The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist, addresses the terrible myth that’s held us captive since birth – the myth of scarcity. The myth of scarcity includes three toxic lies: 1) that there is not enough, 2) that more is better, and 3) that’s just the way it is.
The book demonstrates, through many real life stories, examples, and citations by ecologists, biologists, and other scientists, that the myth of scarcity is a lie. Yes, there are finite resources in this world. This ensures a healthy relationship of respect towards our finite resources and assets. But, thoroughly examined, fully appreciated, and put to their highest and best use, they are enough. It is a law of nature – sufficiency. Just enough, no more, no less.
More is not better. In nature, people, plants and animals all grow to a certain size, and then stop. Nature develops and evolves through quality and complexity, not size or quantity.
To invalidate the third lie that supports the myth of scarcity – “That’s just the way it is”, we have this observation, from Willis Harman: “Society gives legitimacy, and society can take it away.”
We can take the legitimacy of money away. That is, we can take away money’s legitimacy as a measure of human value, success and accomplishment. The creation or hoarding of money is an insipid example of humankind’s value and accomplishment compared to music, sciences, arts, technologies, etc.
Just as scarcity is a myth buttressed by lies, sufficiency is a truth, supported by a scaffolding of natural laws. This is the second part of the book.
There are three laws of sufficiency. The first is that money is like water – it carries our energy and intention with it. If we lack commitment, if we give money to assuage our guilt for example, this money is worthless. It will not go far.
However, when we consciously direct the flow of our money, it becomes ‘blessed’, in that it reaps value far beyond the initial sum, again and again through time. We are thus called to look at the supply chain of money in both directions. How does money flow to us, and from us? Are we in integrity with every link in the flow, or are we contributing to the corruption?
The second law of sufficiency is that what we appreciate, appreciates. When we take stock of who we are, and all the people who love us unconditionally, who believe in us and support us, when we consider what they appreciate about us, as well as what they offer in terms of their support, we begin to get a truer sense of our wealth of resources and assets. When we direct our talents towards their best and highest use, the value multiplies.
The third law of sufficiency is the collaboration creates prosperity. This is about working in solidarity and respect with others. It’s about reciprocity as social currency, and charity as a partnership.
The third part of the book entails changing the world. It addressed how to tackle the ‘That’s just how it is” mentality. Lynne Twist has three recommendations: 1) take a stand, 2) change the conversation, and 3) leave a legacy of ‘enough’.
Twist calls personal and cultural money conditioning ‘life sentences’. Life sentences are phrases or ideas about money that we have each internalized into automatic assumptions that are never questioned. These assumptions keep us limited, and block the flow of energy and money in our lives. Some examples of life sentences include the phrase ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’, the ‘starving artist’ idea, and the gender distortions that occur around money in most cultures, such as that men should earn more than women, that women’s housework, child-raising, or farm work has no economic value, or that families must provide dowries for a daughter’s marriage. Twist calls for bringing such unconsciousness to light, and taking a stand on it.
To take a stand regarding money means to identify a place in the flow of money in your life that lacks integrity. If, for example, you work for a company that profits from the misery of others (debt collection companies come immediately to mind), and this is how your paycheck is met, you might consider finding a new place of employment. How might the purification of this money coming through you change your life? What new opportunities will present themselves?
Another way to take is stand is to examine the flow of your money outwards. Where do you spend it? On factory farmed meat? Luxury brands made in sweat shops? In hurting your body through too much alcohol? On rent to a real-state company glutton artificially driving up market values in your region and pushing people out of their homes? Your money makes a difference. As Twist says, ‘whether you’re a millionaire, or a dollar-heir,’ when you put your soul into your money, it goes a long way. Money talks. You can talk too, and be heard, loud and clear, through your money.
Changing the conversation means to talk about this, about how service to money, versus using money to express soul, is impacting your family, loved ones, friends, co-workers, and others in your sphere. Conversation creates the context of life.
Finally, leaving a legacy is about demonstrating your soul through your money by how you live life, and impacting others with it.
Lynne Twist’s The Soul of Money is a remarkable book and life-changing book. It is full of wisdom and inquiry that you can apply to your own life, to achieve the best and highest possible life available uniquely to you.
Questions for Self Inquiry: What is Your Relationship With Money?
The following questions were derived from the book for use in the ongoing Postmodern Zen class series.
1. What are some of your ‘life sentences’ – money phrases, constructs or belief system that bind and blind you in your relationship with money?
2. How has gender distortion personally impacted your intimate and professional relationships and your relationship with money?
3. From where does the money in your life ultimately flow? What people, resources, efforts? What is the supply chain?
4. Where does you money flow to?
5. Where is the flow murky in either direction?
6. Do you buy into the image of success and style? Or, do you invest money in ways that nourish (inner) life? What about for your children and grandchildren, or loved ones, where love is blind?
1. Name all the people in your family and each of your friends who loves you unconditionally, appreciates you, and believes in you.
2. Name the qualities, over time, that each of those people has said they appreciate about you.
3. What are your skills, talents, hopes and dreams?
4. Envision yourself as your future self, and discuss how you solved a problem from that perspective that you are facing now.
Changing the dream:
1. Choose an area in your life that’s lacking in alignment or integrity with your higher self, and make a stand. Share your stand with the group.
2. How do you propose to express your stand through your money choices?
3. Choose a conversation that you would like to change, in order to change the context of your life.
4. How do you personally envision modeling a life of ‘enough’?
For More Information:
The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist