Money and the Spiritual Path: Being a bridge

Abandoned_Railway_Cutting_in_OtleyFor many people who are committed to spiritual growth, a major question is how to combine spiritual path with generating an income.  This is often a tricky area because many people who seek to integrate path and income also seek to bring something new into the world. So, almost by definition, what we seek to bring into the world is not widely recognised as valuable or useful – otherwise it would already be in existence!

It’s easy to go into despair about money and our spiritual path – or go into anger and resentment.  These two common emotional responses keep us focused on money as a stumbling block.  But what if our struggles around money are trying to tell us about something else? Continue reading Money and the Spiritual Path: Being a bridge

Value, Money and Privilege

I recognise I create value for the community by offering my skills and knowledge in an accessible way i.e. being queer-trans in the queer-conscious-sex-positive community, and offering my service as cheaply and as flexibly as I can sustain.
I know that value is recognised, because I often get feedback about it.  Which is extremely lovely.
But at least two things that can get in the way of that value flowing into the community: money, and privilege.

Continue reading Value, Money and Privilege

Money, relationships and physical survival

As children we are socialised into connecting money with physical survival. This is culturally specific – other cultures connect physical survival with the community and/or the land or spiritual beings. But in Western cultures (and many other cultures too) having no money brings up deep fears about not being able to survive.

In the West money is a key index to the distribution of physical resources. In many cultures, people live within networks of gift and obligation, where physical resources are distributed according to the web of obligation relationships which ensure the whole community’s wellbeing. Continue reading Money, relationships and physical survival

The diary of Thomas Wood

My dad’s family, the Woods, come from a coal-mining village just outside of Birmingham – a little place called Baddesley Ensor. My great great grandad Thomas was born there in 1813, and grew up with his surviving sister and seven brothers (4 died as babies).  As was the way of things then, the boys went down the mine, and some stayed their whole lives.  But Thomas got out of the mine and set up as a butcher.

I’ve been fortunate recently to come across a diary Thomas kept from 1865 up to his death in 1884.

Continue reading The diary of Thomas Wood

Loving the financial reports

A good friend accuses me of reading bank old_account_ledgerstatements for pleasure.  It’s true!

Financial reports give us a unique picture of our activities.  As we go about our daily activities in business we are taken up with the immediacy of talking with customers, and with the focus on delivering our special products or services, and paying the bills, and dealing with the landlord, and … and … and attending to all the myriad details which are part of running a business.

Financial reports give us a totally different perspective on all that daily activity. Continue reading Loving the financial reports

Our culture’s emotions around money

Money brings up strong emotions for most people.  Talk about money for any length of time raises feelings of fear, greed, envy, anxiety, and of lack or “not enough”.

boy goes to the cityAre these feelings just inevitable around money? Definitely not!

The emotions we commonly feel in relation to money are highly specific to our Western culture (and many other cultures too).  Some cultures simply do not feel these emotions around money.  For instance, this young man from rural Paraguay is indignant that money should be so closely associated with food: Continue reading Our culture’s emotions around money

Money is a litmus test of spiritual alignment

It’s very common among people with a spiritual bent that money, commercialism and profit are seen as a negative. As Bob Dylan once said, “Money doesn’t talk; it swears obscenities.”  Even more comprehensive is the old aphorism “Money is the root of all evil.”

I think these quotes don’t actually talk about money itself. Rather, they reflect one aspect of the very schizophrenic attitude that the West has towards money. On the one hand money is inherently bad and as far away from ‘spiritual’ as you can get.  On the other hand money is the main measure of social success and progress Continue reading Money is a litmus test of spiritual alignment