Why We Need to Redefine Our Relationship to Money (PP) – Episode 27

Why should we redefine our relationship with money? - Episode 27Whether we acknowledge it or not, our relationship with money impacts several avenues of our life and the world at large. So often, many people confuse self-worth with net worth — money equals security and an esteemed life. Robert Strock explores how a few people have obtained excessive riches, which requires being born in an environment that offers unique opportunities. In contrast, this has been simply impossible for others. Now, as the world teeters on a dangerous precipice, those that have excesses have a chance to give back a greater percentage of what they’ve earned for the wellbeing of the planet, to increase the chances of humanity surviving and thriving in the coming generations. 

The right ideas coupled with systemic structural changes can channel money for healing results across the globe. There’s a moment of caution, though, against taking ideas to the extreme (asking someone to donate almost all their money) or giving too little when you’re a multi-billion dollar corporation. In this turning point for humanity, it is necessary for those who have the golden opportunity to become a part of the solution, rather than continue the cycle of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. We have the capacity to turn this around, but it requires thinking outside the box and changing the way the world has functioned through millennia.  When we find natural motivation to contribute, we move one step further to a life of fulfillment and some can even experience it as fun, not burdensome responsibility. 

We can use money to make a direct, tangible, and good impact on the world — to improve and benefit humanity. Robert and Dave offer six movie suggestions to further listeners’ learning on regenerative agriculture, expand their perspectives, and update their brains to move out of helplessness and despair and to take action to better life in this world.

Mentioned in this episode
Acumen Fund
Kiss the Ground
Gabe Brown
John Liu
Dirt! The Movie
The Biggest Little Farm
The Need to Grow
Community First
The Global Bridge Foundation

Note: Below, you’ll find timecodes for specific sections of the podcast. To get the most value out of the podcast, I encourage you to listen to the complete episode. However, there are times when you want to skip ahead or repeat a particular section. By clicking on the timecode, you’ll be able to jump to that specific section of the podcast

Announcer: (00:01)
Awareness That Heals, Episode 27.

Robert Strock: (00:05)
When you give, and when you feel the urge to give it’s crucially important to see how close it is to directly impact the very survival that’s threatened both individually by billions of people and the planet on which we live.

Announcer: (00:28)
On this podcast, we will propose critical new strategies to address world issues, including homelessness, immigration, amongst several others, and making a connection to how our individual psychology contributes and can help transform the dangers that we face. We will break from traditional thinking, as we look at our challenges from a freer and more independent point of view. Your host Robert Strock has had 45 years of experience as a psychotherapist, author, and humanitarian, and has developed a unique approach to communication, contemplation and inquiry born from working on his own challenges.

Robert Strock: (01:06)
So, I’m happy to welcome you again to The Missing Conversation where we are addressing the most pressing issues that the world is facing today and where we look for the most practical, inspiring programs and innovative ideas to support the very survival of our planet. And we do our best to find a sense of purpose, unity, inspiration, and fulfillment that both we and the world needs. So very badly. First, I’d like to start with introducing my partner at the Global Bridge Foundation and 50-year closest friend.

Dave: (01:53)
This is Dave it’s, it’s great to be here, uh, these conversations and, and there have been a number of them now about psycho-politics have been especially meaningful and especially relevant, uh, as our world exists today.

Robert Strock: (02:09)
So, we ended the last episode with really getting some tangible programs of inspiration, and it’s so very important that we don’t get caught in our moods and that we learn how to care for our moods. And seeing that there is this inspiration activated all throughout the planet is very important because it can help motivate us to move beyond or more accurately co-exist with our challenging emotions and situations. So, again, just to try to keep this as clear as possible, there are three in psycho-politics. The first one is in a very noncritical way, seeing the naturalness of loving and wanting to love ourselves, our friends and our community, and having that being a symbol of a fulfilling life. And of course, even that is a big ask. But what we’re seeing in number one is that we’re also in a world that is showing severe signs of being mortally wounded and potentially dying.

