The Power and Meaning of Money

Sections of this topic

    My post this week is based on ideas explored in my forthcoming book, Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand. I have a chapter on the ‘Power and Meaning of Money’ because I believe if you don’t fully understand the role that money plays in your life, you won’t be able to align fully your values and deepest desires with how you live your life.

    I like to use Jacob Needleman’s book, Money and the Meaning of Life, for class discussion in my business ethics classes. It is a fabulous book to get people to reflect on the power of money in their life, and more importantly, on the beliefs they have about money and what money represents. According to Needleman, we can never really use money well in our life if we don’t understand the meaning we derive from it. For some people money means security. For others it means status, respect, independence etc. Unless we know what money means to us we’ll never have a healthy relationship with it. Money will control you rather than you controlling your money.

    Money and the Meaning of Life

    Inner and Outer Worlds

    In his book Needleman asks the reader to determine what use money has for their internal world and external world. Needleman’s idea of external and internal world corresponds to my description of the physical world (outer) and the spiritual world (inner). The more you integrate these worlds, the more authentic you’ll live and the more intentional you’ll be in how you use money. The external world is usually fairly easy for people to address. You see that you need money for transportation, housing, food and clothing. Those are the external ways you use money for things that support your material comforts, and your physical necessities.

    What about your inner world, your spiritual life? How are you using money to support that? Are you providing the resources (money and other resources) to support a rich inner life as much as you support your outer world? If not, why not? Do you desire a rich inner world to the same degree you desire a rich outer world? If not, why not?

    Conscious Relationship with Money

    It’s been said if you want to know what’s important to someone look at her calendar and her check book. The two commodities seen as most precious today are time and money. How are you using these to reflect Who You Are?

    Money is perhaps one of the most powerful tools in our modern era for saying who we are, showing our inner world through our outer world of possessions and lifestyle. Look at your life today and see how money has defined who you are – by where you live, where you have traveled, the recreational activities you do etc. Do you share your money freely with others, strangers or family? Are you afraid of money – how to ask for it, how to use it, how to have it?

    The power and meaning you give to your money determines how you live your life. Your ability to integrate a rich spiritual life with material possessions reflects how well you bring your values, beliefs and desires into your world.

    I invite you this next week to examine more carefully how you use money as an expression of who you are. There is power and meaning to money much larger than most of us consider. Start to develop a conscious relationship with money this week beyond the typical exchanges you make for food and gas. What does your use of money say about your inner world and your outer world?

    May you find balance, wholeness, and joy in bringing the fullness of your inner world to expression in your outer world.

    Coming Soon! Sample chapters of my book, “Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand”, will be available FREE on my website ( . You will be able to purchase the entire book as pdf or select several chapters.


    For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.


    Linda is an author, speaker, coach, and consultant. Go to her website to read more about her work, view video clips of her talks, and find out more about her book “Path for Greatness: Spirituality at Work” available on Amazon.