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Ram Dass

Why am I always thinking of money?

ram dassWhat else is there to think about? Money is power. Everybody else is thinking of money, don't be worried. Even those who are thinking of the other world... they have different coins but they are also thinking of money. Money represents power, with money you can purchase power.
Your saints are also thinking of money - they call it virtue. By virtue you can purchase a better house in heaven, a better car, a better woman. A few people are not that greedy, they are thinking only of the money that is current in this world. A few people are more greedy, they think of the other world. And if you are thinking of virtue to attain to paradise, what is it except money?
A man stops thinking about money only when he starts living in the present. Money is the future; money is security for the future, a guarantee for the future. If you have a good bank balance your future is safe. If you have a good character, even life after death is safe.
The whole world is thinking in terms of money. Those who think in terms of power politics are thinking in terms of money, because money is nothing but a symbol for power. That's why you can go on accumulating more and more money, but the desire never leaves you to have still more - because the thirst for power is unlimited, it knows no end.
And people are thirsty for power because deep down they are empty. Somehow they want to stuff that emptiness with something - it may be money, power, prestige, respectability, character, virtue. Anything will do; they want to stuff their inner emptiness.
There are only two types of people in the world: those who try to stuff their inner emptiness, and those very rare precious beings who try to see the inner emptiness.
Those who try to stuff it remain empty, frustrated. They go on collecting garbage, their whole life is futile and fruitless. Only the other kind, the very precious people who try to look into their inner emptiness without any desire to stuff it, become meditators.
Meditation is looking into your emptiness, welcoming it, enjoying it, being one with it, with no desire to fill it - there is no need, because it is already full. It looks empty because you don't have the right way of seeing it. You see it through the mind; that is the wrong way. If you put the mind aside and look into your emptiness, it has tremendous beauty, it is divine, it is overflowing with joy. Nothing else is needed.
Only then a person stops thinking about money, stops thinking about power, stops thinking about paradise - because he is already in paradise, because he is already rich, because he is already powerful.
But ordinarily, Ramdas, it is not just to do with you; everybody thinks in some way or other about money.

Two mothers were talking. One said to the other: "I haven't seen you in a long time. How is your son and what is he doing?" She replied: "My son is a famous actor in Hollywood and he's making a fortune. He just built a new home that cost three hundred thousand dollars. What is your son doing?" Said the other mother: "My son is doing even better. He is gay and lives in Hollywood; he just moved in with an actor who has a three-hundred-thousand-dollar home."

A young woman has decided to put aside some money for a rainy day and informs her husband that each time they make love she will expect him to put five dollars in the piggy bank. That night, as he begins to make advances, she reminds him of her requirement. He finds that he has only four dollars in his wallet and so the wife agrees to only four-fifths of a love affair. However, as her passion mounts, she offers to lend him a dollar until the next day.

Rachel is pregnant and Sammy, her husband, a very temperamental man, suffers from the pains of celibacy. Rachel, who manages the household, takes pity on him and gives him a hundred liras to visit the red-light district. When Sarah, the neighbor, sees Sammy running out of the house, she calls him: "Where are you running to like that? You look so very happy!" Sammy shows her the money and tells her that he is going to spend it on a beautiful young girl. "Give me the money!" proposes pretty Sarah. "You won't regret it, you will see!" Rachel soon comes to know about it. Very indignant, she explodes: "The bitch! When she was pregnant last year, I did the same for Isaac, her husband, for nothing!"

People are continuously thinking of money and money and money. It is nothing special to you, Ramdas, you are a normally abnormal person, as neurotic as everybody else. But please come out of this neurosis. Live the moment, drop the future, and money loses its glamour. Live the moment with such totality and abandon, as if there is no other moment to come to you again, as if this is the last moment. Then all desire for money and power simply leaves you.
If suddenly you come to know that today you are going to die, what will happen? Will you still be interested in money? Suddenly all desire for money will leave you. If this is the last day, you can't waste it thinking about tomorrow, having more money in the world; there is going to be no tomorrow.
Because we live in the tomorrows, money has become very important. And because we don't live, we only imitate others, money has become very important. Somebody builds a house, and now you are feeling very inferior. You were not at all dissatisfied with your own house just a few days before, but now this man has built a bigger house: now comparison arises, and it hurts, it hurts your ego. You would like to have more money. Somebody has done something else, and your ego is disturbed.
Drop comparing and life is really beautiful.
Drop comparing and you can enjoy life to the full. And the person who enjoys his life has no desire to possess, because he knows the real things of life which are worth enjoying cannot be purchased.
Love cannot be purchased. Yes, sex can be purchased. So one who knows what love is will not be interested in money. But one who does not know what love is, is bound to remain interested in money, because money can purchase sex, and sex is all that he knows.
You cannot purchase the starry night. One who knows how to enjoy the night full of stars won't bother much about money. You cannot purchase a sunset. Yes, you can purchase a Picasso - but one who knows how to enjoy a sunset will not be interested at all in purchasing a painting. Life is such a painting, such a moving, alive painting.
But people who don't know how to see a sunset are ready to purchase a Picasso for millions of dollars. They will not even know how to hang it, whether it is upside down or right side up, but they want to show to others that they have a Picasso painting.

I have heard that once a rich man came to Picasso; he wanted two paintings, immediately, and he was ready to pay as much as was demanded. Picasso demanded a fabulous price - thinking that he would not be able to pay it - because only one painting was ready. But the rich man was ready to pay. So Picasso went in, cut the canvas in two, and the rich man thought they were two paintings.

I have heard another story: in an exhibition, a Picasso exhibition, people are appreciating his paintings. All the critics have gathered around a certain painting which looks the most absurd, hence the most appealing - because when something is absurd it is a challenge to your intellect, and every critic is trying to prove that he understands what it is.
And then came Picasso, and he said: "Wait. Some fool has hung it upside down. Let me put it right first." And they were expressing great appreciation for the painting!

If you know how to enjoy a roseflower, a green tree in your courtyard, the mountains, the river, the stars, the moon, if you know how to enjoy people, you will not be so much obsessed with money. The obsession is arising because we have forgotten the language of celebration. Hence money has become the only thing to brag about - your life is so empty.
I will not tell you to renounce money. That has been told to you down the ages; it has not changed you. I am going to tell you something else: celebrate life, and the obsession with money disappears automatically. And when it goes on its own accord, it leaves no scratches, it leaves no wounds behind, it leaves no trace behind.

(Osho in The Book of Wisdom, #28)