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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