“The love of money is the root of all evil.” What if that ubiquitous saying is flat-out wrong? What if, instead, true love of money returns many benefits spiritual and material, including a more sane, kind and profitable economy for everyone? What if you love money according to the definition in Paul’s 1 Corinthians 13, where love is defined as patient, kind and many more wondrous things?
If love is one of the most powerful forces for good in the universe, then loving money must also be a powerful force for good.
Consider just the loving aspects of patience and kindness. Loving a child with patience and kindness includes nurturing not just his creative spirit and self worth, but also her respect for the boundaries of others. Loving a friend or spouse means accepting their imperfections and helping to meet their needs with joy, but not allowing abuse from them.
When I truly love money, I can’t do un-loving things to it, like put it on a pedestal or demand that it make me feel better about myself. Nor can I allow it to hold me or my values in bondage.
Having patience with money means no more investments or credit cards where I’m too busy to understand the terms. It means foregoing the heady excitement and sense of entitlement like I had in the 90’s when I watched my 401 (k)’s “worth” grow so fast, than I became enraged when it dropped to less than a 15% return, then lost money.
Loving money also means discerning the impact of my earning and spending, even when it costs more to support fair trade than to buy cheap stuff from companies that exploit the land or people. It means giving up the illusion that I am somehow more spiritual than those who have more money and admitting that underneath this illusion are some pretty unspiritual things like arrogance or fear. It means taking on more of the scary tasks of money-making, particularly marketing and selling, with patience and kindness.
And it means being patience and kind with all the parts of me that are not patient or kind around money, work and everything else– like the parts of me that are in a hurry to get this post done and the parts of me that resist doing it and the parts that are so into perfection that I can never get anything done.
Imagine loving money with patience and kindness as a personal and corporate strategy.
That’s actually happening way more than is reported, even when the words “patience” or “kindness” aren’t used. Many examples can be found in the spirit and work movement, the trends towards socially responsible businesses and investing, and the slow money movement.
Money itself is experiencing an extreme makeover through the conscious capitalism movement. Patricia Aburdene, author of Megatrends 2010: The Rise of Conscious Capitalism reported in the most recent edition of Enlighten Next Magazine that half the Fortune 500 companies actually already practice at least a little conscious capitalism. She reports how these companies have turned away from “the worship of profits while ignoring the long-term costs of earning them” to business that “embraces all its stakeholders — investors, customers, communities, employees, and the environment.”
Profit is alive and well in conscious capitalism, and the bottom line of conscious capitalists benefit greatly from increased customer and employee loyalties. One of the things that’s needed for the benefits of conscious capitalism to become more popular is for it to be reported more and for a new standard helps us assess the material value of such values as compassion and long-term thinking.
That’s a subject we touched on here several months ago, in a call to let go our obsession with the latest burps of the Dow and instead focus on a more long-term Tao (meaning way or path to wisdom, among other things) that takes care of the immediate needs and the future, while leaving plenty of good things for generations to come.
What’s your vision for how your relationship with money could be transformed with patience and kindness?
What thoughts stir about the true love of money when you read and meditate on 1 Corinthians 13?
What other sacred texts from any faith, poetry or quotes inspire true love of money for you?
What practices help you truly love any aspect of your relationship to money?
As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome. Many blessings, Pat McHenry Sullivan