Why Money is Nothing.
“Ben has my job.”
That’s what my ego brings up as I talk with Ben tonight in the pub. Because whether through chance, chaos, or coincidence, he works every day, while I languish on zero hours for an entire week.
Ben’s eyes are bright and grounded looking, and he feels more substantial . When I say that to him he nods.
“It’s work that’s done it,” he says. “I can only be sad for so long.”
This is why I am friends with Ben: he is so sweet natured and tender hearted, even when he’s being mournful or neurotic, that I can’t help but like him. When I can meet him in that feeling place, we both speak rapidly and carefully about how it is now for us both.
Before I can reconsider, I have confessed my secret reflections to him: briefly, I have noticed that whether I have plenty or a little money, I always seem to be worried about it. What is his view of that, I ask.
“Well, money’s nothing,” Ben says.
“You mean money’s not everything?”
“No, I mean money is nothing .
“After the trouble I’d gone through I know now that as long as I’ve got food in my belly and petrol for my bike, and enough for one drink at the pub – then money is nothing because my needs are complete.”
“But there must be stuff you want?”
“There’s plenty of stuff I want, but I don’t need it. What I need now is very very little.”
“Let me see if I understand you,” I say. “After having lost everything material and in support, you are aware you could lose it all again in a second…”
“…In a millisecond,” he says.
“...So it’s not worth valuing over the stuff you need.”
“Isn’t that a frightening way to see things?”
“Yes, but what can I say? Life goes on,” he says. “I had everything I wanted whenever I wanted it for 42 years, and now I don’t, I’m just as happy even though I’ve gone through the roughest years of my life.”
Later on, in an effusive mood, I approach and thank Ben with a long hug for his insight and for his generosity. He has got “my” job, but I have got something precisely as precious: the blessing of his hard-earned wisdom.