Money and the Meaning of Life (Part 1)

“Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.” Jesus – (Matthew 22:21)

For several months now I’ve known that what’s next in my own personal journey along the Purposeful Path is to delve more deeply into my relationship with money and finance. I’ve said it several ways — to have a breakthrough, a transformation, to create a new relationship with money — one that is more empowering and that gives me access to greater freedom and power in this important part of the physical/material world.

As is often the case with transformation, it’s been a real roller coaster ride that has included coaching sessions where I mostly sat in silence, or wept uncontrollably as I’ve remembered scenes from my childhood when my mother would lock herself in the bathroom and threaten to take her own life because she was so tired of trying to raise her two sons alone and without enough money to pay the bills.

Not long after that call with my coach I remembered a book I had read several years ago — Money and the Meaning of Life by Jacob Needleman. I knew as soon as I found it again on the shelf that it was time to read it again, though it’s really felt like reading it for the first time. I must have been asleep the first time through.

============= We Live in Two World & Are of Two Natures =============

This is a fundamental truth that Needleman builds upon throughout the book:

“The very essence of the idea of man that we find at the core of all great teachings of all times and places is that we human beings are two-natured…. One force alone can never bring meaning into human life. Meaning appears only in the place between the worlds, in the relationship of two worlds, two levels, two fundamental qualities of power and energy.”

One of those worlds is the material or physical world; the other is the spiritual or nonphysical world. Each world has its own “ruler,” and in the material world MONEY IS KING, while in the spiritual world God (or whichever name you care to use) rules.

And humankind?

We have the daunting task to try to keep some balance, some stability while teetering between the two worlds — one foot in the material and one in the spiritual. Thus:

“Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.” Jesus – (Matthew 22:21)

To which Needleman writes: “In my opinion, the entire problem of life in contemporary culture can be defined as the challenge to understand that saying of Jesus. It is not so simple; in fact, it is immensely difficult.”

I agree.

He continues: “It requires that we begin to understand what in ourselves belongs to the transcendent realm and what to the material realm. And then to give to each what is due to each — no more and no less.”

From this arises the question, “What is the relationship that we can develop between these two worlds — worlds that often feel so far apart as to cause us to wince in pain from such a gigantic split — that will ultimately result in a satisfying, fulfilling and joyful life — a life on purpose?

================== Who Counsels the Money King? ==================

I remember in many of the stories of long ago when kings and emperors ruled the lands that oftentimes there was a special person who had the ear of the king. It may have been an archbishop, or the Sheriff of Nottingham, or a wise wizard or other adviser.

And depending on how well the king listened and how well the advise was that came from this adviser, the people of the land either flourished or suffered.

So, as I’ve been exploring my own realm, it’s come to me that perhaps one way to bring these two diverse worlds of the physical and spiritual closer together is to listen to the Most High Counselor, the Wisest of Wizards, the Supreme Sheriff of All — through my connection with Divine Source.

In other words, what if our physical world and our dealings with money and finances were shaped by our growing connection with Spirit? What I’ve come to realize over the past few months, is that something else comes available when I take my financial matters as seriously as I take my spiritual life.

Taking something seriously doesn’t mean becoming obsessed with it and having it rule my entire life. It does mean putting in time to know what’s what around the ‘number’ and to plan for how best to utilize these physical resources.

I’m also suggesting that when we allow the ‘spirit world’ to have the ear of the ‘money king’ we are better able to stay in balance as we stand in both worlds.

================ Where Does Life Purpose Come In? ================

Now, where does one’s life purpose play into all of this, you may ask, and for sure I’ve been asking that myself. It seems to me that knowing one’s Divinely Inspired Life Purpose with crystal clarity provides a powerful way to relate to and listen to this guidance.

For example, as I begin to awaken in the morning, I can take a few minutes to give thanks for another day — another 16-18 hours or so during which I can live true to my life purpose. Since my life purpose statement helps me to get in touch with my true Self, I may spend some time with a purposeful practice to connect more deeply with who I truly am BEFORE exposing myself to the bright lights and glitter of the material world.

I then allow the connection to the Divine that’s available when I’m in touch with my true Self to stay in my awareness as I travel through the physical world which also includes my relationship with money and finance.

