Lately, I have been reading about Mindfulness. I posted two reviews over at Amazon.com, which I would like to share. But first, some initial thoughts about the relationship between Money and Mindfulness that I hope to be able to expand on in the future.
- People have strong emotional reactions to financial issues–as one therapist put it to me, “Patients are far more comfortable talking about sex than they are about money!”
- While much of this reticence may be about social comparison and social norms that people are aware of, I believe that much of this discomfort is due to nonconscious forces. Money is itself merely symbolic, not real, which gives us tremendous latitude in how we think about it. And our attitudes about money are formed early–not as early as attachments, but certainly during our early years, we pick up a lot from our parents about their views of money during that early childhood time when our minds are largely nonverbal. Is money gold or is it sh*t? Our conscious mind may see one while we retain less conscious associations that say the other. Whether you believe in Freud or not, I think there is ample evidence from research on neuroscience that our brains operate at multiple levels, some primitive, some higher order, and that these levels may conflict without our conscious awareness.
- Thus one way that mindfulness can help is by enabling greater access to other levels of the brain. When one routinely practices mindfulness and nonjudgmental watching of brain activity and trying to focus on sensations without categorizing them, one becomes aware of little brain flashes and associations that are not accessible in our controlled conscious linguistic mode–at least, that has been my personal experience.