The Soul of Money
Here's how to square your daily financial decisions with your desire to do good.
BY: Lynne Twist with Teresa Barker
Money is so intricately interwoven with every other aspect of our lives than when we take a stand to make a difference with our life, it has an organizing effect on our relationship with money, and when we take a stand to make a difference with our money, it has an organizing effect on every other part of our life. In an aggressive consumer culture like ours, where the financial worth of everyone and everything is the dominant theme, it takes some courage to stand for something different.
There are many ways to break the silence and take action, but direct action with our money is one that is instantly available, personal, and powerful for each of us. Some of us may turn our attention to being more financially generous with organizations doing work that we want to support. Some of us may make a conscious effort to use our money more ethically, so we stop the flow of money toward those people and products that demean life. Some of us may devote ourselves to public service, or with our vote become advocates for socially responsible public spending by government on health, education, and safety.
However we choose, we express ourselves in the way we send our money into the world, and with every dollar goes the energy, the imprimatur, of our intention. The mind-set of scarcity and the longing for "more" lose their grip, and we begin to make different choices. Money becomes a conduit, a way to express our highest ideals. Money becomes the currency of love and commitment, expressing the best of who you are, rather than a currency of consumption driven by emptiness and lack and the allure of external messages.
One of the great dynamics of money is that it grounds us, and when we put money behind our commitments it grounds them, too, making them real in the world. We can wish for better schools, a clean environment, and world peace; we can even volunteer, but when we also put our money behind those intentions, we become really serious about them. Money is a great translator of intention to reality, vision to fulfillment.
When you live from a context of sufficiency and you take a stand for something, you open up your heart and the hearts of people in the world around you. Nobody thinks of Martin Luther King as a fund-raiser, but his stand for the rights of all people raised millions of dollars for civil rights work in this country. Mother Teresa raised tens of millions of dollars from people around the world who were moved by her to connect with their own longing to make a difference, and to make that statement with their money. This power is available to all of us; all people at all times in all sectors of society in all chapters of history.