True Wealth

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By Rene Lizada

Papa's table

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


"THE real measure of our wealth is how much we’d be worth if we lost all our money." -- Jowett

SOME people say that money changes a person. They are missing the point. Money does not change a person but rather money reveals a person. Give a person money and see what she does with it and you will know what she is like. Give her lots of money and surely you will know what she is really like. Money does not change, money reveals.

It is almost a source of amusement for me to see how people act when they have money. It becomes even more interesting when suddenly someone has money and this person starts to behave rather funny. Because in truth that would be the word, funny. I have seen so many people act funny when suddenly they have money.

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Some are arrogant, others think they are suddenly intelligent because they have money (as if wealth was a sign of intelligence!) Other people act profound as if wealth were a pre requisite for depth. Others are loud and are so grandiose. But to each his own. We all have needs to be fed and hungers to be nourished but sometimes I pray that let us not use people for our superficialities and tackiness.

We all have our insecurities that need to be addressed but I wish we would spare others from our shallowness. Or our despair, whichever way you may like to look at it.

But here is a question. Suppose you are wealthy. Suppose you have all the money you want or need. And you could buy anything you wanted. Things, influence, power, reputation and all that. You would probably be sitting on top of the world not because of you, but because of your money.

You probably would feel smug and invincible. You would think, I have all that I need and want and no one can touch me. I can do whatever I want, buy anything I desire, travel anywhere I wish, eat anything I hunger for. Pretty good life wouldn't you think. And then suddenly you lost everything.
In a whisper, all your money is gone and you come crumbling down from your mountaintop and you are alone. (Money, or its loss is a guarantee that you will also lose so called friends.)

Question now is, what is left of you? What is left for you? In this, you find out for yourself, indeed what am I really worth? What would you be worth if you lose all your money? Interesting question. Perhaps even more interesting would be your answers.

If you placed your worth in money then I am pretty sure, you would consider yourself bankrupt and rotten because after all your worth depends on what your money can do for you. You are your money and that is all there is to it. If you have been the kind of person who flaunts your money then you will be lost because there is no more money to throw away. There is no more money to use for your insecurities. You can no longer show off or make grand entrances.

No more money means you are no longer intelligent or wise. Your profundity you realize was based on your bank account. And not who you are.

You are no longer wise, you are just loud. You are alone with yourself and there is no one else. You are alone in your room, in your darkness, in yourself. And what do you see there?

Without the flash and the flair, without the power and the pomp. Indeed what do you see? Stripped of everything, what are you? Who are you? What is your worth and what is your meaning when all that you think you could have forever slips away in the night? What do you see when you are all alone?

True wealth is the richness of our souls and the generosity of our hearts. It is the self that we seek, the true self that remains hidden because of the selfishness of our false selves.

True wealth is the detachment from earthly desires. True wealth is what our souls seek for its fulfillment and realization. It is the pearl and not the shell. That is our true worth unless of course we have exchanged it for the hypocrisy of appearance, the falsehood of money and the fleeting masks of popularity.

Indeed, what are you really worth when you look deep into your soul?

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 19, 2014.

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