What does it mean to be “rich”? Justin Epstein explores what the Unity Movement teaches about prosperity.
Video Transcript (Transcript by Victoria Barkely)
We all have heard about people—and maybe know some people—who have lots of the external stuff. And there is nothing wrong with the external stuff. You can have all of what’s necessary for you to fulfill your life’s purpose and to be comfortable. That doesn’t necessarily make a person rich. And don’t take my opinion, read the research, read the psychological studies of research done by people all over the world.
What they have discovered is that when people have money—let’s talk about money for a moment…When people are living above the poverty level, how much more money you make above that does not significantly increase a person’s level of happiness. That’s not theory. That’s not philosophy. That is interviewing thousands and thousands of people and discovering that truth.
Not only that, but there is some research that shows that the more you have, the more problems that come with the money. Huh? Wouldn’t you like to have some of those problems? So, being rich, we are looking at two sides of the coin here.
Some people, you know…immediately they are thinking about jobs, lots of money, trips, this and that and the other thing. And that’s great, if that’s what is needed for a person to fulfill their purpose and express their greater good, then so be it…awesome. But there are people who have very little in material things but they’re rich in spirit. And they are happy. And they are peaceful. And they are joyful. And they feel rich. How many of you all know somebody like that.
I have been that person. When I was living in Ananda Village, in a spiritual community in California, I was broke; probably living below the poverty level. I used to buy gifts for Christmas in the Dollar Store. This was back when… there was only one Dollar Store then… Now there is a Dollar Store for super wealthy people…you know, it’s not a dollar, it is thirty dollars!
I remember I was dating this lady. She had two kids: 10 years old, 11 years old…And I bought their Christmas gift in the Dollar Store. When they opened their gifts, they looked at their mom, they looked at the gift… they looked at their mom…they looked at their gift…they didn’t know how to react. Their mom was giving them some expensive Atari this or whatever was big back then, in computer playing games back then. And I gave them something I bought in a Dollar Store.
I used to grocery shop and I would think, “Gee, I’d love to have that…but I better get this…” And there is nothing wrong with that. I was happy. Well, let me tell you, that I sure like to go to the grocery store and buy whatever I want… because that’s me. There are other people who could buy anything. They could buy the grocery store itself, and they are pulling out the coupons…Isn’t that true? They are collecting coupons. I don’t want to spend my valuable time looking through the newspaper, collecting coupons, but it is alright for them…That’s fine.
You know the most generous people to causes—that support causes and spiritual movements and places doing good work—they are not the super rich. They are the person on an average income. They are the ones statistically, who are the most generous with their giving.
What am I saying? What are we saying? We are saying, to be rich, ultimately, is to know and to have security and inner peace…knowing that God is my one and only source…and that people, stocks, jobs, inheritances, whatever, are channels through which God expresses. That’s real security. That’s what gives someone who is stuck in a relationship—they are unhappy but they are relying on the person’s income and they feel stuck in…I must be talking to somebody here today because I didn’t plan on saying that…They feel trapped and it is knowing: You know what? He is not my source, or she is not my source.
God is my source. God is my source. That’s where I can find the strength, the faith, the security, to begin to change my life, so that I can fulfill the reason I am here and do what I am here to do. And make a difference on the planet and do it comfortably. And what works for my personality. And that might mean a small income. That might mean a simple living situation. But it is good enough for you and you feel rich because you know that God is your source. And you are happy. And you are peaceful and content and you have meaning and purpose in your life. And if you have all that, you are rich!
Or, it could mean, you own a jet plane and a helicopter and you fly to work in a helicopter. It can mean that too, because you have inner security and happiness. And you know your source is God, and you are rich.