Death & Suffering : Two Hard Truths About Life That Nobody Likes To Talk About

How can talking about our suffering & about death help us in spiritual growth? Why is it important to embrace dying? Read this powerful post.

The topic of death is a taboo in the modern world. We refrain from bringing it up, and the people that do are considered morbid. The internet likes to call jokes about death and suffering as ‘dark humor’.

We want to believe that if we don’t talk about dying, it won’t happen.

We live under the illusion that everyone is going to live to see their grandkids get married, and that dying will be easy when it happens to us. But very few are actually that privileged. Then how has that even become a standard?

In spite of all these notions, with some unpleasant twists of fate, most of us have faced a close encounter with death. Either for ourselves, or for a loved one.

Recently, one of my clients lost her parent, and reached out to me from a place of heartbreak and confusion.

She had been spiritually inclined throughout her adult life, and was a wonderful yoga teacher that had religiously taught the very self-soothing practices that were no longer helping her anymore.

You see, no matter how spiritual we become, we are not enlightened (yet). And as every enlightened master has taught us, the way to lasting peace is only through the acceptance of death.

Not just in the literal and obvious sense, of course. But also in observing the dying of a breath, for instance.

Our breath comes and goes – it has a start point, a lifecycle and an end point. Similarly, being able to observe the dying of simpler life forms like flowers and fishes. Gracefully learning to let relationships die too, when the time comes.

So and so forth, we must keep observing and accept the impermanent nature of everything around us.

We haven’t mastered any of that yet. And unfortunately, it’s not our fault. Because we’ve been raised in a world where talking about death is NOT common.

This post has been sitting as a draft for months for the very same reason, that I don’t think my audience would enjoy reading it. But, as I do for all things, I am stepping out of the comfort zone and shedding some light on these morbid topics which nobody likes to talk about.

Through a series of questions, let’s acknowledge the duality and embrace the confusion.

Why Is It So Tough To Talk About Suffering & Death?

Death is the yang of life. That dark, shadow aspect which we’re unwilling to face.

But, reading, writing and talking about death is crucial for all of us. Because, the underlying emotions which reveal themselves to us during such morbid conversations make us uncomfortable.

Nobody teaches us how to handle crying, or how to deal with anger when it arises, which are emotions that come as a byproduct of any kind of loss. We’ve been taught that these are ‘bad things’ to feel.
woman wearing black camisole

In fact, many children are raised with terrifying parenting practices, such as being told not to cry or they’d be beaten up. Or being shamed for crying. In the same way, parents practice grounding or admonishing their kids for expressing anger.

This is why so many people from this generation, and even the ones from before need to learn reparenting and healing these subconscious wounds that come from long periods of locking in their emotions.

You may have noticed how shaken people around you (and maybe yourself too) get for days on end, when they hear news of someone’s demise under “unforeseen circumstances”. For the same reason, so many of us stay away from the news because we don’t want to be that in tune with reality.

We don’t want to deepen our suffering.

When you don’t know how to feel sad, you definitely won’t know what to do when sadness becomes grief.

You step into the unknown, experiencing this volcano of emotions ready to erupt! But because you don’t channel it properly, it lead to all sorts of physical reactions within, like your gut tightening, chest hurting, or even a nervous breakdown.

middle aged woman crying with tears, grieving, self care, acceptance of death, suffering as a part of life

Overtime, many people build anxiety and chronic stress from the emotions they took on but didn’t release.

It is difficult to talk about these things, because we haven’t been taught how to. Which leads me to the next question.


How do you normalize talking about such grim topics? And with who?

I have two tips for you.

One, is what I mentioned in the onset of this article. You don’t have to emphasize on the actual dying of a person.

You can have conversations around the impermanence of say, a flower bouquet and why gifting it could become an opportunity for the receiver to realize the nature of living and dying.

blooming flowers in metal bucket, spring, life and death, birth and rebirth

Similarly, you can talk about how interconnected everything is, how karma works to bring things full circle, for instance.

Second, start with your safety net.

At some point, I discussed the elephant in the room, the “organ donation” conversation with my family and then, with my husband.

With gentle and continuous reflection on this, we have been slowly cultivating the awareness and making it more acceptable to talk about such things. Even if it was unpleasant at first.

