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The Soul of Money

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Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynne Twist.

This book comes highly recommended by Mushim Ikeda, Buddhist teacher, author, and community activist.  I first learned of The Soul of Money when Mushim participated on a panel to discuss Engaged Buddhism during a Center for Buddhist Education sponsored program. Mushim mentioned that The Soul of Money fundamentally changed how she views fund-raising.  Originally published in 2003, The Soul of Money has just been reprinted and it now includes a foreword by Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and a new introduction by Lynne Twist.  The Soul of Money will inspire you to examine your own relationship with money, what it means to you, the way you get it, use it, and give it. 

Twist opens with discussing the myth of scarcity and the truth of sufficiency.  While she has witnessed firsthand the great needs of millions of people around the globe and whole segments of our society, she asserts that these conditions are not due to a lack of adequate resources.  They are the manifestations of our “scarcity mindset” rooted in three toxic myths: 1) there isn’t enough, 2) more is better, and 3) that’s just the way it is.  This scarcity mindset directs our decisions and actions every day resulting in a “haves vs have nots” world where it’s you vs me, winner/loser.  Twist’s decades of devoting herself to both philanthropic and fund-raising work have led her to an eye opening revelation: that the struggle for sufficiency has nothing to do with how much money you have and it has everything to do with the relationship you have with money.

Lynne Twist loves to ask people for money.  She even calls it sacred work.  If that seems like a stretch, she shares this perspective: fund-raising offers the powerful and privileged opportunity to help a person consciously and deliberately direct the flow of money in their life to align with their deepest core values and highest commitments, a reflection and expression of who they are.  Regardless of whether the donor is giving $20 or $20,000, the donor is able to experience living authentically and meaningfully.

Drawing on the Buddha’s wisdom, Twist shares his teaching that what you direct your attention to will grow in your life and the world.  If we choose to water the seeds of scarcity then scarcity is what will fill our life and our world.  If we cultivate the seeds of sufficiency and use our money accordingly, then we will be creating a life and a world of richness beyond just “getting” and “having.”