Ontological relationship with money

Your Ontological Relationship with Money

This week, we will study a subject many of you have heard about, but may have questions about.  It’s called ontology.  I’ll explain how I fell in love with the ontological context while practicing as a licensed clinical psychologist. Then we’ll look at the differences between psychology and ontology when we look at your relationship with money, and we’ll finish with a homework assignment for you, which I promise will be easy. 

This article will show you how to take an ontological viewpoint of your relationship with money. You might be wondering what I mean by an ontological viewing point. So, let’s look at it this way. You and I know we can have many thoughts, feelings, judgments, evaluations,  attitudes, states of mind, points of view, and body sensations. And, for the most part, we can recognize them. We can tell when we’re happy, and we can tell when we’re sad. We can tell when we like something or don’t like something. If you’re like me, when I was practicing as a psychologist,  it’s our job to help people deal with their feelings, heal from trauma, and express what they need to express.

There’s a different way of looking at life. In this particular way of looking, it’s not about learning how to think a different way.  It’s not about learning how to feel a different way. What it’s about is called a Way of Being. 

I was talking with a minister friend about Ontology, which is all about Being. I was at a loss to see what it really meant. I’d read Heidegger, a philosopher interested in Ontology, but his writing was too complicated to understand.

I asked my friend what he understood about Ontology. He said:  “That’s easy!” Of course, I was skeptical. He continued, “ Ontology is one of the four branches of metaphysics.”

He explained there are four branches:

  • Psychology studies our thoughts, feelings, body sensations, attitudes, states of mind, points of view, and so on. You can measure these with tests and indexes.
  • Ontology is the study of the nature of Being. There is nothing you can measure here. In other words, your thoughts and feelings can be measured, but Being rises above all that. It teaches you to observe your thoughts, judgments, and body sensations. In that observation gap, you can focus on something else. 
  • Theology is the study of the various ways of knowing God.
  • Cosmology is the study of Creation and the Universe.

Each branch has its own Rules of Engagement. For example, Psychology seeks to understand. Ontology seeks to observe and contribute. Theology and Cosmology have rules that go beyond what is immediately observable in everyday life.

I was hooked!  I looked further into the nature of Ontology. In another article, I’ll describe the Hall of Mirrors I ran into one day that convinced me that we can’t measure Ontology no matter how hard we try.

However, just because we can’t measure it doesn’t mean we can’t use it to influence what we focus upon to live the life we are meant to live.

Let’s look for a moment at you and Ontology. Since we have both Psychological and Ontological natures, and since Ontology only seeks to contribute, if you look at your life, you’ll undoubtedly discover that you were happiest when you knew that you had made a difference to someone else, your community or a movement that’s important to you. 

What was your experience when you saw the delight in your child’s eyes because of something you did? Or if you don’t have children, think of people close to you whose life you somehow made better because of something you’d done.

By now, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with your relationship with money. Let’s connect the dots.

Let’s first look at a psychological approach to your relationship with money. As you do this, please look at the energy from these questions. 

Your Psychological relationship with money:

  • What are my worries, doubts, and fears about money?
  • What is my history with money?
  • What are the dynamics, motives, and family patterns affecting my relationship with money?
  • What are my money blocks?
  • Where have I sabotaged myself with money in the past? 
  • How can I become more comfortable with money?

What’s your experience as you look at these questions? If you’re like most of us, you’ve entertained one or more of them in the past. Or even presently.  Please don’t worry about this! It’s normal and natural to worry about money. By normal, I mean it’s the norm. By natural, I mean it comes naturally to us to have a psychological relationship with money. 

Let’s look at Ontological questions regarding your relationship with  money:

  • What matters most to me in life, and how might my relationship with money support that?
  • How might what I’m currently going through regarding money contribute to the lives of others?
  • Regarding money, what am I grateful for right here and now?
  • What are my current lessons regarding my relationship with money? How will these lessons help me grow?
  • How might I wake up and become more conscious with my relationship with money?
  • Regarding money, what is a game worth playing and a goal worth playing for?

What’s your energy like when you look at these questions? Many people report a sigh of relief that there’s nothing wrong. Quite the contrary, you might experience an opening for possibilities regarding your relationship with money. 

An Ontological approach has us looking forward, while the Psychological stance is looking back at our life. This in no way denigrates the Psychological approach because some people have had an authentic traumatic experience with money, which needs to be healed before moving forward.

And there you have it: Ontology tends to go forward, while Psychology tends to look back. I know this is a generalization, but I’m giving you the briefest taste of the differences between these two domains. In its purest form, a professional coach will support clients to create the present and the future that supports them to go for their goals and dreams while learning from whatever missteps they may have had.

Back to you! Experiment with Ontological questions.

  • Look at one of the six Ontological questions above.
  • Print that question on a three-by-five card. Make sure it’s in your handwriting; don’t do this on a computer you can print out. It must have your energy and intentionality.
  • Look at that question each time you turn on your computer. It’s helpful to attach it to your computer screen to gaze at it while you work with clients or write notes or emails.
  • See if simply having that question where your brain sees it produces some opening for you and your relationship with money.
  • You can even share the questions with a friend or family member so that you both see the impact of allowing your brain to become interested in who you are Ontologically.

Let me know what happens!

See you next time,

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