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What do yoga and financial success have in common? Along the yogic path of self-inquiry, we may begin to see that what we believe inwardly is what we experience outwardly. The degree to which we find it difficult to unconditionally love outwardly reflects the degree to which we don’t experience this inwardly. To love and value ourselves and others is the key to financial success.
Why do so many of us live in a state of perceived not-enough-ness, not-okay-ness? Why do we feel like we don’t deserve to enjoy abundance? “[We are] limiting beliefs,” answers Blayney White, who draws from sixteen years of financial experience, an MBA from U.C. Berkeley and eighteen years of spiritual practices. In the yoga community, sometimes the spiritual ideals themselves are the limiting beliefs.
“There is a common shared belief that poverty equals spirituality,” observes White. While working within the capitalist system it is important to experience the self. Otherwise it’s like putting water in front of a dog, but the dog believing that it’s not allowed or shouldn’t drink from the bowl.
Other limiting beliefs around money involve spiritual bypassing. That is, we use spiritual ideals as an excuse to avoid uncomfortable aspects of ourselves. Instead of facing our fears and discovering our courage, we prematurely give it up to God. It is like driving your car and taking your hands off the wheel, believing that God is driving. Yes, on one level God is driving – but on another, we are co-participating and must make choices about our direction in life.
Female spiritual practitioners often have even more limiting beliefs to sort through. Not only do they often buy into misperceptions of spiritual ideals, but “society still conditions women to wait for Prince Charming,” White says. In a surprising recent Oppenheimer Funds survey of single GenX women, 70% of those polled actually believe that their financial futures begin when they marry.
White believes it is a form of self-love to plan fiscally for your future. She adds, “the bottom line is: if you don’t plan for your future, no one else will.”
If we hide from life, life and abundance will hide from us. If we see abundance, that is what we will experience. It is so simple. If you are wondering in what ways you are not living in love and abundance, life will show you. Everything that you need to know about yourself, life will provide through experience. You just have to look. Whenever you think things should be different and you don’t find Love, “it just represents some aspect of your self you haven’t loved yet,” says Dr. John DeMartini, in his book, The Breakthrough Experience.
Gratitude is a state of total awareness of the abundance and perfection present in every moment. “It’s what you feel when you’ve attained perfectly balanced perception,” says Dr. DeMartini. Scarcity and not-enough-ness fall away. All aspects of abundance naturally improve. They have to, as nature is a perfect orchestra. Like attracts like.
With this kind of contemplative approach, all events can become an awakening to yourself. Just as we watch what happens in our bodies and minds as we practice yoga, we can observe what happens as we engage in financial choices. Do we unnecessarily recruit and tighten parts of the body? Do we lose focus by spacing out? Do we hold our breath, hoping it will all be over soon? Do we hide, condemn or ignore?
Yoga offers a microcosm so that we can see how we respond to the world.
Each time we see ourselves and others clearly, we can start to make healthy choices and receive the events in our lives with gratitude. When we start to love ourselves, we can make choices for our future selves. As we cultivate more prosperity in our lives, we build a firm foundation from which we can offer the ultimate goal in yoga: service. We learn to maintain a steadier state of appreciation, not deprivation, for all that life offers. Through this appreciation we attract greater prosperity and abundance than ever imagined. Long-term wealth accumulates through reverence for self and others, by living in a state of love.