Live your passion and the money will follow… or so the myth goes. If we ignore the thought that says, “I can’t afford it,” and replace it with the thought that says, “Trust the universe,” then all of our material desires will be fulfilled. Like a Burger King, we simply put our order in with the universe and the universe delivers. If we design the right vision board, repeat the right affirmations, “believe in” the universe, inheritances will show up just when they are needed (without losing anyone we know), bank errors will appear in our favor, and competitions that we didn’t know we entered will be won. The list of fortunes awaiting us is endless and endlessly delicious.
The idea is that the universe is a good parent who rewards its good children (with things) and punishes its bad ones with deprivation. We are good when we think only good thoughts and follow our dreams and successfully block out anything that hints of doubt, fear or “negativity.” In practice, this myth causes enormous suffering and is in fact false. Many people are doing exactly what they want to be doing with their life and yet never financially gain from it, not even a penny. The absence of capital gain is not a contradiction to the correctness of the path, as the myth-makers claim. However, those who are doing everything “right” and still not receiving cash windfalls or job offers by the dozen are left feeling inadequate and to blame for their inability to manifest material abundance. “I am supposed to get what I want from the universe! Everyone else does! What am I doing wrong that makes the universe not reward me?”
The dreams to dollars myth sets up an expectation that we should be rewarded financially for what we like to do. Says who? Why does the universe owe us this? What’s more, why is financial reward the gauge for whether or not what we are doing is the right path? Isn’t the fact that we enjoy what we are doing, that it interests, awakens or challenges us, enough of a reason to do it?
But perhaps most toxic about this myth is that it turns our attention away from the real reward that it is to live our passion, namely, to live our passion. What gets missed is the reward that is right here — already. The reward is the passion, the wanting, the intention, the experience itself. The destination is the process. We need not look any farther than right here for our passion’s value and legitimacy. The myth that we should be financially compensated for doing what we love vacuums the love from the process itself. So too, it burdens the experience with an expectation that it deliver something that the experience is not responsible for delivering. As a result, the expectation transforms something joyful into something disappointing and resent-able. Really, is it not a thing of wonder that we wake up in the morning at all, much less wake up, want to do something, and actually get to do it? Is that not remarkable enough?
We are constantly wishing for some larger entity that will reward us when we are good and punish us when we are bad. We so want to believe that some one, some thing, is in charge of us, and if we play by the rules it will all work out and we will get everything we want. We construct myriad larger than us, solid structures to feel safe and in control. Oh how we try to create a knowable order in all this mystery we call life. In the process of trying, however, we infantilize ourselves and reject life as it is happening.
The universe begins and ends within us. The structure we impose is a construction. Our rewards and punishments all exist right here in our own consciousness. In truth, we don’t need a larger anything to be fulfilled. In expecting a sign from the universe to assure us that we are on the right path, a cash reward for listening to our own wisdom, we are abandoning the very wisdom that we seek to validate. After all, what is the universe if not our wisdom — the wisdom we have mysteriously been gifted with?
Paradoxically, we reject and ignore the universe when we expect and demand that the universe appear to and for us. The gold stars that are supposed to appear are in fact already here — if we dare follow the glitter into ourselves and this very moment’s experience!