It seems to me, that to have and use money in a healthy way involves understanding it in two ways that is a bit of a brain smash (paradox).
The triviality of money
There is a sense in which you need to spend as if it doesn’t matter. You spend money like you would drink water perhaps. You drink without reservation when you are thirsty, and you use water in this sense until you are hydrated. And so it is with using money. If a family member is sick, or in danger, the dollar amount to get them out of sickness or trouble is irrelevant. You spend it. You loan it. You sell your house and live on the street if it must be done. There is truth and there is reason to this. This perspective highlights the fact that money is only so useful as the things it gets us – the medicine or knowledge it gets us or the time it saves us. There is no inherent value in itself.
The preciousness of money
The other sense involves treating money as a scarce resource. Indeed the great majority of the world’s inhabitants must do so. And frugality is not a bad thing. There is a prudence and a wisdom to using money sparingly. Indeed it’s usefulness is remarkable. No other resource has the power to give us gratification or life (food/shelter) with such immediacy. And seemingly, it has the power to provide things like no other resource we have. And so the paradox of having and using money in a healthy way requires that we do attach preciousness and value to it.
And I notice with great frequency the incredible inconsistency in my thinking about money. Sometimes I use large amounts of it without batting an eyelid. And yet at other times, the pain of using a small amount is enough to distract me from being fully engaged in the very situation I used it to create. What an irony!
So this part of my struggle with money – to treat it with the utmost levity, and with the utmost respect. And I think that if I were able to master the art of using it (for it seems that it is quite a bit of an art) then I would be a much happier, generous, wise, engaged, and beautiful person.
See post 1 for more thoughts on this topic