Such topics can appear as shock-value at first. So be gentle, but be deliberate. Find ways to have general discussions, instead of making it personal right off the bat.

If you don’t have somebody to talk to, you can always reach out to me.


How Can You Make Sense of Death? Especially Life After Dying?

Where’s the proof? And there are so many conflicting theories out there. Which one do you believe?

There are a couple of takeaways as an answer to this question.

#1 – Spirituality doesn’t always make sense.

That might sound less reassuring.

But it is your call to come forth with the attitude of bhakti yoga, of surrender, and to not come from a place of mistrust.

The ego-mind wants us to believe that we are entitled to the answers. But think of it from a different perspective.

If you read a really complex book for a subject that you have limited knowledge of, would you understand it? Unlikely. It would take a lot of time to get used to the terminology, understand even the smallest inferences and grasp what’s being shared.

confused, spirituality isnt always easy to understand

How many times have you gone back to a book that you’ve already read and discovered something new? The information was always there, but it only made sense when you were ready for it. In many cases, we may never be fully ready.

And that’s not a limitation that we need to feel bad about – it’s the truth that we need to come to terms with to keep our ego-mind in check.

The fact is, nothing is hidden from us. But sometimes, we are incapable of comprehending the bigger truths of life because we aren’t prepared to understand them yet.

As a consequence, we face frustration, and other strange emotions. However, there is a way to educate ourselves and to tap into this knowledge. I will be sharing a list of resources in the next section, to help you make more sense of the suffering, and death.

#2- Just because we can’t see it or remember it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

The logical mind is limiting – we’ve already established that.

But just look around you. Look at the restaurant you go to, or a movie you watch. You see the end result. You don’t sit with every chef and prepare the meals, or assist the crew in their giant production? And yet, you are able to experience the outcome and reap the rewards.

You are served on a golden platter, metaphorically speaking. But there is a LOT that goes on behind the scenes.

man holding clapper board

There is no dearth of learning opportunities for us here, on Earth, and every time we learn something new, we surprise ourselves by our own talent and potential.

Then why do we question the existence of spirituality – something that explains the very existence of all things, going on since eternity, towards eternity?

Isn’t it likely that ALL of this is not random, rather carefully scoped and divinely planned?

The spiritual realm is like an iceberg, where we only see the tip (that too, if only we look carefully). Most of the wonder is carefully masked away, accessible only for those that are willing to work towards the sacredness.

How can you begin to work towards this sacredness and experience the deeper truths for yourself? To answer that question, let me take you to the next reflection.

#3- The Truth doesn’t need to be searched for. It is already there within you (and me).

We know when we are not giving our best in life. We can sense when somebody is lying. And we intuitively know many things that we can’t explain why.

Related read: Differentiating between ego and intuition

In the same fashion, the very essence of who we are does not need to be learned from a book. We are not meant to ‘become’ spiritual. We are merely meant to unlearn everything that has gotten in the way of us experiencing our spirituality.

Here are three solid tips to help you find your spiritual truth.

  • Take a moment, or two, to pause at the wonder of the cosmos and to dwell on its mystical laws.

Just because you haven’t experienced something yet, or because you can’t remember that you signed up for this human experience, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. You need to work to believe in it- not deny it.

And most importantly, do what you can to embrace death.

NOT run away from it.
NOT call it a taboo.
And definitely not let your logic tell you that you’re too young to bother.

That is the only true way we can embrace life and create a distance from this suffering.


Resources To Help You Embrace Life

I have spent the past decade reading through books that emphasize on the need to accept suffering and death. Here are the ones that really stood out for me, and how they will help you too.

#1 – Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

This is a phenomenal and practical approach to the preparation of dying. Written by a renowned doctor, this book takes you into the deeper truths about suffering and death, teaching you how to look at it as a part of the process of human life, and not as something you should be ignoring.

There is no age at which you need to read this book, but read it you must. It will not only help you live a better thought-of life, but help you treat every life with much more respect and preparedness.

It also talks deeply about building mental strength to support the dying of loved ones, and how we can make it easier for everyone to come to terms with the cycle. Profound, and eye-opening reading material, for sure.


#2 – The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche

Within the first few chapters, you are understanding the significance of this conversation through stories like a student learning to mourn the loss of his guru, and a daughter shedding her body before her father, leaving him to grieve as he worked towards his own enlightenment.

