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Can money management be spiritual?

Posted August 31

Money is bad for your soul, wanting it is worse and having an abundance of financial resources is gravely unspiritual. That's a belief trap that some authors warn against, countering that there is nothing spiritually wrong with doing well financially.

The idea that money is bad and poverty ennobling can hold people back, Catholic author Heather King told Catholic publication America in April.

King said in America that she came from a household of “eight kids on a bricklayer’s salary” filled with “financial anxiety.” And that once she became a lawyer, she had a “deep fear of betraying my roots,” she continued.

“Equating poverty with holiness can become a spiritual trap where we’re seeking to become holy in the way we think we should be holy,” she said.

While the desire for money might be considered anti-spiritual and a symptom of materialism and greed, the blog mindbodygreen argues that way of thinking does more harm than good. Believing money is bad will only keep you from financial wellness.

It does not mean money is the source of happiness or that it makes things perfect, "but it's not useless either,” mindbodygreen said.

In her book "Loaded: Money and the Spirituality of Enough," King talks about accepting and internalizing that you have enough in your life.

“The point is to realize that I have enough riches, and I have enough poverty,” King told America. “I’m doing enough, growing enough, I am enough.”

Similarly, author Bari Tessler wants readers of her recently published book, "The Art of Money," to think about the phrase “your money situation is not really about the numbers,” Reuters said.

Money management requires managing your emotions as well, to understand your upbringing and your money story and how it affects you, Tessler told Reuters. Only after you’ve tackled your emotional and psychological baggage should you dive into the numerical stuff and your planned future, she advised.

Money itself is neutral, neither good nor bad, and if “actions with money are responsible and kind, then that's exactly what the money becomes,” mindbodygreen said. Author Shelly Bullard briefly recounted in the blogpost about a yoga teacher who asked her to imagine what the world would be like if most of its money was in the hands of the spiritually minded.

“I think more and more people are looking for a more holistic and values-based relationship to money,” Tessler told Reuters, calling it the “missing ingredient.”

Beliefnet.com had some suggestions on how to have spiritual approach to money:

  • Make peace with your money history. Write it down in a journal, uncensored. And then forgive yourself where you see flaws.
  • Understand that debt is trust that you will be good for the money you borrow.
  • Pray for your bills. Yes, pay them as well, but give thanks for the services you received, such as the utility bill that ensured you had a warm home and clean water.
  • Be self-aware of your judgments, and know that they only hurt you. Instead of indulging in assumptions such as “oil companies are greedy,” or “the rich are miserly,” wish for others what you want for yourself.
  • Share the wealth. It doesn’t need to be monetary wealth, as you could also donate your time and talent to others.
  • Bless your money. Whatever you praise increases because you are taking an interest in it.

Email: smanderson@deseretnews.com, Twitter: @Sarahsonofander.

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