Uniting Spiritual and Material Values
I have never accepted that money was the root of all evil. Yet the way of peace has to face the current dominance of greed.
The basic problem with money seems obvious: it pulls the mind towards worldly things, it fills up oneís hours with business and commerce, it distorts the true values of spirit by replacing them with pleasure and possessions.
To me, this doesnít say that money is evil or nonspiritual. 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.
Using Saint Francis as an example, his struggle of one personís soul caught between a successful career and poverty wasnít based on the things we normally think about, such as pleasure, security, social position, and the ability to raise a family. The struggle was between worldly success and what pleased God, as taught by the Church fathers. In the end, Saint Francis tired to embody those values that pleased God.
The things we normally think about (money serving to bring pleasure, security, social position, and the ability to raise a family) 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 isnít that you either live for him or you donít.
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.
Adapted from: Peace Is the Way, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2005).