How do you view money and spirituality? How do these ideas relate, in your mind, heart, and experience?
The intersection of money & spirituality has fascinated me for years. I’d like to share 3 views about it:
View #1: More Spiritual = Less Money
This is what we find in traditional scriptures, e.g. Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, Baha’i, and others.
Check out this amazing webpage that collects verses from various scriptures about how it’s better to have less money:
I’m sympathetic toward this view. I deeply respect these traditional scriptures. However I don’t agree with the typical interpretations of it — I don’t think less money always equals more spiritual — see my final viewpoint below.
I do think money has become too important for most human beings. Greed, as well as fear of not having enough money, is a real problem for society, and for the spirit.
Money = Security?
The more money, the more feelings of security you’re supposed to have, right? There’s a fascinating article in The Atlantic that describes how many of the super-rich feel anxious, fearful, *not* secure, not even financially.
Money = Prestige?
This is a dominant, but unspoken assumption, in my industry of business/marketing coaching.
The more money you charge, the more prestigious you are.
Observe this assumption the next time you see the marketing messages from people like me. Get a “6 figure income!”, or Build a “7 figure business!” is tapping into people’s desperation for prestige, to get respect from others.
If you tie your self-worth to how much money you make, or have, then you’ll be in trouble: you’ll never have enough.
It’s time to call the B.S. on the “charge what you’re worth!” message, and separate Money (a transactional symbol) from your Self Worth (which I hope you know, is infinite. You are worth more than any money in the world.)
Another assumption is that those who charge more are more experienced. There’s a seed of truth in that. But I encourage you to look past this shallow assumption. Some who charge a lot, are not that experienced, nor effective, than some who charge less.
Money = Pleasure?
You can buy delicious and delightful things, and go on vacations, if you have more money…. right? This is another insidious assumption, which has a seed of truth, but greater pitfalls.
First of all, more pleasure often means more addictions, over-satiation, and laziness. True and lasting pleasure is found in the journey of personal / character / spiritual growth, which can mean many things — from enlightenment practices, to the pursuit of excellence, to a deep love of literature.
You don’t need money to have pleasure, and to equate the two is a vicious cycle toward anxiety and addiction.
Money = Power?
Again, this appears to have a seed of truth, but with dastardly consequences for one’s soul. Money buys elections, as well as domination over others. The more people you can pay to do your bidding, the more power you have, right? This appears to be true, for those who haven’t experienced — or have forgotten — that True Power is self-control, self-confidence, equanimity, and a stable connection to one’s divine source.
View #2: More Spiritual = More Money
Do people really think this?
…and many of the Business/Marketing/Spiritual experts I’ve seen out there.
It is true that if you:
* Develop a positive mental attitude
* Think about / visualize your money goals all the time
…then you have a better chance of getting more money.
But here’s the problem with this — these are mental skills, that some “gurus” have elevated into “spiritual laws”… they put these money-getting skills on the level of their teachings about spirituality and spiritual growth.
How large of a role does a positive mental attitude + the ability to visualize goals such as money… part of the whole picture of Spirituality and spiritual growth? For the Law of Attraction crowd, money plays a huge role.
If you don’t believe me, watch some of these videos:
View #3: Detach Money and Spirituality
Whatever financial state you are in, you can be deeply spiritual… or not spiritual at all.
I believe you know what spiritual means. Spiritual is not “someone with less money” nor “someone who can manifest money.”
What about being a human embodiment of Virtues, Divine Love, The Great Spirit?
I see a spiritual person as someone who feels very connected to their deepest source of joy, peace, and love. It isn’t the ability to earn money, nor to have less of it.
Some wealthy people are spiritual. Some wealthy people are not.
Some poor people are spiritual. Some poor people are not.
What we need is detachment between Money and Spirituality, between “being spiritual” and “being able to manifest money”.
Let us remember that whatever financial circumstance we find ourselves in, at any moment in our life, the Great Spirit is always calling us closer, toward greater embodiment of spirit. We can practice spiritualtiy, no matter what.
Today, let’s be spiritual. Let’s also take care of our financial life, whatever our goals may be. And let’s be wary of the teachers we follow, that mistakenly connect spirituality with money.
“Do not let money steal your heart, so it rules your life like a despot. Usefully manage money by understanding the law of brotherhood that brings us together.” — Chico Xavier