The book beautifully takes you deeper into accepting death as a part of life, and ways you can detach yourself from the experience, regardless of who it is happening to.

This book is specially meaningful and a guide for those that resonate deeply with the Tibetan beliefs and ways of being.


#3 – Death by Sadhguru

This has to be my favorite books by Sadhguru, because of its metaphysical complexity. He isn’t beating around the bush with this subject, and he isn’t holding back from talk to you about things like the afterlife, karmic debts, restless spirits, reincarnation and so forth.

He also extensively talks about the myths and actual science for funeral ceremonies, and why certain practices can help a dying person be at more ease.

The truth is, that when you acclimatize yourself to such texts, it becomes easier to look at death, not as a taboo but as a fact. And the more you look at it as such, you are able to come to terms with it without shock.


#4 – Kathopanisad by Swami Chinmayananda

If we went back in time and glimpsed at what ancient scriptures teach us from the Eastern side of the world, we would realize how off-track we have come from the truth. Kathopanisad is a dialogue with death, and a fascinating reflection on the meaning of life.

This is one of the simpler Upanishads, which helps us explore the different metaphysical questions about the soul, afterlife, karma, enlightenment and so on, through a gentle conversation between a young boy, Naciket and the God of Death, Yama.

This is a meaningful text, explaining the fundamentals of a soul’s journey with a story.


#5 – When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

The most recent reads, I enjoyed this book for the modern and no-BS ways in which Pema Chodron brings our shadow self to the Light. I spent weeks reading through her different practices, and some of them have become a part of my weekly silent retreats.

This is an essential book which talks about all kinds of suffering, loss and death from a Buddhist philosophy. While other books are theoretical in many ways, this one gives you the meditations, mindfulness practices and other self-reflection tools to start shifting your whole experience around pain.


Something to watch and learn from

I also highly recommend watching the movie Coco, which beautifully animates the way ancestors move onto the afterlife and await their connection with us in the real world. It helps you look at the concepts more visually, and gently.


Concluding Thoughts

I haven’t fully accepted these things myself, which is why I am sharing better resources to deepen your journey as I go through them myself.

One thing is clear though – we need to unlearn many ideas about life and death. These ideas are making us delusional, disconnected and causing us to live in denial.

As soon as we start looking at our belief system as our own devil’s advocate, we will heal more rapidly and realize the Truth. By closing our eyes to the truths around us, we are closing ourselves from the ultimate Truth about life.

Happy healing, dear one!


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5 Books About Relationships That Will Help You Heal Your Soul Contracts

Here are my reading recommendations for books about relationships that will help you heal your soul contracts and walk towards oneness.

It’s not normal for us to talk about soul contracts beyond the idea of soulmates. But as you progress in your spiritual journey, your understanding evolves. For me, my ability to look at day-to-day interactions differently is largely credited to powerful books about relationships which I read during different phases of my life.

This is important for each one of us to do, because the biggest portion of our healing comes through the daily interactions and dialogues we have.

Some people continually trigger us, and some continually love and support us. But ALL of the people that we meet help us heal in some way.

Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it. If this is a new idea for you, watch it work in your life. To support your learning, I’ve put together a list of my go-to reading resources.

Books About Relationships That Will Help Heal Your Soul Contracts

These are classics, and you might have already heard a bit about them. But here are my favorite books about relationships, which bring awareness towards different ways we can heal our soul contracts and walk on the path of oneness.

Hope you enjoy this blend of spirituality and psychology!

#1 – Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss

I first heard a profound lecture by Caroline Myss on Youtube, on the subject of soul contracts, which really helped me solidify my spiritual foundation and start looking at relationships from a higher perspective. Later on, I bought this book and took my learning deeper.

Through her book, Caroline beautifully simplifies our soul’s blueprint, and how to analyze one’s behavior through the various Jungian archetypes.

When you read Sacred Contracts, take your time to absorb and self-reflect on the different ideas that you learn. You can REALLY experience transformation through this book and understand the karmic lessons between you and the people around you.


