Sunday, 22 October 2017

Secrets of Making Money


Goddess of wealth, Laxmi. The most worshiped deity in modern India

A seeker is exactly like any other ordinary person except for the presence of a bit of awareness and knowledge, and must fulfill his worldly needs just like others. A big difference is that the goals of a seeker are completely different and hence worldly matters take a low priority. Anyhow, one must act in the world in order to support a worldly existence, there is no escape from this.

Even though it is boring and seems like a waste of time, the issue of survival is important. We are here for something, and hence must manage it somehow. This article contains some tips on this matter, that are based on my own experiences. Note that this is written for seekers only, and will mostly fail for others. The lifestyle described below can be a disaster for a worldly person.

Necessity for survival

One might wonder, given my true nature and having seen the true nature of this body and the world, why is there a need to continue here? Why not leave?

Yes, makes no sense, does it? Let's take a deeper look. First of all, there is a reason that we, as a mind, are going through a material experience. If you are not an absolute beginner, you know that by now. In short, the reason is the natural evolution of the mind. Human birth is just a step in that progression. It won't last, but this is what must happen. Even if you think its a waste, it is just a thought, you cannot do much about it, except to accept what is.

Secondly, where will you go? All of the existence is necessarily virtual, illusory. There is no such thing as a "real place". There are no places, there is just mind. Where ever you arrive, you will find the same thing - there is a world, however strange, and there is an avatar, however fancy, and you end up acting there to maintain that experience.

Thirdly, there is no escape without finishing the lessons that are being served here. The lessons are necessary to get rid of all kinds of ignorance, and only then we get a ticket out of virtual reality training arenas. If you try to take a short cut, like killing yourself, you will simply spawn again as a noob, standing at the 0'th level. Not a good outcome.

A smart seeker, realizing the need to continue, in spite of knowing it all, gets up and efficiently manages his life in this or any other world. The fastest way is through it, not skirting around it.


The story so far

In ancient times, life was simple, all one needed to do was to grow food and eat it. Seekers lived in small communities, under the guidance of a Guru or a handful of teachers. Their service was their fee. I think the best thing was that they didn't need to file any taxes and never got stuck in traffic.

However, its still a hard life. They also had to deal with occasional invasions by kings and other low lifers, but since they had no possessions, gold or beautiful women, mostly they remained unharmed. Begging was an option too, perhaps for those who needed to travel a lot. People felt lucky if a monk took their offerings. It was not a problem as a monk would take anything that was good enough for today's lunch, and wouldn't demand a "donation" of a thousand gold coins.

A seeker's needs were next to nothing, the distractions were non-existent, and ample time was left to practice. Although, it sounds boring and lifeless, these are the ideal conditions a seeker dreams of. You know why.

In modern times, the situation is less than ideal, as is obvious. Most of us are brought up in materialistic societies, where you either earn this thing called money or are left to die. Although, it is possible to "go off the grid" and grow your own food etc, most of us do not have that option for one reason or the other. You will still need money. If you need a doctor, say, he may not accept a bag of potatoes as his fees. The grip of the "economy" and governments is so tight that now living off the grid becomes your job instead. Begging for food is not an option anymore, I do not recommend it, not because its considered a lowly act or you lose respect or it is illegal, but simply because its too risky to eat the kind of food people eat these days.

Perhaps I have a selective vision and the situation was mostly the same in all history. Or perhaps it is better now. Its all a point of view. I won't go into arguments but I know for sure that the above mentioned situation of old times is not an option now. Anyhow, a seeker is not concerned with changing the external situations, he is smart enough to change himself when the situation demands. Spiritual seekers, the minority among minorities, stand at the extreme tail end of the bell curve and that makes it impossible that the society will change to meet the needs of a seeker. It will always be you who will need to adapt. The good news is, it is easy to do that, surely easier than changing the entire civilization.

Money or poverty?

Surely, a seeker needs nothing more than knowledge and experiences, money is of no use. Is it? Well, that's a wishy-washy thought. The hard reality is - if you have an empty stomach, knowledge is of no use.

