Money in eco-communitarianism
There is emerging what we might call an ‘alternative’ or ‘new age’ or perhaps a communitarian economy. It is trying to operate with different values inside the existing consumerist, often cancerous and grossly competitive economic system. It has the potential to be balanced between creative co-operation and competition and therefore is sustainable. As Einsten so eloquently showed us, it is virtually impossible to put something new in place inside the old frame, to change something from the same place where it came from. Putting new wine into old casks is likely to lead to terminal contamination.
One of the evergreen issues about money in the emerging and economy is the question of charging for events and workshops. “Everyone has to pay their bills!” is a familiar cry amongst those struggling to give up accountancy and go into spiritual empowerment facilitation. However, in answer to a dawning awareness that we need something new and different, there is a growing trend to move towards making a donation process add up.
Asking for donations to be given freely, honestly and lovingly is very different from manipulating people into giving as a way of proving their spiritual prowess or demonstrating their willingness to have faith in someone’s prosperity or abundance belief system or professional strategy. The extracting of donations from participants has been elevated to an art form by some prosperity consciousness gurus (see Edwene Gaines, who assures her customers that they all can have huge houses, endless air flights etc, seemingly forgetting the limits to growth familiar to any student of ecology ).
I am committed to learning how to make the books balance by a process of transparency and shared responsibility. There are strategies we can learn by experimentation to encourage each other as we take part in events to decide how much to give? My relationship with money is far from sorted, but I hope that together we can learn how to give and receive in a sustainable way. I spend money on what I need for myself and receive money freely and gratefully from others and the world in a balanced and healthy way when I value myself and others.
Here are some of my personal thoughts about money
I am responsible for myself and as part of the whole
I and we together are responsible for the way money and resources are used to care for ourselves and our world
I can’t take responsibility in this way unless I have the personal and collective power to do that
So for me the whole discussion of money/resources is about power and an expression of power that is equally truthful, loving and free and also beautiful. This is really a central aspect of community building process. My intuition and my experience tells me that as we learn to make community, the money/resources subject is explored and the deep issues tied in with it are revealed as part of that.
This takes courage and a 100% commitment to be present with others and manage all the fears and conflict that inevitably comes up when deep personal prejudices, hidden agendas, self sabotaging strategies, psychological defences and limiting beliefs are engaged with. Defensiveness and exploration are mutually exclusive. You can’t do one in the presence of the other.
All the people who are cutting down rain forests or peddling weapons for profit or otherwise engaged in activity without creative purpose or love involved, are really out-of-order children in big bodies. The problem we are all living with at present is that there was no-one around at the right time when they were growing up to be their wise, loving parents and teachers of integrity. When enough of us are enough in our power we will be able to intervene with these big kids and give them the wise teaching and training they need. We can do that do that as and when we do it with and for each other.
The way I see it is that we are on the cusp of moving from the old them-and-us dualistic thinking to wholism, from control through compartmentalisation to alchemical systems thinking. When we learn to synthesise and if necessary transform our differences and aggregate our collective wisdom, we will disarm the world and create an abundance of eco-luxury that exceeds our dreams. Economic justice is only a concept until the self and community empowerment it requires is successfully realised and experienced.