#2 – Destiny of Souls by Dr Michael Newton

This is hands down one of the finest books I’ve read in the metaphysics space. Not just to help you understand your life purpose and to provide insights on how your soul guides support you, but to also teach you the valuable life lessons expected from each of us at the time of birth; and to empower you to take back the reign of your life.

A large part of Dr Michael Newton’s work explores the decision-making that happens in the afterlife, and how we pick different soulmates, friends and foes to help our soul’s evolution.

I recommend this book especially to those that have lost a loved one and want to know that they’re doing okay after leaving the body.

Of course there’s a LOT to take away from this dense metaphysical research. But if you’re interested in understanding the mindset of those that aren’t here in the physical realm, I highly recommend reading this book.


#3 – Men Are From Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray

Necessary for everyone that keeps getting irritated or having arguments with people around them (*raises hand too*). While this doesn’t use “soul contracts” as the focal point, it helps you really understand the duality in relations.

Though written for couples trying to understand and connect with each other, I found this book a profound introspection of a variety of dynamics, from all walks of life.

This book explains how every individual has male AND female energy; going on to explain the traits of each energy type (masking them under the name of man or woman, but also having started with the disclaimer that the ‘roles may be reversed’).

The kind of behaviors explained are not limited to a spouse or partner – the theories work for coworkers, parents, children and even strangers!

Thorough and exhaustive, it will prevent all your “small fights” from adding up; overtime growing peaceful like still waters altogether.

And, in the truest sense, this book taught me about balance, compassion and mindful cohabitation.


#4 – The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

What started as a fun online quiz for me and my husband, became a game-changer in our equation.

The crux begins with – you don’t need to love people the way YOU want to be loved. Love people the way THEY want to be loved.

It then goes on to explain how, with 5 categories called Love Languages.

I’d say that start by taking the free online quiz here. This book unfolds the possibility that we can love people in different ways, and that no particular way is right or wrong. It’s just different.

So, as you begin to observe different love languages in the people you interact with, you will learn how to show up in relationships without seeming like a people-pleaser or bending over backwards. And, they will feel like you get them!

Eventually, it encourages you to dispel the surface-level duality and go deeper into unconditional love. This book relates well to soul contracts in that it helps you understand different ways in which love exists in the world, and enhances your own expression.


#5 – The Dance of Connection by Dr Harriet Lerner

Last on my list, but a strong book that reflects on the different dynamics we have in our relationships. Especially with people that challenge us. And how we can work to shift these dynamics, merely by working towards the way we communicate.

Dr Harriet shares eye-opening stories from her client work and reveals how we hold ourselves back and close our heart. How certain shifts helped people save a marriage, or actually decide to end it! Again, not a book just for couples – there are reflections for everyone.

Through her book, you learn to express your emotions differently and work on some of the difficult conversations that can eventually save a relationship.

I was inspired by her book last year, and compelled to write my own reflections on ways we are being inauthentic around loved ones.


Concluding Thoughts

There are incredible insights in store for us, if we are willing to learn. We may not be able to figure it all out by ourselves. But reading such books about relationships can really help us heal and focus on self-development versus being so shaken by external events.

Enjoyed reading these books? Let me know! Here are some more books I recommend reading for your growth.

Happy reading 🙂


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The Abundance Mindset: Can Money and Spirituality Go Together?

Can money and spirituality go together? Is money bad for your spiritual journey? Read this practical approach to the abundance mindset.

It’s a new year, and you’d think that most of our money problems are gone by now. But as is true for many things, we haven’t learned how to balance money and spirituality – we are often picking one over the other. I’ve been doing this myself, in many ways, which is why I want to talk about the abundance mindset, and how you can experience more contentment.

Different Ways Your Relationship With Money Might Be Blocking Your Growth

Let’s address the different money blocks we have, and how we can adapt a more holistic, mindset of abundance.

Note that you may not relate to all the ways of thinking below, but if there are areas which stand out to you, focus on those as potential spaces to heal your relationship with money.

#1 – You might think money is BAD.

Of course, nobody admits it. But we have been rewired to believe this. How?

This will subconsciously appear in your behavior as feeling guilty every time you spend ‘too much’ on something that wasn’t essential. Or, being unable to charge a fair price to others for your services (something even more common in the spiritual space).

money and spirituality

In essence, many of us are taught to believe that wanting money is materialistic and shallow, and we begin to act out of that mindset.

