I am back from my holiday away. What a fabulous time I had with my wife. Time spent in a gorgeous place with stunning views, we ate very well, drank very well, visited some of the most beautiful parts of England in my opinion – places that photographs simply cannot do justice to. Just being outdoors in the sunshine, seeing the sheer maginificence of the country we live in, with the person I love most in the world… Marvellous.

We had one night in… We grabbed fish and chips made in celebrity chef Rick Stein’s restaurant and brought them back and watched the sunset across the harbour as we ate them… Delicious.

That night we watched the TV and caught the third and final part of a TV show on BBC2 called “How to live a simple life” – wherein part-time hippy, and TV vicar Peter Owen Jones is home and dissatisfied with life in Surrey.

Life’s too complicated, he moans. We’re all caught up with wanting that little thing called money and it makes us slaves to money. Even he, a man of God, confesses to being addicted to the green stuff.

So Owen Jones decides to go cold turkey and give up money entirely. Just like 13th Century St Francis of Assisi. So he keeps referring to, and seems to be a good role model, despite how difficult it seems to be in the modern world.

It seems to be a spiritual thing to do away with money… Catholic nuns and Buddhist monks take vows of poverty. “Money can’t buy me love” sang the Beatles. “Tis the gift to be simple,” the Quakers sing…. And David Thoreau states “simplify. Simplify.”

Does money equal happiness? The belief that money erodes happiness is a persistent theme running through centuries of the world’s philosophers, religions, and cultural leaders. Why? If money is so desirable, how could it possibly spoil happiness? A new scientific study published in the current issue of Psychological Science by Jordi Quoidbach and colleagues, proves the philosophy is correct. Money-even the thought of it-reduces the satisfaction of life’s simple pleasures.

Previous studies have shown, and this study confirms, that there is a correlation between a person’s wealth and decreased ability to savour pleasant experiences. To investigate this puzzling correlation, 374 adults, ranging from custodial staff to senior administrators, were divided into two randomly assigned groups. The first group was shown a picture of a stack of money, and the control group was shown the same picture blurred beyond recognition. Then the participants were given psychological tests to measure savouring ability, happiness, and desire for wealth. The results showed that the subjects who were shown the money beforehand scored significantly lower ability to savour pleasant experiences. Just the thought of money had diminished their ability to appreciate and savour pleasant experiences.

Savouring is the emotion of positive feelings, such as joy, awe, excitement, contentment, pride, and gratitude derived during an experience, and the researchers found that one’s ability to savour predicts their degree of happiness.

The authors conclude that access to the best things money can buy undermines one’s ability to savour life’s simple pleasures. Remarkably, even a subtle reminder of the prospect of wealth can diminish one’s satisfaction with life’s simple pleasures.

As people in the UK gather closely to see and hear what the new government is about to do in relation to cutting public spending by £6 billion… We might think that as the world’s economy weakens and personal wealth diminishes, research suggests that what money gives with one hand-access to pleasurable experience-it takes away with the other by robbing our ability to appreciate simple joys.

I think therefore, we need to find some kind of balance, no? So how about spending less time worrying about money, and more time enjoying what is available to us already.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” –Jesus in Luke 12:22-34.

I must be chilled after my holiday… You’d not usually get me being all spiritually aware of money on a Monday morning in this manner… Lets see if it all wears off as I proceed through the working week… Good to be back.