I imagine many of us are without money at this time. We’ve all hung on, to the very best extent we could.
For me, when I’m without money, I’m overcome by one fear after another. Most of my fears arise out of roles assigned us all in a patriarchal society.
According to this view, men become the protectors and the providers. When a man has money, all is well. When a man does not have money, he feels worthless. He’s depressed. He feels himself a failure. His problems multiply.
Well, these days and weeks before the Reval, I now go through the experience of being penniless and it’s very educational.
I said yesterday that the number of issues that were raised by seeing my bank account at zero resembled a huge boulder coming down on me. The boulder consisted of all my unfinished business, all my old issues, vasanas, records, upsets, around money. (Now who would want me to complete my vasanas around money?)
Everything I’ve been carrying around. We all know how it feels to be dragging around a heavy gunnysack: Depressed, angry, resentful, hopeless.
That’s the impact of unfinished business. I already know that, which is why I’ve been writing on vasanas for years.
Nevertheless this single vasana for me was mammoth. It was a whale. For a man to be penniless in a patriarchal society is his greatest fear. In his mind, the woman now leaves him.
Well, if the patriarchal society requires her to depend on him, why not? I recall suggesting to one woman that she leave me because at that time I couldn’t even pay the rent. I faced homelessness.
Worse than feeling useless as a man is the belief that he’s now become an extra mouth to feed. There’s tremendous shame connected to being a burden on the family.
I can indeed see the benefit of providing me, who will be managing – what is the word for that amount of money? Well, you know what I mean – in a short span of time, this kind of experience.
What better way to enter the context of humanitarian philanthropy than having just lived a span of time as a penniless person? Perfect. Thank you, God.
Seizing this opportunity, as a student of the awareness path, I begin to observe this huge boulder of fears I have around this issue. I inspect it. It has the appearance of being massive and all of one piece. It looks as if it were made of sand, somehow molded together.
Yes, the idea does occur to me that, if it were sand, as it’s being represented as being, then there should be an easy way to cause its decomposition holus bolus.
That happened when I processed fear. Why can it not happen with pennilessness?
This time the strong emotion and unwanted condition is shame. The shame of being penniless. Shame is the glue that holds the sand-boulder together.
If I were to give my awareness to the glue in the bolder, that should cause the glue to dissolve. I know this from past practice. Awareness is a solvent.
Now is the time to experience the matter through to completion. But not the individual vasanas that compose it; shame itself.
When I turned to look inside, I found that shame had no substance.
Like an Easter bunny, I bit into it and it was hollow. Like a paper tiger, it had no substance. Like a balloon, it deflated. As much as I may have to be ashamed of in my distant-past life, I haven’t in many years done anything I feel ashamed of.
For whatever reason, shame proved to have no substance when exposed to the light of awareness.
The light of awareness is what’s been missing all this time. I haven’t allowed it up into my awareness. I’ve hidden it away and denied it.
Remaining unaware of it by choice has enabled it to exist. But a simple bestowing of awareness upon it shows that, unto itself, it has no substantial existence. It dissolves back into the ether from which the idea of it came.
I turn back to my boulder and apply awareness to it – in particular the awareness that it’s sand held together by the glue of shame – and it dissolves into a heap of sand.
Just as, some months ago, in the process of going after a particular fear, fear itself vanished, so here shame itself vanished, revealing that it lacks now and will always lack substance.