for Men

Understanding Belief Systems That Bind Us To Materialism

The recent terrorist attacks in the United States have awakened a collective yearning for meaning in our lives. Watching the Twin Towers tumble we began to realize the preciousness of life, the inevitability of change and the illusion of the material world. Although this event was terribly tragic, it did help us to begin to confront our mortality and focus on our spiritual needs.

Still however, our consumer driven economy pushes us to spend more and the media is used to promote this message. Corporate America has relied on both work ethic and the media to motivate the labor force. In our drive to produce and consume more with ever increasing efficiency, we not only harm our external environment but we hurt ourselves as well.

We end up getting trapped into a certain material lifestyle where we feel a need to compete with our neighbors. This causes us to run faster and faster on the treadmill just to keep up. We do not allocate the time or resources for personal growth because we are spending to feed a lifestyle. Many people trade themselves for their self-image, thereby depleting their personal assets in the process. As a result America’s number one health problem is stress, costing the U.S. economy $300 billion per year.

We have become a society addicted to our credit cards and the life it promises. Now you can afford that new Saab 900 with just $1000 down and they’ll spread payments over 60 months.

Is materialism the American dream? Maybe not. Freedom is the American dream--it was this ideal that the founders of this country were willing to die for. They were the elite of society and they risked all their material possessions for an ideal. Freedom also attracted immigrants by the millions, people who were willing to face the uncertainty of change for a better life. If people think he American dream is materialism, they’re going to be miserable.

Business decisions, including personal financial spending have three components:

  • physical
  • psychological
  • spiritual

Before we make a spending decision, take a job offer, or join a social club we should determine how each component affects our decision-making so we can determine the right course of action that is appropriate for our situation.

In the articles that follow I will guide you through physical, psychological and spiritual exercises that, if used regularly, can lead to financial freedom.

You will feel empowered once you have broken the chains that bind you to the ever escalating, insatiable desire for more. When you say Enough is Enough you will realize the power you have to overcome your reality. You will appreciate the abundance of your life. You can achieve your financial goals without having to take on a second job. You will be able to experience your child’s development and growth, and perhaps even find the time for a hobby or charity.

Your life is so much more than the accumulation of material possessions. If you can learn to redefine “wealth” as an “abundance of freedom,” then who has accumulated more wealth than the person who is free and living a life of purpose? Wealth can be defined this way! Wealth is more an issue of how you look at life, than the things you possesses. Financial healing is available to all of us, depending upon how we look at life. Therefore, the skills and techniques that will follow have as much to do with your view of life as your life’s possessions.

Additional tools that may be lacking in your belief systems will be presented and you can consider expanding your horizons. By demonstrating dysfunctional responses using humor you may feel less threatened when certain belief systems are challenged. Please try to be open-minded and consider change in a more objective manner.

The dysfunction in our personal financial lives creates injury and harm to family members and ultimately ourselves. By highlighting fictional characters who are not pursuing an authentic life or living a life without meaning, or expecting to be served, we can begin to uncover belief systems, that may not be serving our greater good.

By demonstrating dysfunctional spending and personal business decisions in a non-threatening way, you can take a step back from the ego and consider change in a more objective manner.

The characters presented have certain archetypal characteristics (based upon the ancient science of Ayurveda). In the appendix specific characteristics, both physical, emotional and financial that correspond to each character are discussed. Only by honoring the differences that make us unique can we develop a financial program that addresses all of your needs. You may find that your personality spans a number of these characters or perhaps you can identify strongly with one.

The key to financial freedom is in understanding your strengths and honoring your weakness and past pain. The past is preserved in what we call our “Karma” or “Karmic Software”. Once identified, we can begin to develop a program that can motivate you, and allow you to enjoy the process of growth and change.

  • In this chapter we discussed the belief systems that tie us to a materialistic vision of reality. In the next section we will use humor to begin to uncover the past that has been buried in your Karmic Software. Once the pain has been honored and acknowledged financial healing can begin and we will be empowered to begin to challenge some of our materialistic belief systems.

© 2010, Bruce Eric Van Horn

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If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health. - Hippocrates

Author, CPA, MBA and yoga instructor Bruce Van Horn founded Yoga for Business, Inc., a company devoted to organizational and individual wellness. He presents a daily Yoga Workout routine that provides a complete physical, mental and spiritual workout. He is the author of Yoga for Prostate Health and Yoga for Men, designed for all levels of experience with yoga.. He has renamed (Asanas) positions in Yoga using terms from business to help you identify with the movement and focus your attention. He is the Chair of the Advisory Board for the Center for Complimentary Medicine at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Bruce also leads a volunteer yoga program designed for cancer patients and healthcare workers at Beth Israel Medical Center. He lives outside New York with his wife Michelle who is a Reiki Master. Bruce has two daughters who have asked that he refrain from headstands at the town pool. His website is If you have any questions, feel free to write: E-Mail.

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