However, the idea that money is bad for us is a winded-up interpretation of why spiritual seekers renounce their lifestyles and setup such stringent self-restraint parameters.

Money and all material pleasures are temporary in nature. They’re just as essential as we make them to be.

For instance, the recent turn in events has taught us that we can still adapt and thrive with less parties, less shopping and less traveling.

However, most people act throughout their lives on autopilot. In such cases, it’s easy for us to become too tunnel-visioned and look at the material world as our only reality.

At the end of the day, money is energy, just like the things you buy with that money. And energy is neutral. It’s what intention we apply to it, that makes energy beneficial or counterintuitive to our growth.

Are you using that money to take care of your needs? Or to fuel the endless flame of wants? Think about it.


#2 – You Might Think It Requires Hard Work To Earn Something.

We’ve already established that just like everything else, money is energy. We are willing to spend a lot of energy in the form of time and labor, but we are unwilling to open up to receiving the energy back.

Don’t believe me? Here are some examples.

  • You feel shy or say no to people when they give you a “gift”,
  • Random acts of kindness towards you make you question “what did I do to deserve this”,
  • Compliments make you awkward (but secretly happy),
  • Relationships require a lot of hard work, and the easy ones are probably not going to last so you end up sabotaging them,
  • You’re constantly putting in blood and sweat to make things work in your life.
man in black crew neck t shirt drinking yellow liquid from plastic bottle
Money is just one form of abundance. And just like money, at the receiving end, we often question whether we worked hard enough to really deserve something (or someone). This is a simple way to realize that we are imbalanced and have an unhealthy relationship with money.

If we keep questioning our efforts, we will automatically become workaholics, trying to overcompensate by putting in more energy than we allow to come our way.

As you do this, you end up working twice as hard as everyone and (usually) being low on time, low on satisfaction and low on self-esteem. You are basically fighting against yourself, and blocking your own destiny.

Ask yourself why you deserve so little, and what would happen if you really gave permission to live a more fulfilling and abundant life.


#3 – You Think Money Is The Deciding Factor For Success.

This is me. Or rather, it was. When this blog began to kick-off after a few years, I started worrying more than I should have, about the success of it.

Ironically, I wasn’t doing any of this for the money, but for some reason, I was ingrained with the belief that I wasn’t successful if I wasn’t earning six or seven figures.

This is where the abundance mindset can be our saving grace. In what other ways are you growing in life? For me, some of these looked like –

  • More and more people trusting me with their stories,
  • Amazing online mentors that keep popping up and helping the blog grow with their awesome advice,
  • Higher quality collaborations and more diverse opportunities,
  • Getting more genuine feedback for the work I was doing,
  • Noticing a momentum in my own growth, as I continue to push through my limiting beliefs about myself,
  • Being able to serve a bigger demographic from around the world and learning from such a diverse group of people,
  • And so on.
The fact is, our soul cannot be satisfied with merely financial support. We crave community, we crave love, we crave the human touch in whatever we are doing.

If all your monetary needs were taken care of, would you still be so fixated on money as a defining factor for success? Or would you be able to sit back and appreciate all the other signs of growth that have followed you?

The abundance mindset encourages us to look beyond the green bills, and be grateful for every form of support that the Universe is sending to us. What are some of the ways in which the Universe has been cheering you on? Think about it.


4 Practical Tips to Adopt The Abundance Mindset & Heal Your Relationship With Money

Perhaps the ancient people understood the law of cause and effect much better than we do, having developed the barter system so long ago. For instance, you could buy a pack of rice and give the seller a tin of milk in return. Eventually, more formal ways were decided to equalize the exchange of material goods.

As consumerism began spreading, and then exploding, it became imperative to run the rat race in order to fit into society.

happy women joying after shopping in store

There were only a select set of people who could stay happy with very little. The others had become caught up, and chasing the material goods was so inherent, that we all forgot why were doing this in the first place.

Long story short, we’ve been living in a time where there’s an excess of all things, and a shortage of time. That’s why, once again, we are being asked to become picky about what our time is worth. Would you rather spend that hour watching a chic-flick, or reading the latest Obama book? Both choices are tempting, but the time to do them is limited.

