A short series on debt – Part 1. Our debt system thrives on shame and fear

In this series I want to look at debt, what it is exactly, how it affects us at a personal/spiritual level, how we can transform our relationship to debt, what it means at the whole systems level, and all the many spells and illusions that have been cast to keep us in fear around debt.

This is as much a personal journey as it is one I wish to share. For I know that the majority of people simply do not understand the true nature of debt, its shadow and light. Yes, debt has light. (This is not the same as the oft used ‘good’ debt versus ‘bad’ debt that is bantered around in financial circles.)

To start the series I want to start with my own story.

For the last 10 years I have been focusing on my own education around money, debt, the economy, the banking and finance system, value, productivity, truth and illusion.

I came to this inquiry through my own pain. As a single career mother/raging entrepreneur I found myself in debt. I made silly mistakes. I drank the societal kool-aid. The whole story of buy now, pay later. Here, have another credit card. Spend more. Consume more. Worry about the consequences later.

I was not alone in taking this foolish path.

Indeed I would be so bold to say that almost every human I have ever met has unreconciled issues with money and debt. Even those people with more money than most.

Inside my foolish choices were several of my own stories. One was a deep desire to give my daughter all the opportunities I could. To not deny her. This is very real for so many parents. And I really get it. We want for our children the best.

The other story was the wish to project myself as successful. To be seen as someone of monetary value. (In distinction to real value.) Again, I was not alone in this. Our society measures people more by their monetary wealth, or the illusion of such, than their true value. If we do not have monetary wealth we are not worthy. Or in my story, not smart enough, not good enough.

My whole worth has been tied into my ability to be able to earn good money, and be smart with money. Fail at that and I am a failure.

And so when I have not been able to earn good money, I have struggled with issues of my own worth. Hence the debt cycle. My crutch to prop up the illusion, joining millions of others propping up their illusion, and in so doing keeping our banking and finance system going. For make no mistake, if no person was in debt, our system would collapse. It needs debt to keep it ‘healthy’. And this is it’s undoing which is being played out on the world stage as I write.

We, the uneducated, become the pawns in a fools game.

And we are uneducated. Even bankers, with whom I have worked for the last 17 years, rarely have any depth of understanding about the system in which they partake.

Here I was, up to my eyeballs in debt, and with that, the bottomless pit of shame. Shame at my own stupidity. My own ignorance. My own delusions. Shame at not being smart enough, good enough, valuable enough.

Within the space of a week in late 2006 I was introduced to two people who truly ‘get’ the financial system at a gnosis level. (Deep embodied knowing.) David Martin and Bernard Lietaer. The contrast of their knowing and my painful ignorance was so great it could not be avoided. And so my adventure into educating myself began.

Even today, 8 years later, I consider myself a novice on this journey. For it is not a journey that can be taken linearly, mathematically, academically. It must be lived, breathed, integrated and practiced.

There is a reason it is complex. It is designed to be almost impenetrable. The system thrives on keeping people small, fear based and ignorant. And deeply shamed. If we all knew how the system works then the system would collapse.

It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning. Henry Ford

Much has been written about money, and yes we cannot have a conversation about debt without addressing money, but few write about debt and all that it is, or is not.

Tomorrow I will write about exactly what debt is. I hope you will join me on this journey.

To read Part 2. What is debt and why is gratitude the place to start?

Photo credit: Creative Commons License Chris Potter via Compfight