Poverty will not magically turn you into a yogi. It may look like that because most of spiritual people shy away from money and luxury. They live a frugal life. Do not make the mistake of imitating that, unless you are already a yogi and have a good amount of control over your Ego.

If you have a family or dependents, it will be a bigger mistake. For obvious reasons. There are always consequences. An untrained Ego will flare up if you do not provide enough for it. It will make your life miserable. The resulting anxiety, worry and insecurity will stop your progress and may even make you regress. Your dependents will add fuel to the fire of this misery via their constant nagging, pushing and insults. Ego does not really like it when the society and "friends" brand you as a loser, a man, incapable of playing the survival game.

Some may use the excuse - I'm a seeker, so I stay away from money. Well that's Ego in disguise, it is avoiding the hard work of earning money by hiding behind a seeker mask. Needless to say, it will be difficult to come out of it, unless you have a good and caring teacher, which means the kind who beat their students with a big stick.

A smart seeker, knowing fully well, that at least initially on the path, the needs of the body overwhelm a mind, gets up and acts in order to make his material life comfortable. Once the body is happy, and the Ego is not full of fear and depression, and the mind is freed up for deep contemplation, its a piece of cake to gain knowledge. Its your real earning, isn't it?

Obviously, the question is not whether you should remain poor or become rich. The real question is how much do you need. The recommended way is to get the minimal you need plus a little bit more for bad times. The Ego is at its worst when the time is bad. This is our common experience.


Need not greed

That's the key. Most of us were brought up as money making machines. Which means, the blood sucking job you do converts your blood into money which goes into the pocket of a rich man. Education is not to educate you but to enable you to earn. Skills are not something you acquire because you are naturally talented, but because they are in demand in the "job market". You marry not because you love someone, but because he is rich. The list of rants is long and wide, but essentially, you are turned into a greedy consumer who must consume a lot and earn a lot, simply to keep the rich, rich and ruling class ruling. Usually a seeker recognizes this pretty quickly, and the revelation is expressed as "wtf is wrong with the world?".

Now is the time to recognize that one need not earn more than one needs. Exactly the opposite is happening in the world, which is what is wrong with it. We cannot fix everything overnight, so we start by fixing ourselves. Recognize your needs. Cut them down. And then cut them again... twice.

You will find that, surprisingly, our needs are tiny. The rest is greed and social conditioning, and the egoic tendency to hoard stuff gone wild. It is the ignorant Ego that needs a mansion, a fleet of cars, a dozen partners and three score children, an army of yes men around you, and a pile of shiny objects to "impress" random people. The body needs a small and clean house, simple and nutritious food, a silent place to sleep, and ... well that's all. Everything else is unnecessary. Isn't that mind blowing?

Now you have the key. Minimize your needs. Live a minimalist's life. Do whatever you are doing - job, business, agriculture, its all fine. Probably most of the seekers won't need to do anything more. But if you are still struggling, keep reading.

Job or business

Its always preferable to be self-employed rather than being an employee. It has advantages. Firstly, you do not need to obey anyone, no one stands on your head. You are the boss. That's a lot of freedom. You are not making someone else rich, you keep the whole earnings. That's being efficient. You can do the work of your own choice. You have the freedom to do more or less of it or to completely quit and do something else anytime. You can take long vacations, travel or just rest. Your experience can be multifaceted as you do not need to do a repetitive task in a narrow field. This means, you get more avenues to expand, with time success becomes certain and easy.

One need not overdo it. For a seeker, time is money. The less time you spend, more you gain. If your work is consuming your 20 hours per day, something is wrong. Meeting the needs is your goal, earning tons of money is not. What use is the excess, if you do not have time for yourself.

If you are lucky to have a job which takes only a few hours a day and leaves you with a good amount of time and energy for yourself, then there is no point in quitting it now. If it becomes an obstacle in your seeking, you should quit it, not before that. Self employment has some risks compared to a secure job. However, if you are capable of both, always prefer self-employment.


