The Work as Meditation
Close this search box.

Bonus: Basket of Exercises on Money

[accessally_course_navigation prev_button=’Previous’ next_button=’Next’]

This course is designed to increase your awareness of what you believe about money and how to do The Work on this topic. As you have seen in videos, there are many ways to approach the topic. Here are some exercises you can try on your own to help you identify stressful thoughts about money to question. 

Exercise 1: Random List of Thoughts – What’s Stressing You About Money?

Write your stressful free-form on a blank piece of paper or computer document. Ask yourself, “What is stressing me about money these days?” And trust whatever comes up. 

Allow yourself to write your list stream-of-consciousness style and don’t censor yourself. You will probably find two things as you write. Collect them both. 

  1. Stressful situations about money
  2. Stressful thoughts and beliefs about money.

When you’re done, look over what you wrote and choose a stressful thought or belief to question. Or zoom in on a stressful situation with money to write a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet or write further beliefs to question in that situation.

Remember that The Work works well with specifics. Can you zoom into one specific situation to do The Work? Your emotions will show you what to question. Trust them to show you the way.

Question the stressful thoughts you have identified. Consider questioning one a day for a while.

Exercise 2: What Would I Have If I Had More Money?

Make a list of everything you think you would have if you had more money…

I would have ______. 

Now, ask the question again: If I had x (because of having more money), what would I have then?

Example: If I had more money, I could enroll in a meditation retreat, buy a car, travel.

What would I have, if I could enroll in a meditation retreat? I would have rest, quiet, peace. 

If I had rest, quiet, peace what would I have then? A happy, contented life.

Notice how this means, ultimately, that A (money) + B (retreat) + C (rest/quiet) = contented life.

Are you sure money is required for contentment? What prevents you from feeling contentment NOW? Could rest and quiet be available here?

Question the stressful statements on your list. Could it be true that what you believe money would bring you can be acquired also without money? What examples can you find that show you contentment is present now? We love the turnarounds here to “my thinking”. 

Example: If I had more money, I would have contentment. TA: If I had more contentment with my thinking, I would have more money. TA: If I saw money with contentment, I would have more of me. TA: If I had more money, I would not have more contentment. 

Exercise 3: What Are Your Rules About Money?

Make a list of all the rules you can think of with regards to money. Question each one and see if you can find the balance point. Rules may be both helpful and unhelpful. Where does the truth lie for you with each one?


If you give someone money, you must receive value in exchange

People shouldn’t steal money

You have to work hard for money

The way people get money is to work for it

The only way to get things you need to survive, like food and shelter, is to have money

When people borrow money, they have to pay it back or they’re bad

Exercise 4: Money Is Bad or Wrong Because…

What are your beliefs about money as bad, evil, wrong, etc.? When do you think money causes problems? Make a list.

Money causes problems when _____.

Money is evil when _____.

It is wrong to use money in these ways…

Question the statements you find.

Exercise 5: Five Modes of Money Exchange–Examining the moments we feel uncomfortable

Giving: When someone actively moves something to someone else, from one point to another, giving has occurred. Have you ever had someone say with excitement “you must try this soup!” and they take spoonful of their soup and pop it into your mouth, and all you had to do was open your mouth? That person gave you the taste of soup. Or you were handing someone a pretty rock, and they just held out their hand–you put it right in their palm. 

Receiving: Receiving is paired with Giving. In the examples above, the open mouth, the open palm, these are the points of reception. It is passive, open, inviting–you are receiving what someone is giving. There is no need to do anything except open your mouth, your hand, your heart, your bank account, and you receive. Note that someone can give something without it being received, but someone can’t freely receive something that has not been given. 

Taking: Similar to giving, taking is active and deliberate. At a grocery store or market, someone has a table with a platter of samples. You reach out and pluck one off the platter– you are taking. Or a magician says to you: “Pick a card, any card.” You reach out and take the second card from the right. 

Offering: Offering is paired with taking. In the examples above, the person at the table with the platter and the magician were both offering something to you. It is passive, open, inviting–you are being offered something. Note that someone can take something even if it has not been offered. Sometimes, we can also take something being offered when actually we don’t want to take it. Someone holds out an advertisement flyer on the sidewalk as they walk directly towards us, we reach and take the flyer automatically–but we don’t actually want to take it. 

Still: Nothing is moving. There is no flow. Sometimes this is a restful state of integration, sometimes it is a stale and stagnant state. Taking is balanced and appropriate when there is an offer. Giving is balanced and appropriate when there is someone ready to receive. Receiving is effective and appropriate when there is giving. Offering is effective and appropriate when it is known that taking is welcome.