One purposeful practice that Ann and I have re-committed to is meeting at least weekly to review our family and business financial matters. And we start each of these “Fun with Finance” meetings with a purposeful prayer time to be sure that Divine Spirit has the ear of the money king.

Since I believe in the power of affirmations, I’d like to close this article with one:

“I take my money matters seriously as I allow my connection with the Divine direct my financial decisions, choices and actions. And so it is.”

Since founding Life On Purpose Institute, Inc. in 1996 Dr. Brad Swift has become one of the country’s foremost authority on personal life purpose, authoring the book, Life On Purpose: Six Passages to an Inspired Life ( [] ) — an award winning finalist in the Self-Help: Motivational division of the Best Books 2007 Awards sponsored by USA News. It’s the first and only how-to book that guides people from confusion to clarity about the most important question: “Who am I and why am I here?”

An avid student of the human development movement and New Thought, he specializes in life purpose coaching with individuals and groups. Through the Coaches Mentoring Program, he trains aspiring coaches to carry on the

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The US Economy – The Real Issue – Global Finance and Global “Free-Trade”

The Jackson Hole conclave of central bank chiefs came and went, leaving hardly a ruffle behind. The remarkable fact is that it had so little effect, despite the much expected speech on the U.S. economy by Mr. Bernanke of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Mr. Bernanke’s main field of study as an academic economist has been the Great Depression. As the current “Great Recession” developed the Fed’s primary concern therefore was to avoid the policy mistakes that turned the 1929 stock market crash into a disastrous ten-year downturn. Chief among these errors was the failure to provide abundant liquidity to the financial system.

Accordingly super-abundant liquidity was provided this time around, under the form of an intensive bank bailout, huge deficit spending, the creation of money, zero interest rates and a raft of financial facilities. As a result there was, initially, an economic bounce. But as this “recovery” now appears to be rapidly fading, the question bears asking: “Everything that should have been done has been done, but the effects are not up to expectations. Was something missed?”

Yes, it was. While study of the Great Depression can certainly teach us a lot, it was over 70 years ago.

Today we would not make a study of transportation on the basis of 1930 technology. At that time air transport was a minor factor. Today it is a major one.

In a similar vein, in 1930 our economy was almost entirely national, and all its components were within the reach, if not the control, of federal authorities. Today’s economy is globalized.

Global finance means that the sums moved daily around the world by private interests (many of them speculative) dwarf anything the U.S. government can muster. Foreign exchange transactions alone involve $4 trillion per day. In other words, the value of our currency is out of the government or anyone else’s control.

Global “free trade” translates into entire industries being transferred, within a few years, to whatever locations multi-national company executives may choose. With the industries go the jobs, services, investments and taxes.

In other words, whatever the government does might have a bigger impact in another country than it does in the United States, and much of the money spent will end up in China rather than Virginia or California. The same happens to jobs, whether they are existing ones that disappear abroad, or “newly created ones”, which materialize directly in foreign, low-cost locations.

The U.S. government and the Fed are pumping air into a leaky tire. Unless the leak is fixed, they can pump for years, but the tire – our economy – will stay flat.

U.S. authorities are treating the economy as if it was a constant entity, to which government spending can add, thereby creating growth. But the economy, and the wealth that goes with it, are no longer tied to the national territory and its population. Because U.S. political and economic leaders have chosen to practice an “open border” economic policy, wealth and activity have been flowing out for the past two decades. As a result, many “American” corporations have more interests abroad than they have here. They will invest, and create jobs, where their interests are.

If it is more profitable, short-term, to manufacture in China, that is where investments will be made. Profits will rise (and they have) but so will U.S. unemployment (and it has). The Fed will keep the money printing press running, and the administration will increase the deficit, and the “jobless recovery” will go on, until something gives.

If we want a real return to prosperity, we need to deal with this issue. Otherwise we will slide into another depression, with all the consequences this entails, political as well as economic.

Globalization has been presented to us as progress, the “next economic thing”, the way to world prosperity, and so on. Given the situation that the world economy is in, as well as our own, we need to reconsider.

Jacek Popiel was born in Poland and educated in Africa, Canada, a

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