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
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.