This article was inspired by my dear friend, Dan.
So, let’s just jump straight into this because the chances are, if you are reading this, you want to know more about money.
Tto kick us off, just say the word ‘money’ and see what happens to you….. what do you feel in your body? Is it a tightness, a contraction or a feeling of expansion? Maybe you see it as a colour or a symbol? Does it make you feel strong or weak? Do you want more of it? Do you want less of it – or to have nothing to do with it? Might you even want both – to have it and to not have it?
Take a moment to breathe gently and process whatever has arisen, recognising that the feelings, emotions and thoughts which arose were all created by you in response to just a word, to a trigger.
Coming back to centre, let’s explore a bit more.
Many of these reactions spring from the idea that money is a vital part of our lives. When we say that, what exactly are we saying?
When ‘vital’ means ‘essential for my survival, without which I will cease to exist’ and we link our survival to our supply of money, then it is no wonder we experience strong reactions to even just the word. Anything which threatens our survival, such as an apparent shortage of money, brings up so much fear. When we stand in fear around money, which shows up as lack and scarcity – regardless of how much we have or do not have – our lives can contract. When we look around ourselves, everything we see can validate this contraction and it can be hard to see a way to change.
One way (and there are many) to change what we see is to change our language and this will change how we make sense of the world.
So, let’s have a look at the word ‘vital’ and we see it has other meanings beyond ‘essential for life’:
- Having remarkable energy, liveliness, or force of personality
- Affecting the existence, well-being, truth etc. of something
- Being the seat or source of life
When we can see money as something which has remarkable energy, liveliness or force of personality, a thing in itself, we can begin to see it as something we can engage with through relationship. By this, I mean we can start to explore how it shows up in our lives and, perhaps more challenging, how it makes us feel. We can use money as a mirror which shows us our relationship with it, with ourselves, with others. We can begin to see our worldview, the lens through which we interpret, measure, judge, discern what is happening to and around us.
We can do this is through the simple act of observation. We can observe ourselves and what happens in our body when we think of money, as in the exercise above. We can watch what goes through our mind and our body when we are making shopping choices, when we are charging for services or receiving our salaries. This can be an interesting way to get to know ourselves more fully as it shows us aspects of ourselves we were not in touch with – perhaps the envy we can feel when something is out of our financial reach, the sense of joy we can experience when seeing something which is beautifully made.
We can stroll down a High Street and look at the cars, go window shopping, people-watch and just observe our reactions. If this is difficult to do, we can start to observe others – not to judge (though we can observe ourselves as we do that…!) but to discern and learn. Usually, what we react to strongly in others can give us a clue to our own interior world.
Through the exploration of money in our lives, we can loosen the hold our current way of thinking about it has on us – maybe we think that it is necessary to have money if we want to be happy. That money provides us with security. We start to welcome opportunities to play with money, seeing how it can flow more easily when we are at ease with it. To strengthen this idea, we can put on some music and dance as if we are money – because our bodies are like vessels which are capable of reflecting our thoughts and our life experiences, we can feel through our movements where money is flowing, where it is stuck. We can release any ‘stuckness’ by visualising flow through that stiff or painful part of our body, knowing it will affect that part of our mindset which is blocked to the flow of money in our lives.
Meditations on flow and abundance can increase our awareness and mindfulness around money. By visualising ourselves as standing in golden light, seeing it flow into us from the skies above and being nurtured from the ground below us, we can shift our narrative and notice how our fear around money can transform into trust that what is required for our survival will be available to us – with an elegant sufficiency and not just the bare bones – as we require it. What we can imagine influences us in subtle ways – so if we can imagine money as a form of energy which flows easily to and through us, we can start to experience this in the world of form.
As we build a relationship with money, seeing it as a remarkable energy, liveliness or force of personality, we start to experience abundance. This is not the opposite of lack. The opposite of lack is excess. Abundance is an overflowing fullness through an opening of the heart. We are opening ourselves to love and to generosity. This generosity is a two-way street. We open to receiving and we open to giving. We develop an ‘attitude of gratitude’ and we learn what is of value to us and we learn how important it is to honour the value of everyone we transact with.
