Ask Deepak - How Much Can I Have and Still Retain a Sense of Self
By Deepak Chopra
March 10, 2010
Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: There is a question I have asked myself many times over the years, and I cannot yet figure it out or why I feel so compelled to keep asking myself this other than my conscious being sees how we live compared to the less fortunate people in the world. So I am often asking: Just how much is it okay to have to retain for oneself? I am not a person with more than the average, middle-class North American. Do I feel some guilt being so fortunate to be born in the land of opportunity? Why me and why here? Your comments and enlightenment would be welcome. How do we look at this, and what do we do with it?
— Laura T., Coaldale, Canada
I don't mean to sound brutal, but if this question really mattered to you, you would have found an answer on your own. Why haven't you? Two possibilities come to mind. You may want to hold on to every penny but indulge in guilt on the side, as a kind of spicy sauce to make the money taste better. The other possibility is that you are guilty about many things—it's a habit of mind—and money joins a long list.
In any case, give to others as much as you feel comfortable with, be generous of heart and accept that your role in providing for those less fortunate will always be limited. Even a billionaire can't feed all the hungry or cure all the sick. How much you have isn't the point, is it?