There are many so-called “spiritual people” (as if certain people are spiritual and others are not) who claim that money is bad. Tell me, is a hammer bad? Money is simply a tool. If a father builds a tree fort for his child we love the hammer (we know how men love their tools!). But if someone attacks someone with a hammer does that make the hammer bad?
Money isn’t the problem; rather, it is our use of it, the consciousness of those who wield it that creates the problems and suffering.
Those who judge money, who claim it to be the “root of all evil”, most likely have no idea what it is like to live in poverty. I do. I lived below the poverty line for four years. I know what it is like to painfully deliberate over whether to buy a $2 cup of tea from a coffee shop. I know what it like to pay debt with debt. I know what it is like to live in extreme stress month after month, year after year.
Yes, money doesn’t make us happy. We can all agree on that. But it sure helps. I’d rather have it than not. I’m guessing you are the same.
I was once told a gentleman committed to the spiritual path that I love money. He bristled and replied, “Hold on a second! You can love your children, you can love your work, you can love nature, but you cannot love money!” Oh really?
What if that money is used to build a retreat center where children with cancer can, for the first time in their life, attend camp, one with nurses on site, a camp funded by kind donations—money? And what if their parents, knowing their child is in safe hands, can finally have a holiday to themselves, their first since their child was diagnosed? I’ve volunteered at those camps and have seen firsthand the impact they have on the children, and their family.
What if that evil money is put towards building your own business, a longstanding dream of having a flower shop? And what if those flowers add beauty and touch the lives of people, like the infirmed, in ways you can’t imagine? They do, of course. And for this reason and more, you love doing what you love. You feel less stress and more joy, and that spills over into your health and how you are with your spouse and children.
And what about those sneakers you are wearing, sold by corporations I might add, that you travel on to your meditation classes and protests? Be grateful for them, the labor that went into them, the fine detail of how they are threaded and bound, and how they carry you comfortably from one place to another.
Without money, none of this happens.
We live in a consumerist culture, and many of our products are made in sweatshops; I get that. Yet, unless you plan to move to a traditional hunter-and-gatherer society in the Amazon you may as well accept that money is part of our story here in the Western world. We can certainly learn from those who live more harmoniously with the land, who live more simply, who consume less and buy (if they buy) locally. But, for now, this is our reality. We live in houses, not huts. We live in cities with children to feed and with grocery stores that provide. Thank goodness we have the money to buy our groceries and feed the hungry bellies of those we love most. Thank goodness our houses are warm and we have running water. And don’t you love tucking into your comfortable manufactured bed every night?
So instead of knocking money, I encourage you to be grateful for it and all it gives you. A daily practice would be to find five reasons why money blesses you, and others. Perhaps, it is through offering a homeless person $10 that you strike up a conversation with him, and, for the first time in a while, he feels seen and heard. Without money, you may not have made that connection. Perhaps you notice the joy your daughter gets from her new puppy, a puppy that would not be around if not for the money to purchase it.
There may be a time down the road when we evolve enough to live without money; when we all live closer to the land, with our community gardens and in a bartering system. Yet our evolution to more harmonious living will not come about by removing money, but by waking up, becoming more loving and caring towards others, and ourselves.
I’ll end with this:
Spiritual people claim that we are all one, and that there is only love. I agree with them. We are the one intelligent creative force that underlies and gives rise to all the seemingly separate parts that make up the cosmos. Yet, if we are all one loving being, how can one thing be bad and another good?
Indeed, if you are on the spiritual path, you would most likely know that our judgments of people and things are projections of our inner judgments, our inner fears. Our judgments and fears—our separation consciousness—is what causes the world’s problems, not money. Therefore, I encourage you to explore where this idea of bad comes from, who gave it to you, and how it plays out in your relationship with money, and other facets of your life.
Love does not need to be restrained, not for anyone or anything. Restraining it is fear, and how disease of body, mind and planet arises.
Abundant living begins with abundance in our hearts and minds, in how we perceive the world, how fully we enjoy it, and how we give of ourselves. If you love money you may find yourself loving more, period. And you may find yourself attracting more of it as well. Gratitude or appreciation are practices of not only opening our hearts and seeing the good in our lives, but of welcoming more of it into our hearts and hands.
Happy earning, happy spending, happy sharing!
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Check out Vince’s book: Wild Empty Spaces ~ Poems for the Opening Heart