I am a woman of science! I have always believed in science and its potency to make the world a better place; even though, as a sociologist of science interested in history, I know that science has equally made the world a much worse place. In this science is like any other tool: its power can be harnessed for good and/or evil. I still believe in science though as a philosopher of science I know that Robert Pirsig was right when he said in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance that ‘the scientific view point often pots a point to any other view point’.
Now you probably understand how uncomfortable I felt when I first came across The Secret and more broadly across meta-physics. I read it with suspicion; I experimented to test whether this ‘lark’ about ‘sending wished to the Universe’ works and I read some more. What I find is that ‘there is something there’ – I send wishes to the Universe and it responds. I still don’t know how it works but there is certainly something there.
Today, I am not going to tell you about The Secret – this is now something that anyone can find and read. Or even watch the movie: The Secret is a very big business. What is less know, though, is that the whole notion underlying The Secret rest on one of the laws of the Universe – the Law of Attraction. There are in fact seven laws and these are discussed in a book entitled The Meta Secret by Mel Gill. These are:
- The Law of Mentality
- The Law of Correspondence
- The Law of Vibration
- The Law of Opposites
- The Law of Rhythm
- The Law of Gender
- The Law of Cause and Effect
In this post I’ll summarize the first three of these laws; the rest will be discuss in a separate post.
The Law of Mentality
The first law of the Universe claims that ‘all is mind: the Universe is mentality’. This law, in reality paves the way for the law of attraction and is supported by it – its most obvious implication is that our minds create our reality. There are several other implications though:
- we are all connected and we treasure the feeling of togetherness;
- we are all equal since we are all subjected to the same forces;
- we are separate and part of the whole;
- we continuously create and continuously change – so better take responsibility for the change and what happens to us;
- there is unity between the mind and the physical – the mind should be used to comprehend the physical rather than block it out; and
- it is our mission to get to the essence of our being – understand what we are and not mistake it for what we do.
The Law of Correspondence
The second law of the Universe or the law of correspondence. But before we get any further, it is worth noting that all laws of the Universe, according to Mel Gill, work on three different levels: spiritual, mind and physical.
The law of correspondence is expressed by the Masonic saying “as above so below” which can also be rephrased as “as inside so outside”. The main implication of this law is that changing our physical world is possible only if we start changing the worlds of our spirit and our mind. In other words to change the physical we have to change the way we think and the way we feel.
In this sense, life is what we make it – if we are nice on the inside nice things will be on the outside; if we are generous the Universe will be generous in return. We reap what we sow!
Another important implication of this law is that problems are not attributes of the physical but of the mental and the spiritual; in other words problems are part of us rather than part of our environment.
The Law of Vibration
The third law of the Universe is the law of vibration. It postulates that nothing is static and everything vibrates. But different levels vibrate at different frequencies: the spiritual is at the highest frequency, the mental is at lower frequency and the physical is at the lowest frequency. These vibrations can also be seen as energy and emotions – each vibration attracts vibrations of similar frequency.
Negative emotions, like anger and disappointment, are slow vibrations; happiness and other positive emotions are higher and faster vibrations. Studies have shown that vibrations from electronics affect our state (Karolinska Institute and the vibrations from computers, lights and air-conditioning).
We can control our lives and our environment by learning to control the vibrations of our emotions and thoughts. Even more interestingly, the vibrations are the mechanism for transfer of emotions – the process is called ‘induction’. Induction is the reason why we feel happy around happy people (or can justifiably talk about happy environments) or the reverse – feel down when others around us are down. And last but not least, these energy vibrations can be used to cope with the pain of trauma and illness.
[The other four laws will be published next Thursday.]
Since I started The Money Principle I feel more comfortable talking to my British friends and acquaintances about money. Well, this and the fact that after over 20 years in the UK I am finally convinced that as a ‘foreigner’ no one really expects me to know how to behave; so I may as well take full advantage of this and have great fun on the way.
The point here is that I talk to people around me about money more often. And I get two very different reactions: a) ‘I am very good with my money and always have been’; or b) ‘oh, I am so hopeless with money it is not even worth the bother talking about it’. Neither statements is made with pride and the latter is usually accompanied by the kind of superior dismissiveness indicating preoccupation with ‘better’ and ‘higher’ things. I know about it; this used to be my answer. However, I suspect, that nether the people in the first group are so savvy nor the people in the second so hopeless.
So, let’s do a very simple test and see whether the results match your perception of yourself.
1.When did you look at your bank statement last?
- During the last month;
- Over a month ago;
- What is a ‘bank statement’ and where do I find it?
2.Do you know what:
- You pay for things?
- You should be paying for things?
Now, if you answered that you have checked your bank statement during the last month and that you know what you pay for things and what you should be paying for them you can stop reading and go do something more useful. If, on the other hand, it has been over a month since you checked, or the Universe help you, you don’t know where to find your bank statement; and you have answered ‘no’ to one or both of the next set of questions KEEP READING.
You have to clean up your act!
If you don’t know what is in your bank account and what is going out of it the likelihood is you are in trouble.
If you don’t know how much you should be paying for things you are likely to be paying way too much; in other words you are in even bigger trouble.
The good news is that you can start cleaning up your act in three easy steps.
