Perspectives ~ Money is a Lot Like Water ~ by Lynne Twist


We’ve allowed this culture of money to shut down our heart, close off access to our soul, and drive us such that we behave in ways that undermine and erode the very center and core of our most human values. I believe it’s possible to transform our relationship with money and the culture of money that we’ve created in a way that resources continue to flow, that prosperity continues to be available, and that all of us can be served, nurtured and empowered to more fully express who we are as the human family.

I learned a lot about money from a woman named Gertrude.

I met her in a church basement in Harlem. I was doing a small fundraising event for The Hunger Project. I had come from Minneapolis where I had met with an executive of a large food company. The food company had an image problem and felt that making a donation to The Hunger Project and being seen to support the end of hunger might help clean up its image. The executive I met with had given me a check for $50,000—but he gave me the donation basically to get me to go away, to assuage his guilt about some public mistakes the company had made and to have the company look good in the eyes of the public. I could tell in the interaction we had that he had no real interest in connecting with resource-poor people or in making any kind of a difference in the work to end world hunger. The money was given from guilt, and the guilt was passed along with the money. I now felt guilty receiving it. I had received the money and the guilt. And both he and I were unfulfilled.

I had the $50,000 check in my briefcase, which sat behind me on a table in the basement of the Harlem church. There were 75 people gathered before me. All of them were black. It was raining and there were leaks all over the room we were in. There were buckets strategically placed all around us catching the dripping water and there was a constant background noise of the rain outside and the dripping from the leaking walls and ceiling. I looked out at the audience and I knew that the people sitting there did not have much to give. I spoke to them about The Hunger Project’s work in Africa, as I thought it would be the most relevant to their own lives and their heritage. When it came time to ask for donations, my palms were sweating and I began to perspire all over wondering if it was the right thing to do. I went ahead and made the request, and the room was absolutely silent.

After what seemed like a long, long time, a woman named Gertrude stood up. She was sitting on the aisle in the second row from the back. She was in her late sixties or early seventies. She had gray hair and when she stood up she was tall, thin, erect and proud.

She said to me, “I ain’t got no checkbook. I ain’t got no credit cards. To me, money is a lot like water. For some folks it rushes through their life like a raging river, but the money comes through my life like a small trickle. But I want to pass it on in a way that does the best good for the most folks. I see that as my right and as my responsibility. It’s also my joy. I have $50 in my purse that I earned from doing a white woman’s wash and I want to give it to you.”

She walked up the aisle and gave me her precious $50 and at that moment I saw the power of money in a new way.

I knew that the $50 that I received from Gertrude would buy more for the end of hunger than the $50,000 check in my briefcase. I knew that that $50 was money that came from the soul and not from some bank account. I saw that the power of money can be seen in the way we use it and the integrity with which we direct it into the world. Gertrude taught me a great lesson and I never forgot it.

As Gertrude tells us, we can look at money like water. It flows all over the planet and everywhere it goes it’s useful, it makes things happen and it’s passed along. We could say that water doesn’t belong to any of us or it belongs to all of us. When water is flowing and moving it cleanses, it purifies, it makes things green, it creates growth, it nurtures. But when water starts to slow down, is held back and starts to be still, it can be toxic and stagnant to those who hold it. All of this can be true of money.

It’s possible to have money flow in a way that serves our highest ideals and commitments rather than accumulate it so that we can gain power, authority and special privileges over others. Money can bear the mark of he or she who passed it on and in many ways can be voice, expression and commitment.


Discussion Questions:

What does looking at money like water mean to you?

Can you share a personal experience of a time you felt money flow in a way that served your highest ideals?

What practice helps you engage with money in a mindful manner?


About the Author: Lynne Twist is the founder of Pachamama Alliance, and author of Soul of Money (from which the above story is excerpted).

The Secret of Oz – Winner, Best Documentary of 2010 v.1.09.11 ~ with Bill Still

This documentary is very informative and a must-see … if you want to begin your solid understanding about what is truly happening with the massive debt all are now suffering in the USA and the world, watch this movie. You’ll be sickened, and then, hopefully you’ll get angry enough to sit up and pay closer attention to what we, the People, can do. (2 hrs.)

4 Harsh Truths That Will Jolt You Awake


“The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.” –Gloria Steinem

Are you tired of floating around in that pink goop of the Matrix? Are you ready to slough off the illusion like it was an old hat? Has the White Rabbit been too fast for you so far? If you are reading this article, you are here to wake up. Here are five ways to slow that white rabbit down so you can catch up.


1) Money is a hoax

“The Western worldview says, in essence, that technological progress is the highest value and that we were born to consume, to endlessly use and discard natural recourses, other species, gadgets, toys, and often, each other. The most highly prized freedom is the right to shop. It’s a world of commodities, not entities, and economic expansion is the primary measure of progress. Competition, taking, and hoarding are higher values than cooperation, sharing, and gifting. Profits are valued over people, money over meaning, entitlement over justice, ‘us’ over ‘them.’ This is the most dangerous addiction in the world, not only because of its impact on humanity but because it is rapidly undermining the natural systems that sustain the biosphere. –Bill Plotkin

It is not the more evolved aspect of ourselves that tricks us into thinking that we need money to survive; it’s the less evolved aspect of ourselves that does the tricking. With our advanced technologies we imagine that we know the way the world works, when, for the most part, we have forgotten how everything is connected.

