Money & Spirituality : a myth of separation

UnknownMoney and Spirituality both touch upon the human experience deeply; and the closer you look, the more you see that there are many similar concepts between the two.

However, the love-hate relationship we have with money leads to a seemingly insurmountable dichotomy in which thoughts of money may produce feelings of angst and anxiety vs transcendence and peace.

Because of our potentially mixed feelings surrounding money, we may have the tendency to separate our thoughts about it from the rest of our lives and especially from our views, philosophy and approach to spirituality. When this happens, we compartmentalize our life and divide different aspects of ourselves.

Why is it so natural to create boundaries separating our secular (that which is worldly and temporal) from our spiritual and religious beliefs? James Hillman, the psychologist and author, observes that human history is a series of images, dreams, tales, geographies, stories, figures, and lessons learned, not historical fact but imaginative thinking. He concludes that we live with a world view consisting of myths. We have created a whole series of myths that surround our financial lives. These social conventions limit our view of ourselves and our relationship with money. This division we create between our secular and religious lives creates a potential battle line. How can we deal with this internal conflict?

Our financial and spiritual lives are intertwined and separating them is an illusion. The distinctions we draw between our tangible earthly desires and our intangible spiritual needs are really stories; myths that we have accepted. If we look closely, we will see many fundamental connections between the two. Our destiny is to accumulate the lessons learned, to retell these stories and then make our own changes and twists.

In this way, our illusions and myths separating financial and spiritual thought will disintegrate because the divisions never really existed in the first place. If we fail to connect the two, we compartmentalize ourselves and our lives. We become two separate identities instead of one unified being.

The interconnectedness of our outward actions and our inward evolution must be realized before we truly can live a powerfully balanced, whole life.

If we are to be truly successful at living, we must be genuine and consistent in our beliefs about finances, money and spirituality.

—Edited from review of James Hillman on Spiritual Finance

Two questions to consider:

  • Do you have beliefs of your own that create a conflict between money and spirituality?
  • If there is conflict, is it real or imagined, and if real, is it resolvable?

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