Analyse your bank statements
Your bank statements are either in a pile of unopened, or opened and discarded on the floor, letters or you if you do internet banking you can find these on your bank’s web-site. Please, start looking at them and analysing them properly. Take the last six months and check:
a) What was your balance at the end of YOUR financial month?
b) Divide your expenditure in three groups: constant (these are the expenses that are fixed for a long period and you can’t change like mortgage, loans, council tax, water rates etc.); changeable (all kinds of insurance and telephony that can be negotiated) and variable (food, entertainment, clothes etc.). You can find a tool to do this here.
c) Calculate the proportions of your income that go on each of the spending groups.
d) Check your income: are you getting all you should be getting?
Look ‘outside the box’
Many people do the first step and they know what goes in their account and what goes out of it. They never move beyond this because they assume that what goes in and out is what should go in and out.
Being in control of your money means to know ‘what should be’…
…not only ‘what is’.
This is particularly important in the categories of changeable expenditure. After you know what you are currently paying you should look around: compare car insurance, check what other house insurance providers can do for you, check whether you can get your health and dentistry insurance cheaper elsewhere, and shop around for your life insurance.
I know, it is a bother isn’t it? I thought so as well until three years ago, by doing what I preach, I discovered that many providers’ business model relies on ‘suckers sticking around’. We were paying twice what we pay for life insurance now and were under-insured; we paid 20% more for car insurance and our house insurance was the ‘cherry on the cake’ – we were not only paying three times what we pay now but the company we are with lowered the price. I found this offensive but hey, it did bring all these costs down.
Do you know that by doing shopping around and comparing prices we saved ourselves well over £1,000 ($1,581) per month? So can you!
Know thy prices
Comparison is the mother and father of savvy shopping; there is no doubt about it. But with the items under changeable expenditure you can use different tool so you don’t have to remember the prices of different providers. It is different when it comes to controlling your variable expenditure: then you have to know your prices. You have to know how much a pint of milk and a loaf of bread cost in a different supermarket. You have to be able to compare quality as well…
I have a very big problem remembering ‘my prices’ and my way around it is that I write (or did write for a long time) everything. Now I go by store – not perfect, I know, but the best I can do; short of shopping for food with my laptop open and my complex spreadsheet on the screen. What a geek!
Many of us are far from being financially savvy; even the ones who think that they are. This can be achieved in three easy steps: analyse your financial statement every month; known not only what you spend but what you should be spending by comparing prices; and learn the prices of everyday items do that you know a good bargain when you spot one. That is all!
Looking at the statistics of consumption and levels of consumer debt in the Western world there is not much doubt in my mind that most of us, most of the time spend too much money, on too many consumer items. This is how we have become over-spending, over-consumers – we eat too much, drink too much and have too much stuff. Even when this is valuable stuff! I certainly did fit the bill until very recently. Having realised this I started thinking about ways to limit consumption – my consumption, in this case. One way to do this, as I discovered, is by mastering my wants and working out what are the things I really, really value. By accident, whist doing the exercise, I also noticed that there were, what I have come to call, spending ‘blind spots’. (more…)
I am sitting in bed with my leg up and it is 35C in Sofia. I am hot, bothered and not very patient – with myself and with the world. Under this circumstance what better way to pass time than to finish something I have been promising for some time now and have been working on for even longer.
In a previous post I argued that whilst budgets don’t do much for me (in fact budgets get me seriously vexed) I am a firm believer in budgeting. I also discussed three kinds of expenditure: constant, changeable and variable. (more…)
When I needed a budgeting framework that is easy to apply and does not constrain me within a budget I used Arkad’s rules. This worked really well for two reasons. One, I could automate the negative wealth repayment and get on with my life instead of obsessing over it all the time. As a result my quality of life improved, my work improved and my work results improved. This will soon pay off, I believe, in career and financial terms. Two, we built an emergency fund and started building savings/investments. This made me feel less fearful about the future and, let us face it, less vulnerable to any adverse future developments. So, Arkad’s budgeting was good for quite some time.
Several months ago I noticed that we spend hardly anything on fun and on ourselves. This wasn’t because there was nothing left to spend but because of the way in which we budgeted: fun was not in our budgeting frame. Having realised this, and the detrimental effects it has on family life and individual feeling of worth, I started playing around with the budgeting frame. After all this is one of the advantages of budgeting: if it doesn’t work you look at it and re-work it rather than feeling as a complete failure. (more…)
This budgeting frame is particularly appropriate when paying off ‘negative wealth’. When people have
debt negative wealth, the customary advice is ‘don’t save; throw everything to pay it off’. I happen to disagree with this and from the very first days of my financial awakening I set myself two goals: one pay negative wealth and pay it fast; and two build up an emergency fund and savings. As it turned out I am in good company and Arkad, the richest man in Babylon, also agrees with me. Arkad’s advice to people who have negative wealth and wish to become wealthy was the following:
Ten percent of all you earn should be saved and invested.
Twenty percent of all you earn should be used to pay
debts negative wealth– if the amount is insufficient one should negotiate with their creditors firmly and convince them that this all that they can afford but that they will pay diligently.
Seventy percent of all you earn should be used to cover all living expenses. (more…)