Every expense is paid for with a bit of your time
Money is not profane. If a tree is sacred and a baby is sacred and if even baby shit is sacred?if everything is sacred?money certainly must be as well. It is part of the stuff of life.
Money is among our most sacred things because it is actually a representation of life force itself. The key to understanding this is to take a step back and ask: What is money really? How do I get it? How do I use it? A particularly insightful question to ask is, ?How much do I make?? Your answer will most likely be something like ?I make $10 per hour? or ?I make $45,000 per year.? And what that answer would clearly show is that you exchange time itself for money?the time remaining in your life. While it would be going too far to say that money actually is life force, it certainly represents it and is a primary means by which we exchange our life?s energy with that of other people. It is often how we exchange our life?s energy for the energy of the earth itself. How can money not be a key spiritual aspect of our lives?
When we receive money from our jobs?from exchanging our precious and finite time and energy for it?we don?t hoard it. We use some of that money for our survival needs and some for special treats. Maybe we save some or invest in a business or in education. When we spend money, we give it to other people in exchange for their using their precious time and energy to serve us. We pay people to bake us bread, build us homes, teach us, pave our roads, design our Web sites, and make us chocolate bars.
When we incur debt, we literally owe parts of our lives: time that we have not yet lived that must be given up to repay that debt. ?Wage slave? takes on a whole new meaning. What is paying for a home, or a car loan, or a student loan, or a credit card but literal indentured servitude? How much of hating our job is due to knowing in our bones that we are slaves unable to escape our masters?
How much money (time, that is) does it take you to live the lifestyle you are living? Many expenses don?t serve us, like that light bulb that is still turned on in the next room where no one is. Right now. How much less would it take to live if you cut out most of the waste? How much would it take to meet your needs if you wanted to spend every possible moment working on the truly important things in your life?
We all know how ?voting with dollars? affects the environment and society. When we purchase gasoline, we contribute to air pollution. When we purchase a hamburger, we are eating higher on the food chain than is sustainable. But what about how ?voting with dollars? affects our own lives? When we spend money on something that is good for us, that helps us grow, and that contributes to our community, we are affirming life. We are focusing our life energy on adding to our lives and growth. What about when we waste our money? It does not add to our lives to spend money on electricity for a light bulb nobody is using. In fact, it hurts us twice: once when we spent our time working for the money that we wasted, and again with the negative social and environmental consequences that come from energy overconsumption. Every expense we incur is paid for by a bit of our lives. Time lost at work, commuting, and job training is time that we never get back, time we cannot devote to what really matters.
Imagine that a rich relative left you an inheritance. There is enough money that you never have to work again if you keep your expenses low by sharing an apartment with roommates, using the bus instead of owning a car, cooking your meals at home, and so on. What would you do with your time? Would you work at all? Learn to play the piano? Crisscross the country attending antiwar demonstrations? Be a full-time parent? Where do your passions lie? Why aren?t you following those passions right now? Why aren?t you living that life? Is your path in life more important than living a lifestyle that obscures it? Can you make some changes to your lifestyle to rebuild your life around your passions? Will you?
Psy is debt-free. This selection was excerpted from Reclaiming Quarterly (Spring 2003), a spiritual and political magazine from the Witch community. Subscriptions: $20?$100 (4 issues) from Box 14404, San Francisco, CA 94114.