Robert Strock: (03:40)
We’re also seeing a country that our very democracy is threatened. We’re seeing a division in culture that’s existed through the millennia of the poor and the rich. And so, we’re being asked in number one at one level to see the natural illness of wanting to care for those that we love and ourselves. And also the complete naturalness of including what we have considered the other, which is the survival of our planet and the caring for, and the supporting those that don’t have the opportunities we do and we did, giving them the opportunities to have a chance, a good chance to survive and thrive.

Robert Strock: (04:36)
The second principle is really very similar to the first one, excepted hones in on our relationship to money and some significance toward our actions that are powerful. And that how we use our money, we’ve been conditioned to view it as a source of personal wealth, personal entitlement, security, and just gaining more and more of it. And the more, the better with really a bottomless, I won’t say pit, a bottomless delusional evolution. And we think that we’re rising and we’re more if we have more. Net worth equals self-worth, but we start to see that how we use our money has an enormous impact on the planet. And we might look at people that are criminals or people that have obviously hurt the planet, but we probably haven’t seen, for those of us that are the haves, that our own way and our own needs for excessive security, that we have a responsibility.

Robert Strock: (05:52)
We have an impact on the fate of the planet. And so, looking at our relationship to money and our relationship to the world, our relationship to those that we love is a key component. And it is the second principle. And the third principle is really developing an ongoing questioning for the rest of our lives. And I want to say that again, an ongoing questioning till the end of our lives. And what that means is we’re questioning is our relationship to those we love and the world or the people that have no chance to survive. Is it healthy? Is our relationship to money healthy? If we’re struggling for survival, am I staying focused on survival or I’m, am I draining my energy by being angry at the rich? And knowing that my role is to make my family have the best chance of surviving and asking those questions as the third part of psycho-politics on a daily basis, hopefully, hopefully on an hourly basis and something can end up being a joyful, fulfilling, inspiring practice.

Robert Strock: (07:13)
And seeing that we have always been a world divided by itself where we identify whether it’s through religion, whether it’s through nationalism, whether it’s through political party, whether it’s through a community, whether it’s through a school system, we identify ourselves as being, let’s say more important and that’s natural because we’re all local creatures. But the degree of it is what we’re talking about is taking a deep glimpse and keeping asking the question, am I in balance with my relationship with those that I love the planet, those that have no chance to survive. And In balance, not because we should ask the question, but because we actually can see with our own two eyes that the world is endangered. And so are we, and so our kids and so our grandkids, so it’s not a self-sacrifice. There’s no sacrifice in this question it’s actually an expansion where it’s not a matter of being anti-nation or anti-religion or anti-group or anti-self it’s adding an end, in the end is the survival of the planet. And the end is the survival of those that haven’t been given the opportunity to survive.

Dave: (08:55)
Can I ask you a question, a clarification on the relationship to money and the question relates to, is it simply the use of the money we have or the money we’ve inherited, or is it also looking at the relationship to our system and how we have been able to accumulate that money and whether the system itself has been through our own maybe unwittingly or maybe active support become our friend in a way that’s unfair to the rest. In fact, the vast majority of people.

Robert Strock: (09:35)
Yeah, I’m going to answer that question and sort of add something to it as well. Uh, for most people, the accumulation of wealth has included a stepping on top of somebody else’s back. It has included, uh, something that isn’t of benefit to humanity. And in that way, there is something that isn’t like what I referred to in the last episode about Acumen Fund, where they’re seeding wealth, but the way they’re seeding wealth is creating benefit to the planet. So, the opposite of that, they gained wealth, but not necessarily, and in most cases, not for the benefit of the planet. So, that’s crucial. Uh, I won’t go as far as wanting to blame them for that because that’s a done deal. The opportunity is still there for those billionaires or millionaires, to be able to use the money in a way that’s going to create benefits.

