(Week 20 - Friday, Dec. 26)
The lead-up to the winter solstice, the darkest time of the year, has come to be illuminated by a fantastic profusion of bright lights heralding holiday festivities. This is ostensibly to celebrate the advent of the brightest spiritual light ever to incarnate in the earth over two millennia ago. What follows for many is a season of "Holy Nights" (Christmas to Epiphany) that is marked by a turning inward to meditate upon the outer events and inner experiences of the preceding year, and a prayerful contemplation of the new year to come.
There is understandably a tendency to shy away from devoting further attention to the subject of money in this soul-searching, especially given the fit of holiday shopping and material consumption that has come to precede Christmas, but, I would suggest, this is precisely the time when it would be well to meditate upon money in its deepest and most spiritual sense.
To seed the process, I have offered below a fresh perspective on the Garden of Eden story common to Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The late Joseph Campbell, renowned American mythologist, observed that in creation myths from all around the world mankind began his earthly sojourn in a Garden-like setting from which by virtue of his own rebellion he became estranged. My feeling is that there is a foundational universality to this story that speaks to people whether they are of the Christian, Judaic or Islamic faiths, or not. I leave it to the reader to judge whether this is so. In any case I would offer, to be taken howsoever one would, the following thought:
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In the primordial Garden Man was charged with the responsibility to "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." The state of Man was destined to unfold from a purity of innocence, into a full consciousness of knowledge of the dark and the light, under the harmonious guidance of an all–wise, all–knowing spirit. His purity, however, was fatally sullied as he failed to wait upon God, but willfully reached for powers he was not yet fit to receive. As the wages of this rebellion he was ejected from the Garden, and henceforth obliged to labor by the sweat of his brow to earn his comfort and keep.
The travail of subsequent effort took on a coordinated form which replicated roughly the divinely symbiotic material and energy flows of the Garden. The evolving matrix of relationships thereby established became an aspect of the social body known as the "Economic Life," while the vitalizing spirit of that body took on the guise of "Money." Money, then, is a proxy for the spirit that imparted a burgeoning harmonic order to the Garden, while the Economic Life became the vehicle in the material world by which Man would seek, upon requisite redemption of personal goodness and completion of social evolution, to return home to the unspoiled state of the Garden; this time in the full consciousness of the dark and the light, but also with a purity of spirit that partakes of the innocence of Man's original state.
In the interim, though, the spirit of Money, and in turn the Economic Life, has been hijacked by forces that would seek to derail human evolution. Humankind has descended into abject materiality; estranged from one another and seduced by the shadow forces of false dominion; all orchestrated by the spirit of opposition that has co–opted Money. The woes thereby unleashed are legion. Brother has been pitted against brother in a false competition for livelihood. Mankind's Mother, the earth, is counted as a body to be ravaged and consumed. Tyrannies of number haunt Man's sleep. Clearly the redemption of Economic Life in the material world is called for.
The path to economic rectification is threefold:
(1) – To strive for redemption in oneself and others from the spiritual dissonance that was the cause of Man's alienation from a harmonious relationship with God in the earth,
(2) – From which it becomes possible to transform Money and rectify the Economic Order to a condition which reflects truly the state of providence in human evolution at present,
(3) – Which would, finally, redeem the Economic Life as a fit vehicle for the reassertion of Man's fruitful, replenishing and faithful dominion over the creation.
Thus would the Kingdom of God materially in the earth be at last established.
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The complete set of columns from this series is posted at the following websites.