I don’t want to detour us for too long on the history of money (which I invite you to go back and read from my posts, starting in September of 2007). But I believe it is important for our recovery to come to a clear understanding of the programming we’ve received, in how we relate to money, wealth, and plentifulness.
In Europe, the meaning of money changed during medieval times. For thousands of years, it had been considered, either directly, or symbolically, a manifestation of the Divine. But with the growth of Christianity, a double-bind was created for the first time. On the one hand, the love of money (and money itself) was vulgar, the root of all evil, and a leftover symbol of the material decadence associated with the despised culture of ancient Rome. Yet, money was also a measure of God’s love. It was judged as proof of one’s goodness to have wealth, especially when that wealth was given to the Church in exchange for spiritual favors.
In other words, you were damned if you were wealthy, and damned if you were not.
With this conflicted foundation, we moved into the Renaissance and modern ages. Like sex was for the prudish Victorians, money and wealth became the taboo dark desire of the culture: we need it, long for it and are moved by it in mysterious, deep ways. Yet we pretend it does not matter, that it is crass, trivial, and not a subject that nice people discuss openly.
Which makes it not too surprising that we keep having so much trouble with it. Even now, there are new variations on this same old theme. For instance, in a New Age twist, some would tell us that if you are not as financially comfortable as you’d like, it is because of some karmic payback you are experiencing (translation: maybe you’re good now, but you must have been bad before).
Or perhaps you don’t have enough because you have not mastered the special skills and secrets of creative visualization, meditation, guru teachings, or cosmic clarity. (Don’t worry; for only $19.99 a month, subscribe to our three-year program of subliminal hypnosis prosperity CDs and soon wealth will be yours. Certainly it will be ours).
Money has value because of the energy that we give it. That value comes from the stories we tell, the rarity we believe (or create) about it, and the complexity of the structures and histories that are associated with it.
Today, I invite you to consider your basic beliefs about wealth, money, and their availability to you. Perhaps you have family members who were immigrants to America, in search of the opportunities here that are absent in other parts of the world. Maybe your roots are hardscrabble pioneers or working families that saw serious hard times. Or perhaps you come from more comfortable beginnings. How have your family’s past dreams, struggles, ease, or loss affected your own assumptions about money and people who have it?
We’ll see tomorrow just how powerful these personal and societal myths about money are right now, today. Stay tuned!