Robert Strock: (10:42)
So, in a certain way, they have a chance to give back a lot of what they’ve earned for the well-being of the planet. And so what could happen is a lot of people that have wealth could just stay with guilt or anger at me, or anger at these ideas, and that’s a real danger. So being able to see what you’re saying is crucial and maybe being able, I would say more than maybe, being able to see the guilt or the regrets, the remorse is a healthy thing, because that shows that there’s a sign of a longing to have wanted to be more fair, not being on someone else’s back, not taking advantage of anyone. And so being able to start where you are and look for the opportunities that can specifically benefit those that don’t have the chance to survive or have very little chance to survive is very important.

Robert Strock: (11:49)
And the tweak that I want to add is that when you give, and when you feel the urge to give it’s crucially important to see how close it is to directly impact the very survival that’s threatened both individually by billions of people and the planet on which we live. Because we could give the trillions of dollars away to a school that has our name on the building. Is that a good thing? Yeah, it’s a good thing. Is it very direct? Probably not. Maybe if the building is funding a program on regenerative agriculture or our natural energy. But we need to be very careful in the way that we give that it has that impact. And a lot of the excuses as to why those that have money don’t give is because they say, well, it will be lost in bureaucracy, or they’ll see the limits of the usefulness of it.

Robert Strock: (13:00)
And it’s those that have money’s responsibility to see that it has that direct impact on the survival of humanity and the planet. And that in some way, it’s not too many levels removed from that. So, we can look at things like childhood education. Well, is it learning about history while we have 50 years to live? Or is it learning about survival skills? It depends on how close it is to being something that’s creating leaders that are going to have a perspective of seeing reality. As we know, many of us know all too well, even the reality of reality, or even the reality of facts or the reality of truth, or the reality of science is being questioned. So, the money that we give needs to be toward projects, ideas, innovations, technologies, people that are going to actually create the benefit that’s going to support not only survival, but opportunities for enjoyment.

Robert Strock: (14:24)
I start with survival because if we’re not survival, we’re not surviving, obviously we’re dead. But the idea isn’t just to survive, the idea is to survive and thrive. But first we need to bring the bottom up. Doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy while we’re doing it and, and have our own enjoyments. Of course we can, but it means a percentage of us, and I want to really highlight that, that one of the ways to deflect the message is to hear it more extreme than it’s being said. It’s a common human defense in 50 years as a therapist. One of the greatest defenses that mankind has is to exaggerate a message that’s coming toward us so that we can defeat us. So, we can say, well, you were telling me, I had to give my money away. The idea that I had to give 50% of my money away and you exaggerate the message.

Robert Strock: (15:24)
And then I become a proselytizer, rather than really taking it from within and hearing it in the proportion that is meaningful to you. And so, look for that defense, look for that excuse, making it irrelevant or making it extreme are two ways in which we defend against ourselves. Every little action matters. On the other hand, we have another trap, which is, let’s say we’re a multi-billionaire and we’re giving away $500,000 a year, and we think we’re generous. We also need to be honest and have a perspective that how much does somebody really need as Warren Buffet has said, when was it, when he was asked, what do you say to billionaires that say, I don’t quite have enough. What he said was, so you’re saying a billion dollars isn’t enough for you to survive and be happy. That’s his standard line from my eyes. I think that’s a, that’s a, that kind of statement is a very healthy statement, not as a guilt trip, but as a wake-up trip to really see what is my real situation, what is the real situation of the world?

Robert Strock: (16:44)
What isn’t a fairy tale, what is real and how much can I realistically give? And yes, I do think that we need to look at estate taxes. I do think it’s a crime to pass on family wealth, to family, with the exception of foundations that really have as their purpose. And I do think there needs to be another level of foundation where it’s not perpetuating personal wealth in some indirect way where it actually is having an impact on humanity and on poverty. So, there are a number of structural changes we need to make in the world to enhance the chances for survival. One of the key things is that the taxation structure needs to go to giving opportunities to the poor or to helping the desert be turned into an oasis. And for those that don’t know that ecosystem restoration and regenerative agriculture pulls carbon out of the atmosphere it’s not only important because it gives us healthier food, vastly healthier foods.

Robert Strock: (18:04)
It’s important because it is actually believed by many to be much more important than clean energy that it actually pulls down the carbon in the atmosphere versus natural energy just doesn’t add to it, but the pollution is going to stay there unless we find a way to pull it down. That’s why it’s so important. And so, having taxations go specifically to, well orchestrated very likely combination of public, private organizations, where their whole task is passionately to take care of the planet and to take care of the poor, this needs to happen. It needs to be direct. And we need to use systems that are equivalent to regenerative agriculture and ecosystem restoration. So, at this point, it’s very, very important for all of us to ask in listening to these episodes and whatever else you’re doing. Does it make sense to you? And do you have faith in that you will be asking the question for the rest of your life.

Robert Strock: (19:19)
How do I be in balance with my money, with my energy as it relates to the survival of those and the planet that don’t have a chance to survive? Is that question something that feels like an imposition, and even if it does feel like an imposition, can you hold it there from your wisdom and realize it’s not really an imposition, it really is felt that way because your conditioning doesn’t like it. And it’s natural that at first you might feel it as an imposition, or you might feel just hopeless or helpless or insignificant. Can you stay with a questioning and not let those kick outs that stop you from questioning from my experience of mental health, those that don’t enter into these kinds of questions can never be profoundly inspired, fulfilled, and connected because there’s a vast separation between your unit and everyone else. And say that again for those that don’t realize that they can’t be deeply fulfilled and inspired and have a deep sense of purpose.

Robert Strock: (20:38)
If they’re limiting their wealth to their own, there is a level of fulfillment and peace, tranquility, joy, connectedness that is impossible. And in the years of counseling, where my focus for the last 40 years has been with healthy neurotics, they’ve come to me because they realize that they still feel empty, even though they’re successful. And that’s crucial, those are the premiere hopes of people that have been successful and see that it still leads them to be empty. It’s also crucial that there are millions or maybe even billions of people that are struggling for survival, that if they’re given the opportunity, they’ve suffered so deeply that the gratitude and the passion that they would have to give back to our planet would be so enormous that they may be as powerful as the powerful today because they’ve really suffered. It is such an advantage to have a perspective of having really suffered.

Robert Strock: (22:01)
So, I want to make good on my promise in a prior episode, to mention a handful of movies, which by no means is meant to be a comprehensive enough to cover what’s out there. But there are five movies that I really believe that everyone would benefit greatly if they saw them. The first one is Kiss the Ground, which really expresses the combination of ecosystem restoration and regenerative agriculture, and has both Gabe Brown and John Liu in it. And you will find that as a great education. It also clarifies that our pesticides, which regenerative agriculture does not use was originated out of Nazi Germany, where they converted the gases into gases that would kill insects and the horror of being able to make that association. There’s another movie called Dirt and dirt gets to regenerative agriculture at the end, but it really allows you to see the sacredness of dirt and how that distinguishes us as a planet, only planet to have dirt.

Robert Strock: (23:23)
And that, that dirt, when it’s mixed with water gradually becomes the formation of evolution and creates components and elements that we are really dirt and water mixed together. And if you see the elements, if you take a handful of dirt and it becomes soil, there’s billions of microbes, just like there’s billions of microbes in us. And to start to see our identity more as dirt than as a separate human being. And it really covers it from a completely different vantage point. And then there’s sacred cow, which has the most profound connection between agriculture and animals, because a lot of the movies out there are really condemning meat eating. And I certainly agree that vast minimization of meat eating is important for all of us because farming and farming one crop that’s feeding meat for us to eat meat, is one of the most is the most inefficient way of farming.