Skills

You will notice that people pay you not because you are educated or hard working or honest, but because you have a skill they need. Doesn't matter if its a job or your own business, a skill is a necessity if you wish to earn money. Skilled people are always short in supply. Why? because it takes hard work to cultivate and master a skill, something very few people want to do. Many are just average. All you need to do is become just slightly above average. You will earn effortlessly. This is the key.

What skills to take up? Cultivate a skill very few have. If everyone and their dog can do it, its worthless. Take up something a rare few can do or know. This means extra effort or intelligence, but that should not be a problem for a seeker. A seeker is by definition, more intelligent than average and has great devotion, concentration and long attention spans needed to get such a skill. Thanks to years of practices that sharpen the mind. Once you master a skill that is rare and niche, there will be a long queue of people at your door, eager to pay you as much money as you demand.

How many skills does one need? It is best to master at least 3-4 skills that are diverse. In this way, you have options, in case the demand for one goes down, a better competitor pops up, or if its gets simply boring to do that work. If you have multiple skills you can open up multiple channels for earning, and you get peace of mind in return. Money will keep flowing, even if one or more of the channels dries up.

It is hard work to master a skill. Initially it takes time and effort that seems never ending, and it also takes some natural talent. Majority quit very quickly or do not have any talents, and here lies your opportunity. You can do something which not many can do, and hence your success is certain. Just do not give up initially. After the initial effort, the next skill comes easy, and the next even easier. Say, you are learning a computer language, the first one is always a hard nut to crack, but the second language, if you wish to learn it, will take half the time and effort, and the third will take no time or effort. The paybacks of skills are immense.

How much do I demand?

Another way to earn easy money is to demand less for the impressive skills you have. Obviously, you will get too many clients. Its not your goal to serve them all and earn loads of money. That will leave no time for your main goal, which is your spiritual goal. What you do is - pick and choose your clients. Choose the ones that are easier and quicker. Finish fast, deliver quality, do your thing, repeat.

Charge less, do not manipulate. This way, they keep coming back for more. Cuts down the time to chase after clients. If someone pays you double but makes you work day and night, its not worth. You do not want to spend more time working, you'd rather be meditating or just sleeping.

Love what you do, do what you love

If you are not loving your job or work, its not worth it. Always pick up a skill, a job or a business which you love. Doesn't matter how strange it is, doesn't matter if it pays less. If your life is comfortable, and you are happy throughout the day, you are successful. Not everyone needs to be a doctor or a lawyer, perhaps that's what your parents dream of, but is that your dream too?

The work you do, if you really love it, is as good as a spiritual practice. It puts you into the zone - a meditative state. That's a bonus, but the real benefit is that you do not see it as work, its life, not something you do in order to stay alive, its your life itself. Do something you love, and you will never need to work.

Now the fine print - there should be enough people out there who are willing to pay in return of stuff you love to do. You love to catch butterflies and frogs or watch TV and drink beer, but these "skills" may not be a good means to earn money. 

Should take minimum time.

That's the gist of it. Even if you love it, even if it pays well, but does not leave ample time for your real work, which is your spiritual work, then its not worth it.

You may need to spend more time to set up a business initially, of course, but if that becomes a routine, re-evaluate your choices.

Sleeping income

Now this is an ideal way. Sleeping income is something which you earn even while you are sleeping. For example, you offer your other house on rent, and you do nothing at all except collecting the rent. The house is working for you, leaving whole of your time free. Another example is a software you write or a photograph you took, and it keeps selling while you sleep.

It takes some initial capital or work to set up a sleeping income channel. It is recommended that this be your secondary channel, you need a skill based work as your primary channel. That ensures double income and double safety in return of the same amount of time.

Ethics of it

You won't find this heading in any articles that promise to teach you secrets of making money. Ensure that there are no bad consequences from your profession. By bad, I mean, the ones that push you away from your goal and path. If you have taken up a path, you will find that the consequences return to you relatively quickly, and often instantly. This may look like magic or strangeness at first, but this is because the past actions and their fruits are now cleared and hence current actions and their fruits need not wait to manifest. They will hit you before you realize its too late.

