The basic problem with money seems obvious: It pulls the mind toward worldly things, it fills up one’s hours with business and commerce, it distorts the true values of spirit by replacing them with pleasure and possessions. To me, this doesn’t say that money is evil or non-spiritual. It says that money is a distraction, and sometimes so powerful a distraction that people fail to go beyond it. The failure here is to unite spiritual and material values, but I believe the way of peace shows us that this is not only desirable but totally necessary.
Money serves to bring pleasure, security, social position, and the ability to raise a family. Those are good values, and there is no reason to suppose that they displease a God who loves his creation. God is not either/or in my view. It isn’t that you either live for him or you don’t. The process of integrating material life, with all the good it has to offer, and spiritual life, with all the good it has to offer, is a lifelong challenge.
If you live as though money brings the only happiness, clearly something has gone wrong. You have neglected the entire world of spirit, with the implication that the surface of life is enough. We are here to discover who we are. We are here to transform our surroundings in keeping with who we really are.
Great spiritual teachers have said that we are ultimately here to transcend matter, to worship our maker, to appreciate the infinite creation and learn humility before it. All those things may emerge once we know who we really are. That is life’s central mystery, and money doesn’t come close to answering it.
Adapted from Peace is the Way, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2005).