Monday, 4 April 2016

What It Takes To Live Moneyless

With this post I would like to debunk the myth that jobless or moneyless living equals lazy, or that it mostly involves sitting around all day and profiting from other people's hard work. I will outline here what it takes to live and maintain the moneyless lifestyle, so that you can check for yourself whether you could fit the bill.

Characteristics, qualities and skills required to live the moneyless lifestyle

I call it a lifestyle for a reason: to be successful living moneyless, you need to develop certain qualities. This is the main reason the experience has been so valuable to me; it has encouraged me to be the best version of myself that I can be, and I am still learning and evolving. No personal development course or training could ever have given me the skills and experience I gained so far from living this way. Here are some things I have found to be of paramount importance in this way of living:

1. Contribution (Unconditional giving)
Contribution is the cornerstone of the moneyless lifestyle. This means contributing in some way to anything beyond yourself (other people, animals, plants, the earth, etc). It helps if you also have a vision; some theme to work on that guides and shapes your actions. For me, it is the environment: supporting the earth and all of life on earth. I did not have a clear vision when I started my challenge, but I developed one quite quickly and naturally into the process, because my experiences broadened and refined my perspective on life. Living moneyless I experienced very clearly that none of us can live in a bubble: every being on earth depends on many other beings in some way.  This is why we need to collaborate and look after each other (not just humans, but all parts of the ecosystem). Life supporting life.
When you have a cause you support that goes beyond yourself, it also makes it easier for others to get to know you and understand what you are about, because you have a story that explains instantly who you are and what is important to you. You may even restore others' faith in humanity by sharing -and demonstrating- that you care about something other than just personal gain. The demonstrating part is obviously very important: actions speak louder than words.
After living moneyless for a while, you will notice that contribution starts to become second nature. It is no longer about getting something in return (like it is with money). Step by step you will move away from the exchange mindset. Exchange can be useful, but in many cases it tends to detract from the experience of giving and can make the receiver feel uncomfortable. Unconditionality also helps you to live in the moment and thus enjoy life more.
(Read more about my thoughts on contribution here.)

2. Being a reliable, trustworthy person
It doesn't matter how much fun you are to be around, or how much you give to other people on certain occasions: if you break promises for no good reason or miss appointments, then people are not going to want to collaborate with you. And collaboration is key to success with this way of life. So it is important that you do what you say and say what you do. I try to communicate as clearly and truthfully as possible and always stick to my word to the best of my ability.
Another aspect of being a reliable person is having principles (integrity). This requires being aware of all the consequences of what you do and having strong moral guidelines to steer your actions. Some of the most important guidelines I live by are: 1. Always support life/creation over death/destruction (on a global scale and across all species). 2. It is okay to harm the (societal) system, but never the individual. 3. Loyalty is the basis of friendship that is present at all times: not just when you need them and also in the person's absence.
When people say they trust me, or when I notice that an animal trusts me, to me that is the biggest compliment in the world. Trustworthiness, loyalty and integrity are not just a very important focus in my relationships with others, but also essential aspects I look for in other people. It is far more important than being beautiful, popular, rich, smart or anything else.

3. Being attentive/ Thoughtfulness
When you live moneyless, you will soon discover you have much more to give than you ever thought. This is why you will quickly learn to be more attentive to others' wants and needs. You will develop a natural interest in others and remember their likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, wishes and desires. This is because giving is your new purpose.
If you know what people need, want and like, then you can give them exactly that when the opportunity presents itself. You can create ripples of joy and it won't cost you anything other than paying attention to what people say and do, and perhaps investing some time. Life is just much more worthwhile when you have others around you with whom to share your blessings.

4. Resourcefulness / Creativity
Along with a belief in yourself and a belief that it is possible for you to make your dreams come true, you need to develop your resourcefulness so that you can in fact make them happen. There is always a way; you just have to find it. You will not survive if you refuse to think outside the box. You won't even be able to get started. So question everything and try to think outside the norm at all times. It is a skill all of us can learn. Most of us rely too much on assumptions and presuppositions. There is so much more to explore!

5. Patience and perseverance
When making things happen, you also often need patience and perseverance. Things do not always work out instantly. It may take a couple of tries. When I was searching for my first free home, I sent out approximately 60-100 emails to homeowners before getting a positive response. Some things take time, so give it time. And over time you will learn to trust that all will work out, because it always does.
When things do not work out instantly, that also provides a wonderful opportunity for you to contemplate alternative ways to do things and thus practice resourcefulness. The best ideas usually appear in the quiet times when nothing seems to be happening. Brainstorming and thinking outside the box are just about sitting comfortably in the space of "not knowing". So having a way to make everything happen in an easy and straightforward way (e.g. money) actually robs us of the opportunity to practice resourcefulness and learn to think outside the box.

6. Gratitude
Gratitude is not really a requirement to live moneyless, but it is rather a natural consequence of moneyless living. This lifestyle teaches gratitude because you learn to take nothing for granted. Everything is given and yet you never know whether it will be there again tomorrow, or how or where it will show up. Of course this is always the case in life, but it is easier to forget when you use money on a daily basis, because it gives us the illusion of security, stability, continuity and control.
Gratitude is also a consequence of living life according to your highest principles and living life with integrity. You get the opportunity to give as much as you can (and you get a lot back in return, but that is just a bonus at that point). Life becomes a flow of give and take - not in the sense of exchange, but as a blended concept. It is impossible to live life without receiving and it is also impossible to live without giving. You can only shape the form it takes to some degree. So purposeful exchange  (especially involving money) seems pointless and artificial, as giving and receiving are essential elements of each moment of existence. It is what life is made of.

It is difficult to put all the changes and qualities you will develop into words because it is hard to understand for those who have not experienced it. But these changes will come naturally and automatically as you gradually change your perspective on life and stop relying on money.

Are you aware of all you are giving and all you are given in each moment?
I invite you to notice.

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