Conduct of a seeker, on work or off work should be exactly the same. Just because its a matter of survival does not make it less "spiritual". Remember that survival is also a spiritual process. Our whole life is a series of lessons. Avoid treating your work as "work", it should be treated as a spiritual practice.

Again, the trick is to be intensely aware of what you are doing. Are you charging too much? Are you lying to sell your product? Do you often "forget" to fulfill your commitments? Is your work or job causing some kind of harm to others or to the environment? Does it involve violence or violent words? So on and so forth. If you think your profession looks too dirty, its time to quit it.

Note that there is a difference between a job full of awareness and something that is socially and democratically accepted as ethical. A seeker decides his own ethics, which are based on his own knowledge and goals. Usually the ethics of the ordinary people form a subset of a seeker's ethics and look plain and childish in comparison.

What to do with the excess?

Convert the excess money into free time. Time is your wealth, not gold. You are not going to take even a speck of dust with you. You will take all the experiences, knowledge and lessons with you. Which one to choose? No-brainer.

Some people may want to donate, become kind of a Robin Hood or something. Its a waste of your time if you utilize it for moving money from one pocket to another. It looks like you are doing good, but what is, is already good, already perfect. The best thing to donate is knowledge and wisdom, and if you are poor in that department, earn it. The more time and effort you spend to earn it, richer you will get, and it will overflow on its own. For that to happen, you need more free time, and if you are lucky enough to have excess of money, cut down the time invested in earning more of it by reducing your work time.


What if you are still poor?

That means money is not your cup of tea, or it is a lesson from life. It is trying to teach you to let go and find the happiness in adversity. The quality of contentment will help you out to do that. Be content with what you have, check the desires, if they are making you miserable, then they are not the right kind of desires. Usually that means you do not have a greater goal.

There is something to be learnt from every situation. They come and go, so this too shall pass. The sooner you learn the lesson, the quicker it passes. Be stable, and unmoving, focus on what you have, not on what you don't have.

Mental states corresponding to those of too rich and of too poor, both are undesirable. If you are too rich, you easily slip into distractions, pride and vanity. You get surrounded by people, who want your money more than your well being. A person who is too poor is gripped by depression, insecurity, anger and fear or self pity. He is prayed upon by hawks who like to exploit his eagerness to get money, making him do things that are not exactly wholesome.

Spending wisely

A fool and his money are soon parted. True words. Its important not only to earn wisely but also to spend wisely. If you are spending it on unnecessary things that are not really required for surviving comfortably, your seeking is going wrong already.

Although, I doubt a seeker will end up spending his money on addictions, shiny stuff or women etc, they may do the equivalent of it. Are you habitually "donating" money to institutions who claim to "serve humanity"? Are you addicted to five star ashrams where enlightenment is served on the press of a button? Are you spending all of your income in traveling to strange places because the spiritual stuff is there and not here? Are you struggling to keep your family and relatives in luxury, getting everything they demand, because they are "your loved ones"?

Conversely, do you avoid spending on necessary things, such as equipment for your business, or a car for commuting to work, or healthy food and water? One can overdo the saving thing and end up in situations where they lead to more waste of money, time and effort rather than less. You will find that if you do not make your life comfortable enough, the time wasted as a result will be much more than any kind of gain.

Saving money is not your goal, managing it nicely is. Spend amply where it is really needed. Say, your work needs a good computer, your old and slow computer is cheap and working anyway, but if you can save an hour daily by simply switching to a fast & new but expensive computer, it is worthwhile to spend on it. That's what the money is for. Moreover, get two of them, just in case. The amount of time you will waste if one gets faulty is not worth it. Get two of everything that are absolutely necessary for you. Get none of anything that is absolutely unnecessary. There, that is you mantra.

