Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spirituality and Money

I think my short titles must be doing a good job of catching people's attention, as well as the topicality of them. The last post was about "Spirituality and Intimacy," which has been well-received and re-posted. Many thanks to everyone who shares these posts. Only through you can these messages of light, love, and healing be brought out to others--many of whom are lost and really have no idea what to look for. Your help is most sincerely appreciated, and as I grow my spiritual teaching practice, you're the only way that I can get bigger and help more people. If you are someone looking for a way to help others on the spiritual path and would like to volunteer some time with me, feel free to contact me through my contact form on this blog.

Cash Concerns: Why Money Has Been Labeled "Evil"
Money isn't evil. It's just a tool. It's a tool that's been badly used. Because of how it's been used, many people have become averse to money, and especially in regards to spirituality, money is often considered anathema. And I can give you many examples. The Catholic Church used to let rich nobles buy "indulgences" to offset a wide variety of sins. This was one of the big reasons that the Protestant Reformation happened, and it's why the Christian church now has a whole multitude of denominations.

The non-religion related abuses of money are also easy to point out. For all the millions of dollars gone into the research and production of stuff like guns, nuclear weapons, biological weapons, and so forth, the results have been massive death tolls. And still more simply, all the people who cold-heartedly step on others, lie, cheat, and steal to get more money have made money look like the single biggest criminal in human history. So why not just dump out money all together?

The Purpose of Money
Of course, we're just looking at one side of the coin. Money also helps bring researchers together to work on cures for diseases. It brings humanitarian aid to countries in dire need whether from general circumstances or catastrophes like tsunamis. And really, all that money is supposed to do is make it easy for us to exchange services. Otherwise, it's a little more difficult to decide how many chickens that iPhone is worth or how many bales of hay you should give for my DVD player. Do you know? I don't. Sure, some people like the bartering method, and in all honesty, I'm making work-trades a regular part of my spiritual teaching practice (I work by suggested donation rates, but if someone really is financially strapped, we work out a trade of services). But money is still a commonly understood concept, and it really does make it easier to exchange things.

Where Money Becomes a Problem
Money becomes a problem when it becomes a goal. When you think that more money will make you happy, you've taken a wrong turn. Money buys opportunities. It is just a means. It's like a hammer. How you use it can vary widely. In one way, you can use money as a mechanism to help others and support yourself and your family. In another way, you can hoard it. I don't know what becoming a millionaire gets you. I think deep down, there's a mechanism that forgot to get switched off. You keep gathering up resources so that you can feel "safe." But then you're constantly worried about losing money when stocks go down a penny. I don't consider that safety. I consider that paranoia.

On the other side are people without much money who think that it will end all their suffering when they have it. This gets piped into the delusion of the American Dream. While the U.S. is an amazing place to be able to improve your social standing (unlike many other places in the world where you are born into a caste or into immense poverty, and that's where you'll be your entire life), there's this illusion that monetary success is what you really want to succeed. It's not. Internal successes like love and connection are where it's at. So where money helps you to come to those spaces, it serves a purpose. And I won't say that it's completely separate from the spiritual equation to doing so. If you're starving, having money to buy food is part of meeting those basic needs. If you're starving, the only way you're really coming to enlightenment is through death. I mean sure, it may happen before that, but you still gotta eat. That's where some money can help.

Yes, yes. I know. You can grow your own food or trade for food. Blah, blah, blah. Let's be practical. I think there's a lot of rampant idealism that goes around because of a fear of money. People are afraid they'll be somehow tainted by it. Once again, if you drill down into yourself on this topic, I think you'll find fear at work. Money is just a tool. I repeat: it's just a tool. Coming into your spiritual awareness is coming into a space where you know it's a tool and you use it consciously. You make conscious purchasing decisions, and you know how to give it away just as you know how to receive it. That's part of enlightened awareness around money and more importantly, how you are choosing to interact with your community and the world.

Awakening and the Loss of Value
Of course, to jump on the other side of the fence, for those of you awakening, money may make no sense. The idea of judging and placing value on anything seems crazy. And well, I have to admit that it kinda is. I don't know that we'll get rid of it, but I do know that with more people who are awakened that you'll use it way better. I also know that during the awakening process, you really won't understand it. You may just give it all away, and I can't tell you what's right or wrong for you. Depending on what's happening for you, that may be exactly what you need to do. However, being an impoverished individual doesn't necessarily help you out much. Before you give it all away, please take care of your basic needs in someway.

Others of you are going to be coming at the money situation with a completely different mission. I say mission because I have a sense of quite a few souls who have come to be money power-brokers on this plane of existence to pull things back into alignment. Currently, most of the money power-brokers in the world are extremely juvenile and totally delinquent in their obligations as major holders of affluence. To quote the first Spiderman movie, "with great power, comes great responsibility." So too, the responsibility of having all that money really is to provide for the greater human family and community.

Most of the current billionaires aren't doing this. The Warren Buffets of the world are small in comparison to the oil moguls just sitting on their gi-normous hill of beans while millions starve around the world. So, I have a very strong sense that some of you coming into spiritual awakening are going to be magnets for money. It's just going to be what you naturally do. In so doing, you're going to be learning how to set up new re-distribution systems (because taxation seriously sucks for redistributing from the haves to the have-nots). This is an amazing spiritual work to have and will take great integrity, but it will also be an important symbol to people around the world to see how money should naturally be moving and flowing to and from one to another.

Money and the Energy Flow
Another way I talk about money is that it is energy. When someone has lots of it, it's blocked energy. That energy needs to be released to the places that are in deficits. This isn't just an idealistic give-away system. I am a firm believer in teaching people how to fish as opposed to giving them fish. But it's tough to learn much when your health is right at the edge. We have to help people come back from that edge. And money can help us do that. Don't get locked up on the idea that money is evil by how it's been used. Instead, it's time to look how we can change that paradigm because it is an important tool that we have at our disposal. Now it's up to us to finally be responsible with how we use it.
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