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I won't bore anybody with the details of the history of the monetary system itself since that content has been widely available for some time now. What I want to talk about is a fundamental shift in how we view our economy where everything is meant to serve us as divine human beings, rather than feeling like we are slaving away to earn small amounts of ever-depreciating currency. At the end of the day, money is just a thought in our minds, some numbers changing on a screen, and a few coins dropped into the hat of the man busking on the street.
It might not be accurate to say that money is "the problem" or the "root of all evil," although it can certainly feel that way. I like to look at it as the relationship we have formed with money and our perceptions of it that creates a lot of our suffering. For example, my first thought when I look at my bank balance is, "not enough." I imagine it may be the same even for people like Donald Trump as well. The perception of lack of money can be projected even if no true lack exists.
What do I usually worry about with my wife? What creates arguments or domestic discord among couples and families? Rhetorical questions these are, since the majority of humanity is collectively suffering from money woes, no matter what the numerical realities may actually be.
I remember being in awe about the whole concept of money as a young boy. My mother told me dad was at work "making money." My only physical reference to money was the few coins I sometimes played with on the carpet. I pictured my dad at work literally making money like a blacksmith pounding the raw metals into these coins and coming home with a big sackful of them and hefting them onto the kitchen table.
Blissful naiveté soon gave way to, "you need to get a part-time job this summer, you can't just be sitting around the house." And so it goes; thoughts of money begin to predominate our psyche and our bodies follow suite in relentless pursuit of it. As a long-time practitioner of meditation, I am amazed at the sheer volume of "money-thoughts" that bounce around in even a short period of time. These thoughts are second only to an even more primal consideration that usually begins in early teenage years.
If I had as much money as I had thoughts and worries about money, I wouldn't need to worry about money anymore, although I probably still would. This is the insatiability and rapacious nature of this kind of thinking. We see millionaires and billionaires who are still seeking ever more, often at the cost of those who could benefit from some philanthropy.
What we can do on an individual basis is realize that everything is meant to serve us, and in turn, we are able to serve one another. Money can be put in its proper place as a resource that we can use to further positive change within our own lives and the world as a whole. Economic growth for its own sake can be replaced with a heart-centered approach that promotes more community endeavors. The local food and artisan movement is a good example of this. If more people are able to grow food and make simple products themselves, there will be higher quality products available in the local area at lower costs. The money that is exchanged will circulate more directly between community members, and barter and trade can begin to play a more central role in people's lives.
This is a part of reclaiming our own power and sovereignty. The monetary system only has power over us if we are afraid for our survival and believe in a lack of love and benevolence from the universe and our fellow humans. Restoring our faith in the goodness of ourselves and our community will allow us to put our fears aside as we move into a paradigm based more on reciprocity and mutual service. Since we are all essentially struggling with the same worries and concerns, we can lighten the load for everyone the more we are willing to cooperate and work towards common goals.