Monday, January 14, 2013

Why I live without money?

A new cycle has started. Almost imperceptible, the change is here. Softly, it takes us towards the endless, inevitably. What can change, is our capacity to let ourselves go with the winds of a new world, to embrace the change vibrating in our deepest selves. During the opening of this new cycle, the ancient Mayas who took part in the celebration of the end of the mayan calendar in Palenque, Mexico, have pronounced a message for humanity:
"In the name of Quetzalcoatl, I invoke the ancients natives from all parts to gather with the Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Hindus and ancients jews as well as the members of other religions to start to establish new councils of spiritual unity on earth"
-Valum Votan, Cerrador del Ciclo
According to them, time of unification has come, during the next 7 moons, all must question their differences and unite for universal peace.

On my side, after three years spent on the road, without money, I feel it is time for me to look back and define what this experience has brought me. I allow myself here to share this reflection with you to clarify the meaning of "living without money".

It has been now three years that I am living without money. Without money means without using it directly. No buying, no selling, just give and receive. Obviously, this limitation stops beyond my own person. Each thing that has been given to me being for the most part generously given by someone who has used money to get it. Therefore, to live without money is not really a debate about using money or not. It would be a bit hypocritical to consider myself in a "money strike" when most of what I consume has passed by the monetary system.

So, why living without money?

The idea came as a dream, an utopia that many share around the world: the dream of a world without money based on sharing and giving. When we started our journey, Nicola, Raphael and myself have decided to follow the wise advice of Gandhi: "be the change you want to see in the world". If we really wanted a moneyless world, we had to start by taking it out of our lives.

However, in the world of today, whatever society we are living in, money is a precious and often necessary medium to find a place, move around, feed oneself. Thus, the one who pretend to live without money cannot prevent other to use money for him...unless he lives in a cave, without electricity, cut from the world, eats only raw food or cooked with fire, only walks around... Living in the heart of society, boycott of money doesn't really work. Of course, we can diminish its use at a maximum, consuming only the strict necessary, living in a very sustainable way...but to evade from the vices of the monetary system is close to impossible.

Then, why being so obstinate about not using money, not event a cent?

Daniel Suelo lives in the state of UTAH, U.S.A, most of the time, he lives in a cave hidden in a beautiful canyon. He doesn't ask anything from anybody and content himself with recycling food from the dumpsters, read and use internet in the public library, breathe and live freely. He lives without money for now 12 years. I have met him when my head was full of doubts about my life without money.

His idea his simply to try not to feed the beast (the system), the less we feed him, the weakest it becomes. It is a simple and universal law. Doing that, he wishes to cultivate his personal happiness. A sweet and pure activism. He doesn't want to change the world, not even his closest friends and family, he just want to be, to keep growing serenely. For him, life without money is an evidence, if the spider lives like this, if the bear lives like this, not worrying about anything besides the food he will get today, why him, a simple creature of God should do any different?

Today, while the world population has reached 7 billions of human beings and resources are becoming more and more scarce, there is still abundance of everything, energy, water, food, shelters...the idea of a world based on sharing is still achievable.
Of course, this doesn't take in account the modern way of life where all the products of the worlds are accessible her and now. In a world where we would all live sustainably consuming only local products, food would have a cost we would pay with sweat, to move would be an effort requiring time and to sleep peacefully in a warm and comfortable place would require a big investment of work and time. All could be free if we would invest, instead of money, the time and the energy necessary for it.
Unfortunately, today, we don't appreciate what nature gives us by giving it a price. Prices are not depending anymore on a certain load of energy, time and work, they are connected to the offer and the demand, prices disconnect us from the efforts that requires the production of those items.

Money itself is just a paper, a number. The eventual problem is what it represents. In my case, I realize that money never offered me more that comfort, the security of having a roof, food in the fridge and the possibility to plan activities for my future. Money gave me just that: security. In other words, the more money I had, the more secure I felt, I felt in control, I felt independent, free... Daniel Suelo calls this freedom an illusion because whatever the amount of money we have in our bank account, we can never prevent any disease, any accident, the departure of our love ones, etc...
Worst, this illusion became for me creator of uncertainty, doubts and fears. Unconsciously, I lived with the fear of tomorrow, I was working for some "in case of" instead of enjoying the present.

At the beginning of our journey, we went across Morocco, it has been a incredible cultural chock. I realized the importance of faith in the life of human beings. Insha'Allah is a magic word that give tranquility to the ones who use it. An every time we said to someone: "see you tomorrow", he would answer "Insha'Allah". He had understood that we are not in control of our lives. In Western Europe, it does seem that our faith has been absorbed by the use of money, we trust in the security it gives use. We have lost our faith in the universal law of nature. You give what you receive, your are the only master of your deeds, words and thoughts. If you are doing good around you, then worries are useless. 
To me it seems this lack of faith is a characteristic of our western seems we are so afraid of tomorrow that we would be able to destroy our mother earth, fearing she stops feeding us. 

We have grown with the idea that money offered us the freedom to do whatever we wanted. But we never have enough. Experimenting a life without money, I realize that money, instead of liberating, enslaves. 

The Buddha, Jesus Christ, Saint Francois of Assisi...many are the voices rising in the last centuries to invite us to put our faith in God or the universal law of nature, to trust in the fact that each good deed is rewarded by nature.

Many ways are possible, the buddhists monks for example, don't use money to live out of charity. A good way to dissolve their ego, to learn how to receive and trust in the universe. Depending from others, they learn humility, gratitude, respect and faith.

That's why I personally live without money and why I am still so obstinate about it! Because the road is endless and it is in the action that we learn. Intellectual masturbation doesn't bring any liberation, it is by receiving that we learn how to give, it is by giving that we learn how to receive, it is by trusting that we learn how to trust. Living without money is no more than a technique, a strategy to thwart the old habits of the ego, to free oneself from this contaminated culture of ours and build its own culture, find its own path.

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