Until we can relearn “a language older than words,” and once again engage in a healthy dialogue with nature and the cosmos, we will continue to be tricked by the less evolved aspects of ourselves. The more awareness we bring to this extremely complicated cognitive dissonance, the more possible it will be to achieve an ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable world.

As it stands, however, the Federal Reserve is a house of cards guarded by a red herring. Money is the opiate of the masses, and the masses are too busy spending it on worthless crap to get to know each other as healthy individuals, let alone as a healthy community. We have become Pavlov Dogs, and money is our dinner bell. But money was never meant to be horded, or even amassed, it was meant to circulate as a way of uplifting the community. And yet here we are, hoarding and amassing, while our communities are in unhealthy disarray. It’s high time we abandoned the force-fed shibboleth that having more money makes us better people. It doesn’t. Being healthy, compassionate and moral is what makes us better.


2) Debt is fiction

“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” –John Adams

Unfortunately our nation has been enslaved by debt. Our current system is not an economic system at all, but an ecocidal system; an intrinsic obsolescence of conspicuous consumption. It’s a grave misfortune that efficiency, sustainability, and preservation are the enemies of our socioeconomic system. This has got to be the most bizarre delusion in the history of human thought, a retarded Ponzi scheme en masse.

But it’s difficult to get people to understand something when money, and especially debt, prevents them from understanding it. Instead of ownership, give us strategic access. Instead of equity, give us equality. Instead of one-track-minded profit, give us open-minded people. Instead of unsustainable monetary-based economics, give us a sustainable resource-based economy, which is basically the scientific method applied to ecological and social concerns.

As tough as it is to hear, nature is a dictatorship. We can either listen to it and fall into harmony or deny it and suffer. Ask yourself this question by Fleet & Lasn:  “When the economic system fails, will we know how to behave, how to act, how to appreciate, how to value, how to survive, how to be and how to love in a world that no longer defines relations by money?”


3) Media is manipulation


“Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.” –Noam Chomsky

Media has always been an effective method for manipulating people. We are social creatures who are also psychological creatures. This combination makes us unwittingly vulnerable to the power of suggestion. As it stands, media has been our Achilles Heel. These days the “news” we receive from corporate media is more likely to be disinformation. Skepticism is a must when reading or viewing the information provided by these outlets.

The key: Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see. Analyze the Kool Aide before you swallow it. Even then, be prepared to vomit it back up at the first sign of deception. Remain circumspect and question all authority. They don’t have our best interest at heart. They only want our money, and to remain powerful. Like Wendell Berry wrote in the Unsettling of America, “People whose governing habit is the relinquishment of power, competence, and responsibility, make excellent spenders. They are the ideal consumers. By inducing in them little panics of boredom, powerlessness, sexual failure, mortality, paranoia, they can be made to buy virtually anything that is “attractively packaged.””

We are slowly becoming more aware of corporate media lying to us. But they know we know they’re lying to us. And we know they know we know they’re lying to us. With enough inertia, this debacle of a process just continues until we are eventually lying to ourselves. And here we are. Like the great Baruch Spinoza once surmised, “The supreme mystery of despotism, its prop and stay, is to keep men in a state of deception, and cloak the fear by which they must be held in check, so that they will fight for their servitude as if for salvation.” And here we are, unless we decide to wake up.


4) Government is a corporation

“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.” –Thomas Jefferson

Here’s the thing: we do not live in a democracy, and we probably never really have. A prestigious Princeton study recently concluded that we live in an oligarchy: rule by a few individuals. And these individuals just so happen to be plutocrats, making this particular flavor of oligarchy a plutocracy: rule by the rich.

The problem is that money itself has become an immoral agent within an otherwise amoral system that praises itself as moral. Ask yourself: do you wish to live out harried lives of nine-to-five slavery, giving up your days to heartless corporations that don’t give a damn about anything except making money, or do you wish to live a happy life of loving compassion, doing what you enjoy, in spite of plutocracy, oligarchy, and tyranny?

The Occupy Movement succeeded in shifting the tenor and shape of debate in the world, but we must not rest on our laurels. Trickle-down economics DOES NOT WORK! Austerity economics DOES NOT WORK! Corporations are NOT people. Money does NOT equal speech. It’s a trap. If we don’t get big money out of politics then everything we want to do will be hopeless. We need to be smarter with our mobilization tactics for the change and allocation of power within our society. So far the security and surveillance state has boxed us in, like the great MLK Jr. said, “Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”


Credits: “4 Hard Truths That Will Jolt You Awake,” Which originally appeared on, Written by Gary Z McGee.