Just like time can be an asset or a liability, so can money. The renunciate, a monk doesn’t want to bother about making everyday choices and handle more emotional baggage. And hence she frees herself of all worldly shackles.

How can you be a modern monk and renounce materialism in a practical way? By freeing yourself of certain decisions. Adapt the renunciate’s mindset with a win-win approach. Here are some ideas worth pondering upon.

Tip #1 – Minimizing time & money spent on your outer appearance.

Businessmen like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have fixed wardrobes, wearing the same attire day-in and day-out to save themselves the hassle of worrying about what to wear, and how often to buy new clothes for their wardrobe.

This isn’t very different from what any monk does. The less you invest in shopping and picking your daily wardrobe, the more time you have to focus on your higher goals.

minimalism, modern monk, money and spirituality can go hand in hand

Tip #2 – Minimize time & money spent on consumption.

I don’t just mean food. I mean information too. The more we input, the more we are forced to output.

apps blur button close up

Our ability to actually process information, to digest and internalize it has become limited, thus robbing us form the present moment.

The less you consume, the more time you have to focus on what matters in the long run. You are no longer scattered, and you are able to concentrate your energy onto actually achieving the goals you have set.

And of course, you spend less. 🙂


Tip #3 – Understand the Law of Abundance.

If we have needs, the Universe will take care of them. That’s something that we need to grasp. How? Understand the law of abundace.

The first aspect of this law, is that the Universe will find the shortest route to get something you need to you.

If you are not sure that something has been divinely sent to you, ask for signs. I always enjoy sharing this example about asking the Universe for parking space and noticing a car reverse to vacate a spot, the moment I arrive.

There are many such ways in which the Universe shows up for us. We only need to keep asking, keep trusting, and keep receiving.

The second aspect, is that there is no lack in the Universe.

You don’t need to wait because it’s somebody else’s turn to receive today.

You also don’t need to want less so that the others can have a share. There is enough for everyone, including YOU.

And third, is that the Universe is always giving.

We only need to be ready to receive.

The resource may not come to you in the way you thought it will. It may not be instant gratification, but you will see instant guidance.

For instance, if you want a fancy car, the Universe may not give you the next lottery ticket. But it might land you in an awesome job, that let’s you comfortably afford that car. But, how will you get the car, if you don’t apply for a new job?

photo of audi parked near trees, abundance mindset

There are hundreds of ways in which the divine forces conspire to bring us closer to our dreams – keep your eyes and ears open and when you notice something, don’t hesitate to walk on those suggestions.

At times, our ego-mind will get in the way and make us think it was “by chance”. Don’t let such limiting beliefs sabotage your growth!


Tip #4 – Move away from money.

I’m not trying to be philosophical and suggest something like you attract what you don’t need anymore. But remember my example from before, being driven by numbers? It became obsessive and that’s how I would show up in conversations.

If you’re struggling with money, you’re likely to be doing the same. Finding ways to earn more, in every, single, thing you do. Even in the most basic conversations. No matter what we do to hide our thoughts, we can’t mask our mindset entirely. In some form or the other, it becomes evident.

Observe the ways in which money limits your vision of life, ways in which you are not nurturing the abundance mindset. And then, ask yourself questions that can steer you in a different direction, such as,

  • What are the ways in which I feel enriched and alive, independent of money?
    (think compliments, opportunities, healthy friendships, and so on)
  • Who can I look up to and follow, to accelerate my growth? What are some of their qualities I can embody?
    (you will notice that being rich is not a quality, perseverance or patience would be)
  • What do I already have, that I am very grateful for?
    (think, if something you didn’t count as a blessing was taken away from you today, how you would feel)
Do what you can, to bring money down from the pedestal and put it in its actual place. When we are able to move beyond the primal goals, we can focus on actual growth.

Concluding Thoughts

Spirituality is not separate from money, and you can’t really do much in today’s day and age if you keep letting finances hold you back.

The modern monk’s goal isn’t to live a frugal life full trying to immunize herself of the ‘maya jaal‘ (illusory trap). Rather to have intelligent self-control and to use these very materials to achieve their spiritual goals.

Use money as a gateway to your success, not as the end goal. Allow yourself to step back from societal notions, and look at the bigger picture. Focus on the real end goal.

Focus on attaining enlightenment. 🙂


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