Monday, May 13, 2013


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. Some liberal Christian theologians have tried to
soften Christ's apparently blanket condemnation of riches
by saying that what he really meant was that love of money
is at the root of all evil. The semantic difference is that in
the first statement money causes evil while in the second
it is only associated with it.

The issue of money and spirituality has changed since
Saint Francis of Assisi formed a band of impoverished brothers.
Saint Francis took literally a Biblical passage in which Christ
says to his disciples, "You have received the Gospel without
payment, give it to others as freely."
Begging monks were a tradition that was already centuries
old in India and China. 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 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.

If you live as though money brings the only happiness, clearly
something has gone wrong. Without holding moral judgments
against money, I must accuse riches of being a terrible distraction.
They hold us in the grip of a false self-image, that of being creatures
whose purpose on earth is to be prosperous and secure.

Our real purpose on Earth is very different, as every spiritual
tradition recognizes.
We are here to evolve and grow.
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 (Three Rivers Press, 2005).


No comments: