Spiritual Aspects of Trading

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by algorythm, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. algorythm


    As a long-time student of world religions, I wondered if there was any interest in opening up a discussion of religious/spiritual aspects of trading.

    Most people have a belief system of one kind or another that they buy into and practice.

    On the surface, trading is a purely material activity, but as Mark Twain wrote "any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment."

    So what, as traders, is it that we're really looking for? Is it a test of ourselves against others? Only a game that we play to while away the hours? Is there any way to structure trading or an approach to trading that is more in line with your belief structures? How have traders in the community done this?

    In the hedge fund industry, I ran into a lot of Ann Rynd'ers who were essentially objectivists who bought wholeheartedly into the philosophy that -- "individuals rationally and circumspectly seeking their own long-term happiness hold the world on their shoulders." Greed is good and so on. How many of you are on that particular bus? How does that feel?

    I open up the question because it seems to me it might be useful to get an overview of not only how everyone trades and what they are trading, but how they feel about the trading they are doing, and what the philosophies are that drive that.

    I personally am a Buddhist and I've found that texts from the Buddhist tradition and Taoist tradition are useful in helping me to see beyond what it is I'm doing on a day to day basis to something that is more of a "path of life," as opposed to a daily grind with only short term goals.

    Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after -- so what is it we're all here fishing for?

    Thanks for your input.
  2. Well, I do not really believe in something superior to me in supernatural activities so I do not really believe in religion. But, I believe in captalism. The idea of forever renewed capital, and the benefits that come with that.

    SO, put it simple my believes revolve around capitalism and everything that comes with that, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
  3. Most religions include "spiritual disciplines" that result in a person living "in the moment"...
    And not worrying about yesterday and tomorrow.

    Whether it's Buddhist maturity that creates stability by neutralizing desire and greed...
    Or Christian maturity that "lets go" because "God is in control"...
    Or Islamic maturity that gives you the power to saw a man's head off with a simple knife...

    The end result can be the same "in the moment" focus...
    Where you ignore that winning or losing trade that happened 10 minutes ago...
    And just grind out decision after decision unaffected by events.

    The worlds greatest athlete is arguably Tiger Woods...
    Largely because he has mastered playing golf "in the moment" better than any other player.
  4. ananda


    I too have long studied religion and philosophy - or at least ethical philosophy as opposed to logic and natural philosophy.

    For me the most important aspect is that a thought system should provide a path to happiness and acceptance in and of this life rather than the promise of jam tomorrow.

    I have little use for the complex and useless dogma which builds up around all religions. I like to cut it down to the basics and ignore "pure lands", "virgin births", "trinities" and suchlike.

    Yes, I would agree of course that living in the now is an essential part of the best world views but that it is also essential to pursue a "good" life: in Christian terms to treat your neighbour as yourself.

    I was recently reading the wonderful "Reflections" of Marcus Aurelius and thinking yet again of the common themes of Buddhism, the Tao, the ancient Greeks. And the basic teachings of Jesus before Christianity become politicised and over complicated by nonsense.

    I have found great worth in such thoughts in terms of accepting life and what it brings.
  5. I don't what a spirit is...

    I've never met someone who can give me what it is or whether it even exists (only opinion and assumptions), so I have no idea how this can even be discussed...

    I guess it's like a conspiracy theorist telling me that they lose in trading because some organization is out to get them... and everyone loses in the market...
  6. ananda


    Then I sincerely hope that one day you will find out. I would find life without introspection and a path impossible.

    I am well aware that many share your views and in some ways you are lucky. Spiritual enquiry can be uncomfortable and full of doubt.
  7. I am not well versed on on all the religions out there. Only the one I was raised into and embrace.

    I asked myself a question not too long ago,"Is there a nonchristian way of trading?

    Or you could even say immoral way of trading.

    If you recognize gambling as against christian themes, then yes there would be a nonchristian way of trading.

    Taking excessive risk for short term profit is not to far from going into the casino.
  8. squad,

    Buddhist believes everybody (including the little ants who wants happiness) is equal in nature (nature of mind). It is said in the scripture, your nature did not become better when you become a Buddha. Preconceived view can be a trap.
  9. Al,

    Personally, integrating religion and trading is tough... just like integrating the job and religion. Not that they don't mix... it is just the weakness of our own mind to stay the course (practice). I found poker to be a very good analogy for trading and I am not a poker player but I try to learn the money management and emotional management skills from that arena.

    good trading
  10. You comment is really about FAITH...
    Which, by definition, means "belief that does not rest on logical proof".

    Religions are not meant to be "provable"...
    And reward only those that have FAITH and persevere for many years.

    At the core of all religions is TOTAL SUBMISSION...
    Either to God or a rigid belief system.

    So if one is not interested in building Faith...
    And Total Submission to something Greater...
    Then one cannot benefit...
    Because there is no easy road to personal and spiritual growth.
    #10     Jan 4, 2007