What is your most difficult or stressful experience among these five for you personally? Where have you noticed stressful thoughts appearing with other people engaging with any of these means of exchange? Do you have stressful thoughts about what is supposed to happen, or what’s the right/wrong way of doing it? Is there anything threatening about these moments that you’ve experienced before and would prefer not to experience again? These are amazing dynamics to notice, whether money is part of the equation of not. You might ask yourself, if you notice discomfort in any exchange you’ve experienced that’s stressful, what you might be avoiding, demanding or “arguing with” in situations where you felt the exchange was not balanced or appropriate. These are perfect situations for a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet.

Exercise: The Asking and Taking, Offering and Giving Challenge

This is a profoundly powerful exercise for deeply accessing your true fears, concerns, and arguments with asking, taking, offering and giving. 

Get 3-6 one dollar bills or one euro (or whatever the equivalent in your country) and put them in your pocket. You’ll take a minimum of three, and a maximum of six. If you need support, enlist one person to be a supportive witness accompanying you who will stand back gently help you stay present and to finish the exercise. (Grace found this to be the only way she was willing to do this exercise the first time).

Now step out into the street or any area where you know you will encounter other humans who are moving about the planet. You might choose a market, a business center, a place with shops or restaurants, a park on a day where people are out relaxing or playing, a campus. Don’t concern yourself with picking the “right” place. Go to the easiest or nearest area to you where you’ll encounter people. Don’t think too much about it. Just go. 

Task One: Give each one of your dollars/euros away to 3-6 different people. See if you can do this without a lot of explanation, and without revealing that you’re doing it for a class or a training exercise. It’s OK to speak, and OK to not speak. Simply offer and notice what it’s like for you to engage in this activity. Notice what thoughts rise up as you see someone you could approach. Notice if your mind makes immediate suggestions (it will) about whether or not this will be a good person to offer to, if they need it, if they will/won’t want it, how they might respond. Notice that you don’t actually know the answer. Move through the experience. 

Task Two: Acquire the exact same amount you have given away, one by one. Ask without a lot of explanation, without revealing that you’re doing it for a class or a training exercise. Again, it is OK to speak, or not speak. Notice your impulses, your stressful thoughts and fears. Simply ask and notice what it’s like for you to engage in the activity of asking. You will again see thoughts rising within about people you see, who you could ask. Your mind will talk about who is safe, appropriate, and will be attempting to predict how people will respond. Test it out. Move through the experience.

Journal: What did you learn about yourself and about humanity? Did anything stand out specifically as highly stressful, or troubling? What were you aware of? Write down these passing moments or exchanges where you had a moment of concern. 

For example (from Grace’s experience of this exercise): a group of three business men were walking together down the sidewalk. I asked one of them for a dollar. He stopped, with his two companions also pausing near him, and he said “you don’t look like you need a dollar” with an incredulous tone. I had the urge to explain or give a reason. I remained silent, doing the exercise. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a dollar and handed it to me. I noticed thoughts around feeling worried he thought I was a liar, or something was wrong with me, or I was confused. These were powerful for The Work! Doing this exercise helped me change my mind about asking for and taking money.

Who would you be without your story? Doing this exercise will surprise and enlighten you. There is nothing like feeling the experience in your bones of living your turnaround and challenging your thoughts. Doing this exercise can allow us to dissolve stories, blocks and barriers that cause us to hesitate, remain afraid, and stay unwilling to risk or try something new. 

Exercise 6: In Order To Get Money, this is what it takes________: 

  1. Make a list of a handful of people who have gotten, earned or acquired money. 
  2. What are these people who have money skilled at, allowing them to obtain money? They do not need to have tons of money, you may not consider them enormously wealthy (although that may be the case). What makes them have an income flow with money? This list may include both positive and negative qualities or activities. 
  3. What are your judgments or fears about them and/or about you when it comes to these skills? 


  1. People in my life who I’ve observed had money are grandpa, grandma, Jeannie, my former father-in-law Jim, Bill Gates, Ruth, Eleanor. 
  1. What these people are skilled at that allowed them to obtain money:

They were confident leaders, creative, excellent negotiators, they watch the numbers and monitor them regularly, they work hard, got good educations, never wavered on their career plans, they decided on one career and didn’t change their minds, they don’t get tricked or hussled (they are shrewd), they didn’t make stupid investment decisions, they had good opportunities as kids, someone paid for their education, they carefully save and invest, they never buy anything luxurious, they were obsessed with inventing something/visionary, they didn’t put up with bullshit at work, they didn’t care what other people thought of them, they came from an already-wealthy family.

