The financial world seems to be full of aggressiveness. But money is nothing more than a neutral energy, and the violence that we often relate to it is just a reflection of what we are.
by Mar Michelle Häusler
Read original article in Portuguese published by Revista Progredir
My career kicked-off at the heart of the financial market working as a trader in a world famous bank. From day one, violence was easy to spot around me. From everyday microaggressions, to downright outbursts and verbal abuse, it is no surprise that the financial sector can be vexing to the spirit. Competition is the modus operandi of banks; I was put in situations where I had to compete with a colleague, teeth and claw, for a single spot within the company. And the bank’s goal, to generate more money, functions regardless of morals it seems. It is not only acceptable, but common place practice for banks to make money with arms and petroleum trade, in itself violent to the world and our planet.
Finance in general seems to be teeming with aggressiveness, not just for those who work within the sector, but also to those who have to simply deal with it in their everyday lives (i.e all of us). From the moment you read the morning news, filled with numbers and rates which emphasise the decline and doom of our economy – the rising prices of fuel, high inflation or rising unemployment- we are being hostilized. The general bombardment of negative financial prognoses can, even if subconsciously, affect our disposition. The cycle continues as our day progresses. Every time we have to pay a bill we weren’t expecting, or when we check our bank accounts and find ourselves in that familiar end-of-month situation when we run low on funds, it can seem that the world is against us. That money itself, is the enemy. A bad financial situation can intoxicate our minds and spirits making it impossible for us to enjoy or take pleasure in anything else, sucking us deeper into the cycle of aggression – a rude remark, or spiteful attitude…
For a very long time that association, of money and a certain violence to the spirit, had bothered me. I quit the financial sector with a disdain for money itself, I saw it as dirty (never did I think I would be working with it again). I thought money was the root of all evil I saw around me, the cause of anger, manipulation and greed.
With time, however, I have made my peace with money. Money is nothing but neutral energy. It isn’t bad, or good – it just is. You can liken it to a mirror, which will absorb and reflect what is put before it. The violence we so often associate with money and the world of finance, is less about those things in themselves, but rather about us – how we have been conditioned to perceive and deal with them, how we have been taught to relate to them. But just like any behavioural pattern, that too can be changed by working on ourselves.
But before we can begin the inner work required to change our relation to money, we must bring the subject to light. There is a taboo around money that must be broken. All of us have to deal with money, and it shouldn’t be a topic that’s either impolite, or cause shame or embarrassment. The very fact that it does, just goes to prove how deep and personal our relation to it runs. We must go back and understand why we have money in the first place, to be able to see it for what it is; a tool. Money was originally created as a barter system, a mechanism for social exchange. It is simply a human symbol created to represent the value attached to goods and services being exchanged. The trouble is that many forces, good and bad, attach themselves to this symbol.
The human being has two dimensions, the higher and the lower self. Our higher self will use the power of money towards the greater goal of fostering a culture of peace, while our lower self uses the power of money for the goal of wealth, destruction and conflict. While our higher self can see and use money as a tool, a means of cooperation between different people, our lower self uses it to manipulate and dominate others.
Making sure we are using money, rather than being used by it, becomes an exercise of self reflection. We must ask ourselves, how are we engaging with finance and money on a daily basis? How are we being affected by it? Being aware of money is a daily practice. Every time we use money, ask yourselves how you are using it, and how it makes you feel. The goal is to ultimately focus our attention beyond money; money is the means, but what are our goals? And how is our income aligned with those goals? A conscious effort to be present every time we engage with finance can go a long way to untangling our emotional relation to money, and by doing so we can also untangle the attitudes of aggressiveness and violence we so often associate to it.
MAR MICHELLE HÄUSLER
Coach and Founder of
GIVE & TAKE LAB