It's kind of exciting to buy some chocolate, but it is only a circumstantial fix to my existential crisis. I'd gone away thinking I was going to change the world. Back in London, nobody knows what I've done or understands its value. My parents aren't sure how to engage with me or what to tell their friends. My extended family is asking my parents if I've come to my senses. Such studies suggest an emotional connection with money. What's so fascinating about the Friths' study is that it hints at the symbolic nature of money: that we know that it can be used as a tool. It goes to show - as I'll demonstrate again and again in this article - that when we look at, handle, or even just think about a sum of money, powerful reactions are stirred. Some good, some bad, some downright weird. But before that we need to look back to where our relationship with money all starts. MONEY-MINDED CHILDREN When small children first encounter money, they see it as something to value for itself. They handle a sparkly coin or a nice, crisp banknote and take pleasure in that. They quickly grasp that these pieces of metal or paper are to be treasured and not discarded, that when a grandparent sneaks a coin into their hand (it's probably a note these days) it is something special, magical even. I'm not sure that feeling ever stops. As I walked from one end of that campus and back, I was in class once again. Forget about the lecture I was there to give; Even though I cannot explain exactly how it works, these are the words I heard, or felt, or both: Pay close attention. Listen carefully.

Let's look at what happens when fear is in charge. With fear in charge, you can never fully relax, let your guard down, be your true self. You can't open up because you are afraid of how people will respond if they were to meet the real you. When fear is in charge, you simply cannot take that chance. Fear will not allow honesty, fear despises spontaneity, and fear refuses to believe in you. There must be good in him. No one is all bad. He cannot possibly be that manipulative, or smart enough to mastermind the things he does. He doesn't mean what he says. He is just a product of his upbringing Things will be better next time. He can change. If I am perfect or love him enough he will change. If I can make him see how much he hurts me he will stop doing it. I know he loves me, he just doesn't know how to show it. My college friends are wondering if I'm going to get a real job. They're kind of like, You failed at being a monk? You failed at thinking about nothing? My biggest dream has been destroyed, and I feel the blow to my ego deeply. It is one of the toughest, most humiliating, crushing experiences of my life.

And one of the most important. Though the monks couldn't have been more supportive of me and my decision, leaving the ashram upended everything that made me confident in who I was and what I was doing. When my world was rocked, my self-esteem plummeted. Low self-esteem is the flip side of an inflated ego. If we're not everything, we're nothing. Certainly the novelist Henry Miller, in his non-fiction article, Money and How It Gets That Way, didn't think so. To have money in the bank is not quite the same thing, but to take money out of the bank is indisputably a great joy. Recently I was in a park with my friend's four-year-old daughter, Tilly. She'd just been given a sparkly, beaded purse that contained a few coins she'd saved. Every time a stranger passed, she waved her purse and shouted delightedly: Look - I've got lots of money! <a href=''>That</a> was not the point. <a href=''>She</a> had money, and money was magnificent. <a href=''>How</a> strongly she wanted to hold onto it was shown when, after half an hour on the swings and slides, she refused to return home with us. <a href=''>We</a> tried leaving her behind and telling her she'd be there on her own. <a href=''>We</a> tried threatening to report her to her mum when we got back to the house. <a href=''>Fear</a> may mean well, but it ruins everything by overprotecting you, insisting that you stay hidden and keep a low profile, promising that your time is coming. <a href=''>Fear</a> is bold, but insists that you be timid. <a href=''>Take</a> a chance and there will be hell to pay: fear will call on its dear friend, shame, to meet you on the other side of your risk taking, to tell you what you should not have done. <a href=''>Fear</a> will trip you, tackle you, smother you, do whatever it takes to cause you to hesitate, to stop you. <a href=''>In</a> this way fear is fearless. <br /><br /><a href=''>Fear</a> will remain in charge for as long as you let it. <a href=''>It</a> will never volunteer to step down, to relinquish its authority. <a href=''>Your</a> assignment is to live a life that is not ruled by fear. <a href=''>To</a> do this, you must be able to identify, at any given time, exactly what fear is telling you--or rather threatening you with--and to disobey its instructions. <a href=''>Every</a> morning when you awake, make a conscious decision to remain in charge of your own life. <a href=''>If</a> I pray about it things will change. <a href=''>He</a> really doesn't want to hurt me. <a href=''>He</a> just needs help. <a href=''>There</a> is no track record or evidence to back up any of those rationales. <a href=''>They</a> are all unfounded hopes and possibilities. <a href=''>If</a> the narcissist wanted to change, he's been given ample opportunity to do so. <a href=''>Hindsight</a> shows that he is neither willing nor committed to being any different or that he cares to examine his behavior. <a href=''>We</a> should all have faith, hope and an optimistic outlook about our lives. <a href=''>Abuse</a> victims should never stop believing in a better future. <a href=''>But</a> nothing will change until they are willing to acknowledge and accept the reality of their situation and then do the work required to overcome it. <a href=''>If</a> I was not this man of high intentions and deep spirituality, then I was a failure. <a href=''>If</a> I'm not great, I'm terrible. <a href=''>The</a> two extremes are equally problematic. <a href=''>Sometimes</a> it takes the deflated ego to show you what the inflated ego thought of itself. <a href=''>I</a> was humbled. <br /><br /><a href=''>HUMILITY:</a> THE ELIXIR OF THE EGO <a href=''>The</a> ego is two-faced. <a href=''>One</a> moment it tells us we're great at everything, and the next moment it tells us we're the worst. <a href=''>Either</a> way, we are blind to the reality of who we are. <a href=''>True</a> humility is seeing what lies between the extremes. <a href=''>We</a> tried playing a chasing game. <a href=''>Nothing</a> worked. <a href=''>She</a> wouldn't budge from the playground. <a href=''>Then</a> the little girl's aunt had an idea. <a href=''>She</a> grabbed Tilly's purse when she wasn't looking and ran off with it. <a href=''>She'd</a> only get her purse back if she came with us, Tilly was told. <a href=''>That</a> did the trick. <a href=''>Tilly</a> didn't know how much money she'd lost, still less what it would buy her, but it was her money and she valued it for its own sake. <a href=''>She</a> was starting her life-long relationship with money. <a href=''>It's</a> a relationship that becomes richer and more complex quite quickly. <a href=''>Fear</a> cannot occupy the space in which you stand. <a href=''>Fear</a> cannot force you out of that position of authority, but it can, if you let it, scare you away. <a href=''>Let</a> your personal motto beNO FEAR. Ask yourself each morning, and all through the day, what will NO FEAR mean for me today? Ask yourself the question.