Dependents

If you have dependents, like a partner or children or old parents, it gets a bit trickier. If you are still free and single, it would be wise to remain so and not reproduce just because its fun. If marriage, children and worldly life is your goal, you are obviously reading a wrong blog.

A seeker seldom needs people. However, people need you, they call it "love". Most of the time you can safely replace the phrase "I love you" with "I need you". This can be a trouble for someone who's goal is freedom from worldly matters. If you get into a committed relation, you will be busy spending rest of your life fulfilling that commitment. Forget about your own goals. It is best not to step in that direction and regret later.

A family will not only mean that now you must earn 2x-4x your own need, but it also becomes an obstacle because your loved ones will not understand what you are after. Almost all of your actions and words will invoke fear and anger in them. They will try to "fix" you by hook or crook, making your life miserable. Money will not be your greatest worry.

It is still possible to have a loving and caring partner, since the journey of life can become monotonous and dry, you may desire to have one. Make sure your decision is a conscious one, and you know the consequences in advance. It is recommended to get a partner who is already independent, financially and emotionally. Do not make any commitments what so ever. Anyway, a partner who is free by nature will not like to commit too. So you are tuned to the same frequency and transmission can happen without noise. If you are lucky, you may find a partner who has similar goals as yours, that will make the long journey pleasurable.

However, people change, and you must be prepared to let go of them at the drop of a hat. Holding on, clinging, will hold you back. I guess I'm drifting into relationship advice from the topic of financial advice, so I leave it for you to decide about this matter.

Too late? If you are already stuck in a jungle of relations, turn it into a lesson. As I said, a seeker turns adversity into opportunity. Do not miss this opportunity or worse make it turn against you, that would lead to suffering. Accept where you are and start fixing yourself. That's right, you need not fix others and try to manipulate them to get what you want. In any case, do not try to get rid of them or of your own responsibilities. It can backfire. Anyhow, you don't really need to leave people, they will leave you quicker than you can blink. It is rare for ignorant people to tolerate a free person. They prefer their own kind, because now you do not have the "juice" they can suck on.

It is highly recommended to get out of toxic or harmful relations asap. If you are still there because you are getting money or security or pleasures from that person, its time to reevaluate your own goals and ignorance. Be independent. That's the first step towards freedom.

A seeker's lifestyle

It is mostly solitary,  peaceful, devoid of action. It is not wasteful. It is not impulsive. It is not a pleasure seeking, pain avoiding robotic behaviour. He owns next to nothing because a pile of useless clutter keeps him engaged in cleaning and maintenance that lasts forever. He keeps his small place neat, do not make it dirty and you don't need to clean it. His diet is pure and simple, takes less time and money, and keeps diseases away. The latter waste a lot of money and time. A seeker is after nothing at all. All that needs to be done, gets done.

A communion is welcome, a party with drunk drug addicts is not. Cooking yourself is the rule, eating out is an exception. Repairing broken stuff is the law, throwing away perfectly good stuff simply because you can buy a new shiny one, is not allowed. Although he does nothing, a seeker has no time for guests who come there to gossip and kill their time. What is happening in the world is not his concern, what is happening inside him is.

A seeker won't talk if it is not needed, he won't earn if it is not needed, he won't spend if not needed, he won't go anywhere if it is not needed. And he breaks all these laws I mentioned, routinely and knowingly. Nothing can bind a seeker,  not even his own conduct.

Becoming free does not mean that you erect a wall of rules around you. It means you do what should be done in that moment. You plan, while fulling knowing you may not execute it. It if happens just as it was planned, it is not your doing. It all happens. A seeker is not a slave of conditions, whatever they are. It appears that he is trying to improve things in a material way, but he is just keeping the trouble away, he is simply removing the obstacles that can hinder his progress. Money can become such an obstacle if you have too much or too less of it.

Only a seeker knows how to turn this apparently worldly matter of earning a living into a spiritual practice. The key is to do what you are doing with full awareness, in the light of knowledge, while keeping an eye on your goals and consequences of your actions.



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