Contributed by Lewis J. Walker, CFP®
Money is but one tool in a larger “toolkit” provided by your Creator. When you are relaxed, often out in nature, your mind, a miracle of creation itself, may focus on the complexities of the universe and your place in the scheme of things. Money is part of “base security.” Knowing that obligations are covered, you are free to think higher thoughts, what psychologist Abraham Maslow framed as a process of “self-actualization.”
A slang term for money is “bread.” Real bread is food. Maslow noted, “It is quite true that man lives by bread alone — when there is no bread. But what happens to man’s desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled?”
What happens when there’s enough money? Once fundamental and other needs are satisfied, you are empowered to pursue dreams and goals outside of self. Self-actualization encompasses achieving your full potential, including creative activities. It’s the freedom to ponder the bigger picture, why you are on this planet, what the end game might be when your journey on earth ends, an exercise in “spiritual actualization.”
The cruise ship was steaming off the Central American coast on the way to a Panama Canal crossing. Looking out over a vast ocean, there was nothing but shimmering blue to the sun-blazed horizon. The sea depth under the keel was over 5,000 feet. I thought, “That’s a lot of water!”
The Pacific is the largest ocean in the world with an average depth of 12,925 feet. The Challenger Deep in the Pacific’s Marianna Trench is the deepest known point of the earth’s oceans at 36,070 feet. A cubic foot of water, 7.48 gallons, weighs roughly 62.4 pounds. The pressure at the deepest parts of the oceans is about 7 tons a square inch. At a depth of 3,000 feet, the pressure is enough to squeeze a block of wood to half its volume so it will sink.
Looking at blue water stretching to the horizon and contemplating the immensity of it all, I thought, “All that water, all that weight, and the world isn’t flat as it appears from my veranda view, it’s round.” In fact, if our solid round earth was perfectly smooth, oceans would cover our orb to a level of 12,000 feet. Realizing that all that liquid weight was sloshing around on a jagged round ball, I marveled, “There it is, staying in place, not slipping away into space. How does water do that?”
The scientific answer is the Law of Gravity. Then the spiritual question arises, “Who designed the Law of Gravity?” One is humbled when we view the power of The Master Designer, the force that figured out how to hold the oceans in place and give each human the power of contemplation and creativity within our realm. Kind of overpowering when you think about it.
Ponder any wonder, including your own miraculous existence, and ask, “What’s my role in all of this...as the person I am, as a son, daughter, sister, brother, spouse, parent, grandparent, breadwinner, citizen, leader, teacher, example, friend, influencer?” What is my purpose in life? How does meaning play into that? How does my (our) money and earning power serve meaning and purpose?”
What do I intend to do, and have I mapped out a path to actualization? Have I matched intentions with specific goals? How does charity and generosity, including time and talent, play into meaning and purpose?
Have I put in place plans and resources to make sure loved ones have security and the gift of self-actualization in case of my premature death or permanent disability? The Master Designer of the oceans also designed your brain, elevating you above animals, giving you the ability to dream, to go beyond the daily round of pure survival, to plan, make choices, to change course when prudent, to achieve, to inspire self and others.
The average adult human body is 50%-65% water. Water is critical to life. There are charities that provide clean water to impoverished villages around the globe. Caring for others is an element in the pursuit of purpose.
Water. The oceans. Human creativity. Amazing stuff!
Lewis J. Walker, CFP®, is a financial planning and investment strategist at Capital Insight Group; 770-441-2603. Securities and advisory services offered through The Strategic Financial Alliance, Inc. (SFA). Lewis Walker is a registered representative and investment adviser representative of SFA which is otherwise unaffiliated with Capital Insight Group.