To want love, or to believe in the power of love—all that is wonderful. But where the rubber meets the spiritual road is at the place where we decide whether or not to act on love.
One place where putting love first is not always easy is in the area of money. This isn’t because the issue is more complicated than any other area of life—it’s just the entrenched thinking of the world is that profit, not love, is the bottom line. In a world that is dominated by scarcity, that thought makes sense. In a world where scarcity doesn’t even exist, it makes no sense at all. Putting love first isn’t a life of “sacrifice,” as many have been taught. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Putting love first means knowing who you are and that you’re entitled to miracles. Putting love first means knowing that the universe supports you in creating the good, the holy, and the beautiful. It means knowing that you’re on the earth for a purpose, and that the purpose itself will create opportunities for its accomplishment.
Putting love first means knowing that the universe supports you in creating the good, the holy, and the beautiful. It means knowing that you’re on the earth for a purpose, and that the purpose itself will create opportunities for its accomplishment.
Making love your bottom line doesn’t make you “lose”; it’s ultimately the way you inevitably gain. For what you give, you shall receive; and what you withhold will be withheld from you. As a friend of mine once said to me, the universe keeps a perfect set of books. Making love the bottom line doesn’t mean that you have to give everything away or that you’ll never charge for your services.
The principle of fair exchange gives love to both giver and receiver. Making love the bottom line doesn’t mean that you’re compelled to do anything anyone ever asks you to do. Love always gives the loving response—but sometimes the loving response is “no.” But making love the bottom line does mean that we take seriously the idea that we are on the earth to do as love would have us do, and to do with our resources only what we are internally guided to do. I know from personal experience that when I’ve done this, I’ve gained financially as well as in other ways. And when I have not done this, I’ve lost.
The path of love might not lead to an immediate, short-term bundle of cash. But following the path of love leads to trust, to deeper relationships, and therefore to a greater probability of further good. Our internal abundance is ultimately the source of our external abundance. Who we are, not just the services we provide, creates money.
People who are positive and energetic when they show up for work—are they or are they not the people most likely to be promoted? People who are kind and helpful when you walk into their store—do they or do they not have a business to which you’re more likely to return? People who inspire genuine trust and faith in the excellence of their work—are they or are they not the people you are more likely to hire for your next project? You know that line about how nice guys finish last? It’s a lie. Yet at times we fear that if we give ourselves to love, we will somehow devolve into a puddle of weakness— that love will make us vulnerable to hurt or make us less effective in the world. We think it’s okay for God to have our spiritual lives, but we better not hand over our finances! A woman once told me, “I don’t mind giving God my money, but if it’s over two hundred thousand dollars, I think I better handle it myself.” And here is what makes that such a joke: it is often in the area of our finances where we need miracles the most!
Love is our sanity. It does not lead us to unwise behavior. It does not lead us to give our money away frivolously when there is a need to save it and provide for our family. It does not lead us to disrespect principles of money management or the appropriate laws of commerce. It does not lead us into unreasonable or immoderate behavior. Love doesn’t ruin things; love makes all things right, by aligning mortal events with the natural patterns of an intentional and creative universe. Love makes us wake up in the morning with a sense of purpose and a flow of creative ideas. Love floods our nervous system with positive energy, making us far more attractive to prospective employers, clients, and creative partners. Love fills us with a powerful charisma, enabling us to produce new ideas and new projects, even within circumstances that seem to be limited. Love leads us to atone for our errors and clean up the mess when we’ve made mistakes. Love leads us to act with impeccability, integrity, and excellence. Love leads
us to serve, to forgive, and to hope. Those things are the opposite of a poverty consciousness; they’re the stuff of spiritual wealth creation.
In 1992, I published a book called A Return to Love. At the time, I was a bit naive—I had never spent time thinking about things like book contracts, bestseller status, or book royalties. I was happy to be able to live off the suggested donations at my lectures on A Course in Miracles; while writing the book I don’t think I even thought about how well it might sell. I do remember hoping it would sell enough copies that I wouldn’t be embarrassed! In fact, due largely to the enthusiasm of Oprah Winfrey, it was the fifth-bestselling book in America that year. I had a strong sense at the time that the money hadn’t really come directly from the book—that it had come through it, but not really from it. I felt as if the money was divine payment for something more than the book, particularly the charitable work I had been doing for years before, for no money at all. It was payment for how I had been trying to live my life, cleaning up any mess from my past and trying to be of service to others. The seeker isn’t looking to “get money,” but
to exchange energy. And when the energy we’re putting out is filled with the consciousness of love, then the energy flowing back to us comes in whatever form most serves our good. I figured that if I lived a good life and worked hard, I’d be taken care of somehow. There was a level of naiveté to the life I was living before that book was published. I had never transitioned to the more sophisticated principles by which wealth is supposedly created, and as a consequence I was blessedly unaware of them. There’s no way in the world that my activities during those years would have been thought to be good for business, because there was no business! But I was, in my own way, “about my Father’s business.” And then, when the book was published, I saw that what I had done for love came back to me a thousandfold and more. Such is the Law.
Excerpted from THE LAW OF DIVINE COMPENSATION: On Work, Money, and Miracles by Marianne Williamson. Copyright 2012. Reprinted with permission by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.