Robert Strock: (24:32)
And it has, it shows in sacred cow how animals can graze and create perfect kind of soil with their poop and their pee and composting and using water in a very efficient way. It shows that animals can graze for their whole lives, live a full life, be fulfilled for animals, eating, eating the grasses on the land is like us eating our favorite foods. It’s a joy for them. They can live a full life. And then when they’re old and they’re in their dying days, they can be euthanized in a very healthy way. And then their meat can be eaten by humanity. And so, it shows a progression that’s so utterly healthy, that it’s a great education for all of us. And then there’s The Biggest Little Farm. The Biggest Little Farm is one of the most heartwarming stories where it was filmed over eight years of going through all the obstacles of not wanting to use pesticides, doing regenerative agriculture.

Robert Strock: (25:41)
And it followed a family and animals. It’s a great movie for kids and it, and it really shows how regenerative agricultural works from a very individual farm where they had no idea whether they were going to make it month to month. They had 10 problems where they were completely lost and stuck, and they were in their challenging feelings and circumstances, and they took those challenges to get to the next level. And in the end, it makes you wonder how could everyone not want to be doing what they’re doing? And you can see that their evolution itself and the intelligence of when this infestation came, it looked like they were doomed. Well, how do we, how did, how did nature deal with that? And they went back to the original way of how nature kept evolving to create the earth. And finally, last of the five is The Need to Grow and The Need to Grow shows the evolution of regenerative agriculture in the cities and how it can be utilized above ground, on concrete, or on side yards, on top of houses, on decks and shows how any of us, no matter where we’re living can find a space two feet by two feet and be a regenerative agricultural farmer and create our own food.

Robert Strock: (27:05)
And it shows many, many other things, but it’s a very worthy film to see the diversity of regenerative agriculture.

Dave: (27:15)
I just want to give a special, uh, number six, shout out again, although you covered it thoroughly before to Community First, uh, which is, uh, as you’ve talked about before, combining some of the elements of the land that these other movies do, but also in addition to that, the homeless community,

Robert Strock: (27:36)
Thank you for that. So, we all need to be updating our brain on a regular basis, which is realizing in a certain way, we’re innocent, that we’re a victim of our conditioning. What we think is normal on a feeling level is normal. Thinking about caring for those that we love is normal. Now I would never say, I may be even a little bit famous in my little group for saying normal, normal doesn’t mean healthy, just means normal. So, it is normal to be normal, but in this time we can’t afford to be normal. We need to see that our very children and grandchildren or our friends, if we don’t have children, our friends children, and grandchildren, somebody that we love, children or grandchildren are going to be facing this on an immediate level where their life is at risk. So, we need to keep updating our brain and face reality and not be in denial.

Robert Strock: (28:46)
And also, not let ourselves be stuck in a feeling of anger or helplessness or despair. Hopefully, what you’ve gotten most in this series of psycho-politics is that we all need to reevaluate, based on something beyond what we were conditioned to believe, and that we need to learn to love those that have the disadvantages that we didn’t have if we didn’t have them. And that we also need to reevaluate our relationship to money, that’s in our brains, we need to keep doing that. But as an ongoing thing, what I wish for all of us is that we realize we’re never going to arrive to a point where we don’t need to question. We all need to question, are we in balance with caring for those that we love and caring for the planet and caring for those that are the have-nots. And that if we stay with that question and we learn to love that question, then we’re in love with life.

Robert Strock: (29:59)
And we’re in love with a bigger life than probably we ever dreamed possible. And then it’s the exact opposite of a should or a guilt, it’s a joy, it’s a gratitude. It’s a gift to be in this time. And to have a sense of purpose, whether it be small or big, be so achievable. And so obvious when we look at it closely is truly a gift. And hopefully what you’ll take from psycho-politics and these series of episodes is the importance of questioning these first two principles for the rest of our lives, and to be able to hold it with a combination of humility and courage and joy and inspiration. And my prayer is that we join together in doing the very best that we can. Thank you very much.

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