Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a number of emails from people wondering (and in a few instances complaining) about the fact that I’m offering a new program about financial freedom.
The general question goes something like this:
If you say there’s a spiritual essence to your work, isn’t it distracting (or misleading or evil) to talk about money? Here’s the heart of my response:
1. The principles are a spiritual understanding that helps us have a deeper experience of being human.
2. One aspect of the human experience many people struggle with is money.
3. Helping people around money can be a wonderful way of both easing people’s struggle and introducing people to the principles who might otherwise not think they’re relevant to their lives.
To make sense of that response, imagine trying to explain how money works to an alien…
Alien: I love all this colored paper – why do you carry it around with you instead of leaving it out where everyone can admire it?
Human: (horrified) I can’t do that! People would think I’m showing off – or worse still, they might steal it!
Alien: Do they not have colored paper of their own?
Human: It’s not just colored paper – it’s money.
Alien: “Munn Nee”?
Human: No – money. Moolah. Clams. Scratch. Wonga. Don’t you have money where you come from?
Alien: I’m not sure. What is it?
Human: Well… it’s what we use to buy stuff with.
Alien: Buy stuff?
Human: Sure! Let’s say you have food and I’m hungry. I can trade you some of my money for some of your food.
Alien: That sounds fun. Where do I get money?
Human: Well, you work for it.
Alien: What’s “work”?
Human: Hunh… ok, let’s try this. Work is what we humans do in order to get money. We trade our time and creativity for money and then can use the money to buy stuff like food and houses and vacations.
Alien: Sounds cool. How much work do I have to do to get money?
Human: It depends on a few factors, but it mostly comes down to how much people value the work we do and how easy it would be for them to get that same value somewhere else.
Alien: What’s “value”?
Human: Well, it’s a measure of how much of a difference something makes to me. If it makes a big difference it has a lot of value, and if it doesn’t make much of a difference, it doesn’t have much value.
Alien: So all I have to do is provide things that make a real difference to people that are difficult for them to get elsewhere and I can have all the money I want?
Human: (thinks about it) Yes, actually, that’s pretty much the magic formula right there.
Alien: Cool. But I still don’t get why people would think you’re showing off if you left your money out for them to see. Shouldn’t they admire you for having made such a big difference to the world?
Human: Ah… it’s because not everyone thinks making money is a good thing.
Alien: Why not?
Human: Lots of reasons, but mostly because some people don’t have enough of it to eat and get shelter and the whole system starts to seem unfair.
Alien: So why don’t you all share it? Isn’t there enough to go around?
Human: (thinks about it) I think there probably is enough to go around. But some people think money is power, and they don’t want to give it up. And other people think money is security so they’re scared to give it up. And still other people think it’s evil so they don’t even want to deal with it.
Alien: That doesn’t sound like money, it sounds like what we call on my planet “Thought”.
Human: “Thought”? You mean like thinking?
Alien: Sort of. Thought is the energy through which everything is created. The energy of Thought creates our realities, and then we live inside those realities and experience them as though they’re real.
Human: I don’t get it. What does that have to do with money?
Alien: Well, you use the energy of Thought to create a reality where colored bits of paper represent an abstraction called “value” and can be traded for other things at what seems like a fairly arbitrary exchange rate. Then you start to attribute fundamental states of being like security and power to those bits of paper until they become almost overwhelmingly important and need to be thought about all the time. And while I haven’t been on your planet for that long, it seems obvious to me that human beings don’t do well when they’ve got too much on their minds.
Human: That’s certainly true in my experience. But how do you not think about something that seems so important.
Alien: I’m not suggesting it’s not worth thinking about from time to time. But if you saw that money is just a convenient means of trading goods and services, you probably wouldn’t think about it all the time. And if you saw that feelings of security and power are part of your basic human nature, you wouldn’t feel the need to go chasing them by collecting more money than you need to live an enjoyable life.
Human: But aren’t some people just greedy?
Alien: Not from what I’ve seen. You’re all basically good people, but you labor under the false impression that your experience is determined from external things and circumstances. So you try to get specific things and circumstances from the world to get the feelings you want. “Greed” is just an expression of an underlying fear that one day there might not be enough things to make you happy.
If you could see that but for some of your Thought-created realities, life is beautiful and aliveness is the real coin of the realm, you’d be happy and content most of the time with whatever you’ve got and would organically fall in to a natural, healthy relationship with what you call “money”.
Human: But why would I still want money if I was happy and content and didn’t need more things? Wouldn’t I just sit around all day and contemplate my navel? Society would collapse!
Alien: Wow – you do have a flair for drama! My experience of you humans is that you’re intrinsically creative. When you don’t have a lot on your mind, the creative energy of Thought flows through you freely, and that freedom of mind seems to naturally lead you to engage with your fellow humans in ways that serve the highest good.
Human: You are one optimistic alien… but I do have one last question. What do I do to begin to change these patterns in myself?
Alien: One of your philosophers, a Scottish mystic named Syd Banks, said:
To find what you seek, abandon all thought that there is a separation between the spiritual and the physical world.
Contemplate that and you may find the answers that you are looking for…
While I can’t vouch for everyone’s motivation, I can’t fault people for wanting to make a living by contributing to the well-being of the planet. And to the extent that I see through my own made up ideas and concepts about money, I find it to be a remarkable convenience and a simple tool I can use in the midst of my already wonderful life.
Have fun, learn heaps, and happy exploring!
With all my love,