5 Nuggets of Wisdom from “Money and the Meaning of Life”
Have you ever read a book in which every page resonated with you? It’s a beautiful feeling, like Spirit connecting with itself. I recently had this experience reading “Money and the Meaning of Life” by Jacob Needleman. Every word and story rang true for me. Below are 5 nuggets of wisdom that I found particularly powerful:
1. Instead of rejecting the lower, material part of us, we can choose to integrate it.
As long as we have bodies and lives on this world, the lower aspect of our nature is necessary. As obvious as that is, we on a spiritual path still sometimes think we should reject our material aspect. This rejection of part of our nature is just as misguided as a rejection of our spiritual aspect. Needleman teaches us that we can harmonize the higher with the lower, the spiritual with the earthly. In this view, the goal is to balance the higher and lower.
2. Money is more important than we think it is.
“To turn our attention away from the lower nature is to invite its blind action in our lives.”
We often treat money as unimportant, but it is involved with everything. Ignoring money is ignoring half our nature (the “lower” half). A solution isn’t to obsess over it, but to put it in its proper place.
3. We need a new attitude toward money.
“One needs to discover a wish that is stronger than the ego, and to which the ego can assent. And when you are willing to see how you compromise everything of real value because of the force of money, then it is possible to be remembered by the higher forces within."
What is your purpose? What is meaningful and valuable to you? When you know your purpose in your heart, money can support your “higher” aspects.
4. Bringing awareness to our experience with money can be a spiritual practice.
“Outer life can support the inner work when the demands of life are taken as a challenge to one’s attention, as a reminder that one needs to cultivate the question of who I am and what in this moment is devouring my attention .... nothing brings that more often and more dependably than the challenge of money."
When we notice that we are acting unconsciously, we have the opportunity to bring more awareness to the moment. When we recognize what we’re feeling, we can start to understand why we might be feeling it; only then is transformation possible.
5. Money has the power to bring reality into situations.
"Every day money exposes the discrepancy between what we are and what we want to be."
Think of a good friend. Bring your awareness to how you feel about them, what you would do for them. Now picture them asking you if they can borrow $100 (or $500 or $1000)? What changes do you notice?
Personally, I find this brings up questions of self-worth, and the distinction between self-care and selfishness. Money can help us notice we are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually at this moment.
Do any of these nuggets resonate with you? I’d love to hear any reflections you have in the comments below.