A beautiful way of experiencing abundance is through the contemplation of nature. Take some time to get out for a walk and really look at what is around you. Engage with the tiniest flower or insect you see. Look at how intricate and beautiful it is. Look at the trees, the sky, the clouds. If you don’t already have a practice like this, make a point of spending time just looking and connecting with what you see. Look at the rotting wood and see how many insects and fungi it supports. Nothing is wasted in nature, no matter how we might judge it. All is inter-connected and mutually beneficial. As you contemplate this, you may be inspired to think about how intricate and beautiful we are too; how inter-connected and mutually beneficial our lives are and how beautiful is our place in the world. We are learning about the true value of everything, including ourselves, the rich resources of the planet and all who live on it.
Learning about true value is a way of recognising that the vitality of money will affect the existence, well-being and truth of something.
As we develop a relationship with money – and with ourselves – and as we begin to see it as more than a ‘medium of exchange, a store of value and a unit of account’, we can see that most of our difficulties in life have resulted from a false belief in scarcity and lack, however we have come to this false belief. This can blind us to the value of another person or the value of what we are receiving from them. It can also blind us to our own value, expressing as low self-worth and a tightness when it comes to spending money. The evidence is all around us – cheap food, cheap clothes, the ‘race to the bottom’ when we are not able to pay a proper price for our goods and the services we receive so that the people involved in producing those goods and services are not truly valued, leading to sub-optimal lives and the waste of amazing human capacities.
We begin to perceive the distortions we have taken on through a false belief that only money can give something value and that there is not enough money to go around so we have to do what we can to earn it and hold on to it. We can then see these distortions playing out in the world, particularly where there is discrimination and exploitation. Currently, most of these distortions are projected onto money, as if it is money which creates them, rather than the unexplored interiors of each individual, coming together in a collective agreement on how to operate.
When we are in a healthy relationship with ourselves and with money, our impact on the world can contribute to a correction of these distortions and the creation of a fairer world.
It matters how we receive and how we spend our money as this influences what survives and thrives in the world – this is how we can partner with money to affect the existence, wellbeing and truth of our lives and our communities. We are much more willing to spend money when we feel a connection with what we are purchasing or supporting so the more we can explore our interiors and unpack the unconscious fears of lack and scarcity, the more we become agents for good, understanding and using money as love in action. Business can, indeed must, play a big part in this by creating an environment where everyone flourishes on a thriving planet. This is vitality for all.
The definition of vitality – being the seat or source of life – when linked to money brings us to a very interesting place. It may feel like it is bringing us back to survival and fear but in fact it is bringing us into alignment with our true Source. This is the spirit of who we are – and we can understand spirit as a capacity for awareness of our own selves within the world as well as the more transcendental meanings of Spirit and Source.
Our Vital Force is what keeps us alive, what supports us to function as a harmonious organism and it helps us to heal when this harmony is disturbed. If we erroneously give this role to a limited understanding of money (and indeed health, but that is another blog!), then we are depriving ourselves of our power to be healthy and harmonious. When we can see money as an expression of the creative energy of God or of Spirit, Consciousness, Source, then we can work with it to live a free, joyful, harmonious life.
Through this understanding of and connection with money we recognise that abundance, the overflowing fullness through an opening of the heart, i.e. love, is always available to us. We stand in it at all times. When it does not feel like that, it is not because we have left it but that we are acting ‘as if’ it is something we need to earn or achieve. When we appear to find ourselves outside of it, we can re-feel our connection to nature, to each other and to Source. We bring our awareness back to the place we have never actually left.
I want to finish with the words of Jeff Vander Clute, a dear friend and source of wisdom and inspiration for me. https://jeffvanderclute.com/about/
Money is a powerful teacher and an awakener of collective consciousness, wisdom, and capacities that can heal humanity and the planet. When we look beyond the distorted understandings that have been present in our cultures, we can see money as a force that loves us and is helping us to become a more mature and able species. With this awareness we can partner ever more skillfully with money to bring forth a flourishing and prosperous world for all. Money is a sacred ally. https://jeffvanderclute.com/articles/money-is-alive-and-well/