"Put your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success." Swami Sivananda
Life is not easy these days, but I'm not sure there was ever a time in history when it was smooth sailing for us humans.
I hear so many troubling stories lately about our youth, too many of whom struggle with a sense of disconnection, both to others and themselves.
When my son's friends go off the radar, they're in monk mode. I wish it were so.
Rather than meditating in nature or reflecting quietly about the cause of their demons, you'll find them locked in their rooms, being swallowed up by an algorithm. Monk mode only in social seclusion.
In true monk mode, one would look deep within, not at a screen with dancing monkeys, but at the random, illusory and discordant thoughts that express themselves just like them.
Outside of the cave, the wisdom of sages has a role to play in personal finance.
There has been plenty said about money, the good, the bad, and the ugly. In the New Testament, Jesus is quoted as saying, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God".
Not encouraging words for those who might consider themselves religious and rich. I'm no Biblical scholar, but I'd take it as a warning that with wealth comes complexity, and those riches could come at the expense of your spiritual evolution, assuming that's important to you.
It's a bit gloomy for my liking, so I haven't posted it on my fridge. Another musing on wealth from Yogananda contains a similar warning.
"Having lots of money, while not having inner peace, is like dying of thirst while bathing in an ocean."
Now that's a statement I would post on my fridge, if there were room. My partner instead has every square inch of it covered with magnets from his extensive globe-trotting. He's a reasonably wealthy guy, so he has clocked many miles in his day thanks to his wealth, but I'll tell you, when I met him, he was not a happy camper.
Sad, unfulfilled and a bit lost in his wealth. Interestingly, yoga helped him find his way, or at least it helped him to find some inner peace that allowed him to be more comfortable with his wealth.
In recent years, yogic wisdom has enjoyed a revival. It is being mined by everyone from Ivy League scholars and medical researchers, to personal development gurus, and multinationals like Lululemon and Google.
They have encouraged customers and employees to find their zen on the yoga mat or in purpose built meditation rooms and rock gardens.
Eastern philosophy and insights have been dredged up and repackaged for mass consumption. Don't let the commerciality of it make you cynical. Despite the cutesy names and expensive accoutrement, the underlying knowledge is solid.
To truly excel in the outer world, you need first to go within. It doesn't need to be on a mountain top but if that's the only place you won't be disturbed, it may be worth the journey.
The knowledge, lessons and experiences I have acquired through the disciplines of Buddhism and yoga now form part of my underlying view and framework for personal finances. It is the unlikely marriage of these two worlds where I find my personal inspiration and where I believe you'll find the buried treasure you are seeking.
It's time to go monk mode.
Amanda is a personal finance expert who draws on Eastern wisdom to help you grow your wealth and wellbeing. Money Matters was published in 2013 by Penguin Random House in NZ.