In general, there is a great deal of fear surrounding the topic of money. We fear what will happen to us if we don’t have enough. We fear how we may change if we have too much. We fear that our quest for money locks us into the material world and disrupts our spiritual path.
While money is often positioned as the solution to our 21st century problems… it often times is at the root of them. Because the majority of people depend on money– both for our basic survival, and also for a sense of security– we can develop an emotional attachment to it. And when we become emotionally attached to things, they sometimes own or control our behavior.
Did you know that conflicts over money are the number one reason for divorce in America today?
Data from the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances revealed the following:
- Between 1989 and 2006, Americans’ overall credit card debt grew by 315 percent from $211 billion to $876 billion (2006 dollars).
- Nearly six out of 10 households with credit cards revolved their balances in 2004. The average amount of credit card debt among those households reached an all-time high of $5,219, an increase of 89 percent from $2,768 in 1989.
(Source: Garcia, Jose A., Borrowing to Make Ends Meet: The Rapid Growth of Credit Card Debt in America. http://www.demos-usa.org/pub1505.cfm)
Many people have negative associations with money based on the behaviors they see associated with it. Do any of the following sayings ring true for you? Have you heard such words come from the mouths of your parents, your relatives, your friends?
- “Money burns holes in pockets.”
- “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
- “Money is the root of all evil.”
- “Money equates to greed.”
- “Money and spirituality don’t mix.”
The sampling of negative beliefs above not only interfere with a healthy relationship with money, but they also interfere with your ability to accumulate wealth. This leads us to a place of scarcity, lack, and disempowerment.
Why would having negative associations with money lead to disempowerment? Because we are falsely attributing guilt and shame to something that was created to enhance our lives.
The truth is, money in and of itself is not good or bad. It is simply a tool created for the purpose of fair trade. It’s our attachment to the almighty dollar and our enslavement to it that gets us into trouble.
Most of the self help gurus today will tell you that money cannot buy happiness. Happiness is an inside job… and yet, you still must earn money to keep a roof over your head and food on your table. While the extent to which you spend money on material goods is a personal choice… the truth is that in our modern society living comfortably and within the realm of “normalcy” unfortunately costs money. And for some, a goal to live comfortably creates confusion about spirituality.
Many people think that spirituality means forsaking the external world completely. Yet, dropping out of society leads us into isolation, disease, pain and suffering. From this place, we cannot fully realize who we truly are, nor can we manifest the gifts we are meant to give back to the world.
You CAN be spiritually enlightened and at the same time enjoy abundant wealth. How so? The truth of human existence is that we must first be able to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others. And the path to spirituality includes tending to and embracing the gifts of our physical world.
What if you could view money as a resource to enhance your spirituality? Part of embracing money in healthy ways includes not becoming consumed by it; not using it to gain power or control; and not competing with others over acquisition of material goods. This use (abuse) of money can and will push you away from your inner goodness and ultimately throw you off spiritual balance.
To be a spiritual master of money, one must make conscious choices about using it, giving it, saving it. This means not allowing the pursuit of money to consume your time, energy and purpose. It means nurturing your soul with the substance of values and what truly matters, rather than with empty calories of things and status. These empty calories will only leave you hungry and create an endless cycle of yearning and lack. Next thing you know, you’re right back where you started: looking to money as the be-all, end-all, seeing it as evil, and allowing it to control your behavior.
Take the time to learn about money… how to manage it, invest it, save it. Making the money you deserve may enable you to meet your needs and ultimately fulfill your purpose on this planet. Imagine what acts of good you can do when you come from a place of security and abundance. If you think about it: there is no greater spiritual fulfillment than using the power of your own wealth to make a lasting positive impact on the world.
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