About Time: You Became a Buddhist MillionaireBy Matt Jardine
For many of us, life will never be the same after Covid-19. But It could also be one the greatest things that has ever happened to us too.
Last week a memory popped up in my FB feed from a year ago to the day. I was typing the concluding sentence to my latest book How to be a Buddhist Millionaire. Clearly, a year ago, I wasn’t writing it with the Corona crisis in mind, but with the fallout from the crisis looming ever closer, it is more relevant now than ever.
As Angelica Malin, Editor-in-Chief of About Time, says in her heartfelt Editor’s Letter On Kindness in Times of Crisis: “People are going to have their whole worlds turned upside down. People will lose jobs, family members, money, dreams, relationships will breakdown.”
Sometimes though it is necessary for the ground to shake beneath our feet to inspire us to action.
Every one of us know the lure of routine that turns our heads from good intention: mindlessly flicking between social media sites in search of likes; an automatic glass of wine to forget the day; numbing out in front of yet another Netflix series that concludes much the same as the last.
Who of us has not, in one breath, promised ourselves to avoid the status quo and toppled headfirst with the next?
In 2007 I walked a Buddhist pilgrimage. 1,400 km of brutal Japanese terrain in 30 days. I learnt many things. One of them was that all things change. How we approach that change forms the rest of my book.
I interviewed eleven people for the book, people I refer to as ‘Buddhist Millionaires’. (For the record you neither have to be a Buddhist nor a millionaire to be the aforementioned, although you can, it’s your choice.)
Three of the interviewees that most stood out were women: Sheri Lennon, an early-years teaching specialist carving out a parallel career as a children’s book illustrator; Selina Lamy, a former Vice President charged with tackling financial crime who chose to become a life coach, and Cheree Strydom a South African country singing star who fulfils her dreams of song and stage while running a young and busy family.
These women had all taken the brave decision to put their passions at the heart of their lives and trust that it would work out financially, irrespective of the doubters who said they couldn’t do it. In doing so they qualify as ‘Buddhist Millionaires’.
If given the gift of a million pounds, most people would not be doing the work or living the lives they currently have. Indeed, it appears that as many as seven out of ten of us are not leaping out of bed to embrace the work day ahead. Try asking the million-pound question at the next social gathering you attend (when we come out of the other side of the current lockdown) and test these numbers for yourself.
You’ll be surprised. The three woman I mentioned are part of the thirty percent who would most certainly return to their work, albeit with pockets stuffed full of cash.
But please don’t worry if you are not yet one of them. With the help of this crisis and my book you can.
You see, the hardest part in creating your ideal life is escaping the jaws of comfort that nips at our ankles, dragging us back to the sofa or to a job we’d rather leave. Most people fall at this crucial first hurdle.
But thanks to Covid-19, we’ll have our backs thrown against the wall. We’ll find ourselves in totally new circumstances. And this is where we’ll shine.
At the heart of Buddhist Millionaireship is not a fancy economic model or religious strategy, but something much more innate. With all superficial crutches removed, we will be forced to dig deep and mine something that can never be taken from us: our ‘invisible currencies’.
We’ll remember how naturally beautiful we are without the make-up we might be unable to afford. We’ll rekindle gorgeous relationships we’d been too busy at work to tend; we’ll find an inner resourcefulness we never knew we had but a closed B&Q demanded.
What’s more, in the silence following Corona, we’ll be able to hear a wonderful voice that can at last be fully heard. A voice from deep within.
And when you hear it, you’ll know: you’ll know that you’ve always had what it takes to recreate yourself anew. You’ll know that you’ll never have to return to mediocrity, unless, of course, you want to. You’ll know that you are ‘enough’ in each and every way.
And when this happens, thanks to this pandemic, you’ll know that you have become a Buddhist Millionaire and that life, thankfully, will never be the same again.