could do if I continue building my business to become financially independent. I’m hoping that this doesn’t make me selfish. That it doesn’t mean I have an attachment that is not healthy. I want to be able to help more than just a couple of people in my life, in some way or another. When I see people at TED, it inspires me to think of ways that I can contribute to the well-being of thousands that need help. I haven’t come up with anything ground breaking as of yet, but I think eventually I will figure something out.
But for now, I’m still confused about what my Sifu expects of me at the moment.