  1. My judgments, stressful thoughts, stories, fears about myself or about these people when it comes to money: 

I’m not confident enough, I’m too nice, I don’t know how to negotiate, you have to go without luxurious things to get money, education is too expensive to pay for by yourself, you have to watch out for people hustling you, you have to decide one career and not change your mind in order to get money, you have to be obsessive or an inventor (and I’m not), you need to be tough and not care what others think, they were lucky

Are these stories true? Take them through inquiry. Who would you be without your story of what it takes to acquire money?

Exercise 7: What do you need money to do or be in order to feel happy with it?

This may seem like a very simple question, but it can be enlightening to listen quietly for your answers. Make a list of what you needed money to do or be (or what you need money to do now) especially in a difficult situation involving money.

Example for Grace: In my troubling situation with money when I had only $10.16 left in my bank account, and a mortgage due in 2 weeks: 

  • I need money to show up, now
  • I need money to be supplied to me immediately
  • I need money to stop being so mysterious and hard to get
  • I need money to quit withholding from me
  • I need money to shower me with abundance
  • I need money to be easy, available, interested in me
  • I need money to suddenly move from wherever it’s currently located into my life

Exercise 8: Exchanging money for goods and services, selling situations

Many of us have experiences where something felt uncomfortable when a sales transaction was underway. The discomfort could happen before, during, or after the transaction takes place. Have you experienced a troubling encounter or exchange like this? Find the most uncomfortable situation, and write a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet on the person you identify as the problem.

Example: Before the sale

I am upset in this situation involving money because I see the price tag of this training program I want to attend, and I’m shocked at the fee. I’m angry at the people who have set this pricing, who are the main teachers in this program. It feels out of reach. I’d like to participate, but am outraged at the cost. JYN: I’m angry with Training International because they charge too much. I want them to cut the fee in half for me. (etc)

Example: During the sales transaction

I am upset because I’ve made my deposit for blinds I purchased, they’ve been installed, and now the person who came over to measure and sell me the blinds has called 2 days in a row to ask for the remaining balance. They’ve put the wrong colors in one room, and I haven’t even been home. JYN: I’m annoyed with Mary the Salesperson because she’s pushing hard to get me to pay the final balance before I’m satisfied with what I’ve bought. I want her to call once, not twice. I want her to calm down. (etc)

Example: After the sales transaction

JYN: I am furious in this situation because I already paid for laborer to install bathroom cabinet, and he left without finishing the job and now is not answering my calls. I want him to finish the job or pay me back my $310! He should be honest. He shouldn’t cheat me. He shouldn’t disappear. (etc)

Exercise 9: The Worst That Could Happen

What’s the worst possible thing imaginable to you that could happen when it comes to money? Picture that situation, as if it is already happening. Paint the picture with detail. 

Example for Grace: The worst that could happen to me is like what happened in The Pursuit of Happyness movie to the main character. The specific situation that is the worst would be living in a homeless shelter. What and who I feel upset with in this situation is: myself, other homeless people, the people who run the shelter, the frightening environment. Write down every person, group, or entity in this terrible situation that you felt upset with. 

You might have an entirely different sort of worst case scenario. It does not have to be so dramatic. Picture YOUR PERSONAL worst case scenario when you think about money and your future.

Write a JYN on this situation. If there are several different people or things you find upsetting, pick only one to focus on.

Example JYN on the homeless people in the homeless shelter: 

I am frightened at the scary crazy homeless people because they will hurt me. They will steal from me. They don’t care about me. I want them to go away. I want them to calm down. I want them to be less desperate. I want them to be happy. They should relax. They should feel cared for. They shouldn’t hurt me. I need these homeless people to be kind to me. I need them to leave me alone. I need them to be trustworthy and safe. They are frightening, untrustworthy, horrifying, needy, mentally ill, impoverished. I don’t ever want homeless people to injure me or steal from me.

Part 2: Write a JYN on MONEY in this same situation. If it helps, pretend money is like a person, or have personal qualities in that situation.

Examples: I am furious at money because it abandoned me, it never showed up, it is gone. I want money to stay with me forever. I want money to never leave. I want money to show up in abundance. I want money to have compassion on me and these other homeless people. Money should care. Money shouldn’t leave. Money is fickle, horrible, confusing, difficult to get, hard to understand, scarce, sparse, hateful, ditched me. I don’t ever want money to abandon me again. 

[progressally_objectives layout=”show|end-of-line”]

[accessally_course_navigation prev_button=’Previous’ next_button=’Next’]