Karin Mizgala is co-founder of Money Coaches of Canada, a national network of fee-for-service money coaches offering a holistic approach to money management that includes helping people get clear on what is important to them and how to connect their finances to their core values.
Karin is also co-founder of the Women’s Financial Learning Centre and is a prominent speaker and writer. She is the co-author of UNSTUCK: How to Get Out of Your Money Rut and Start Living the Life you Want and Your Money Map. She is frequently interviewed in the Globe and Mail, Wealth Professionals, the Financial Post, Money Sense and Yahoo Finance.
Karin has been practicing the TM technique for 10 years.
Helen: We often equate well-being with the accumulation of wealth. Is that a fair connection?
Karin: Wealth, the way we normally consider it, equals money, it equals what you have in the bank and what you have in your investments.
Well-being is a much broader concept that considers your financial wealth but it also considers what drives your life, what is going to make you happy. In our society we use money as a proxy for happiness but it a misguided and narrow definition of happiness. I would say the first step in any move towards well-being is to find a way to connect to what is important to you. TM is very good for this. It is an effective and simple way to connect with the deeper self which is the true source of happiness and well-being.
Helen: But there is so much concern these day with the misuse of money, hence the rise of Occupy Wall Street and similar movements. Do they have legitimate concerns?
Karin: Movements like Occupy Wall Street focus on the unequal distribution of wealth, but there are deeper social issues at work than just money. There is a sense of gross human injustice, a feeling that something is very wrong with the way our financial system works and a profound sense of inequality and lack of connection to what is right and good. So much wealth is generated by not really providing goods or services that are in the best interest of society at large. Incredible wealth is being made by a small segment of society through complex financial products and services with hidden fees and questionable value. Our fundamental human values rebel against this imbalance of money and power. But we have such a complicated interconnected financial system that it is difficult to know what to do to change it.
It is interesting though that a lot of studies show that once we have reached a certain level of wealth that having more income does not increase our happiness. What does increase happiness is using our money to promote social good, to give to charities, to make a difference in our community. Giving is a natural inclination that is hard wired in us, but not always activated given that so much of our time and energy is in pursuit of more. But ironically it is not in the getting more but in giving more and being part of a community that increases well-being.
This loss of understanding of what makes us happy is the result of stress in our lives. The only way to approach our life and to make a more positive contribution is to eliminate stress. And again, this is where TM is useful.
Transcendental Meditation gives us that quiet time twice a day where we experience a silent settle state of our nature, beyond all the noises and messages with which we are bombarded, and allows us to connect to what is true and right for us and, by extrapolation, what is true and right for the world.
With regular TM meditation practice, we gain the clarity to define what is “enough” on our own terms, to make responsible life and financial choices, and to be grateful for all that we have and all that we have to offer to others.