The relationship between Spirituality and money is complicated, and was long before we entered this phase of late-stage capitalism.
The image for this post is from my Daily Messages (January 25th). The text reads:
Abundance just is. Much like gravity, it just exists within the universe. Lack, its assumed opposite, is simply the illusion of the absence of abundance. It isn’t real.
This does not, in any way, prevent us from believing in it to the point where we make lack a palpable quality in our lives, but the simple truth is that lack is an illusion.
The key question then becomes: How do we dissuade ourselves from this illusion?
Allow yourself to become aware of the manifestations of abundance in your life. What do you have? What does the world serve up to you on a silver platter?
Please note that this is different than focusing on what you have that others don’t, because then you are still focusing on lack.
Create a daily list, every morning, on awakening. Who loves you? Who do you love? What are the joys in your life? What blessings did you receive the day before?
You will be surprised, as you try this for more than a week on a daily basis, at how many more items appear on your list.
Money is just a representation of an exchange of energy, anything else we’ve attached to that is ours to deal with. And those issues have been oh-so-very-loud in recent months as the economic rug has been pulled out from under our feet. Resentment towards economic disparity causes some people to see money itself as a negative thing, when it is just a tool. The United States has made an art of turning the economy into a religion; this is why people can “loose faith” in the economy. Turning money into a god is the worst form of idolatry I can think of. Money is a tool, and a tool based on fiction (there is no physical backing to the currency of any developed nation). Losing faith is an illusion actually sounds like a brilliant plan.
Why not determine value, and therefore abundance and prosperity, by something that is actually in your power? By something that you can define? Allowing someone else to define value for you is disempowering and makes no sense. You are in abundance when you decide you are in abundance. When you can define the terms of enough for yourself, you are much more likely to reach that point, because it is an internal sensation, subjective, personal. When every person gets to decide for themselves the value of things, we set ourselves up as a community for more win-win situations. If that sweater you have isn’t of much value to you, but you really love avocados, and I have an avocado tree (which often means having too many avocados), and I really like your sweater, we can trade, and we both feel like we’ve gotten a good deal; no one has been taken advantage of.
Late-stage capitalism revolves around the idea of taking advantage of someone else. The quarantine has shown us how valuable teachers, grocery store employees, and fast food workers are. All of those businesses have been deemed essential. And yet the are some of the most economically=taken-advantage-of groups in the country. In Los Angeles, where I live, gardeners are deemed essential workers, because how things look has value here. Personally, I fired mine ears ago, because they weren’t handling my property the way I wanted it handled and I would rather garden than worry that someone is going to kill plants I consider valuable. Gardeners in Los Angeles are paid so little that they are often undocumented immigrants. If our economy made sense, the people who did jobs we consider to be essential would be paid a living wage, would be treated with dignity and respect, and they wouldn’t have to scramble make ends meet. If our economy made sense, everyone could find their niche, providing a service they took pride in, and earn a living wage. The only people who seem to have a problem with the concept of a universal guaranteed income, or food assistance or health care for all, are people who take advantage of the current system and can’t see how people wouldn’t take advantage of a more equitable one.
So wouldn’t it make sense that Spirituality should redefine the economy, rather than devaluing people by deciding that the current representation of an exchange of energy is inherently bad? Doesn’t it already play into the hands of the people taking advantage of the system to allow our efforts to be devalued? Following this line of reasoning, doesn’t it make a certain amount of sense that we have encouraged a disparity of wealth, resulting in late-stage capitalism, by playing along with an externally-defined concept of value?