This article is written by Emily Curtis for Parimukti and consists of two parts
Today part 1
I believe all of creation is of equal worth. I believe in a world where all of creation can thrive.
Right now, I’m in Nepal. A country that has been hard-hit by a massive earthquake, a fuel-crisis—the crippling windfall of a political ‘situation’—and a triple hit to their economy: the concomitant decline in tourism due to the previous.
On New Year’s Eve, I roamed poorly-dressed for the cold on the back of my brother-in-law’s scooter through the old part of Kathmandu. We weaved around ancient temples reduced to rubble, through the darkness that surrounded them as a result of the blackouts. We shivered as we made our way over brick and stone streets, seeing kerosene flame light through the windows of homes. We parked the bike and walked in the dark. I followed him down a narrow cobbled street that led into what seemed like a skeleton of a building but transformed into his favorite underground Newari restaurant. The Newari are the indigenous people from the Kathmandu Valley, known for their love of good food. Mmmm. There in his early-days-hangout, he explained how Nepal has been set back 25 years. The fuel crisis has resulted in a lack in fuel required to drive, to cook, and to take warm showers. People stand in line for over 24 hours when there is fuel available, or buy it on the black market at a highly inflated cost. People in the capital city are buying wood to heat food, water, and to survive. Additionally, much of the foreign aid money hasn’t reached the earthquake victims who need it leaving many refugees still living in tents scrounging for food in the blistering cold.
Even though we discussed the difficulty everyone faces to fill their tanks and feed their families, he would not take money despite my concerted effort to contribute towards his fuel consumption on my part. I find the Nepali people so gracious. It’s a rare attribute to be generous even in the face of suffering. The expression of value is subjective, and this got me thinking about currency. I believe my friend didn’t want my money because the currency he traded was connection.
I have been programmed to trade money to show reciprocity—he wanted our interaction to be the exchange—our connection. I’m no authority on markets and currencies, but I wonder about basic things that get assumed away, fly under the radar, and render themselves invisible to scrutiny. Like currency.
Before I move on, let’s review. There is a grave injustice afoot when some people have so much and some people have so little. Yet, I have ventured to say, we are all of equal worth. And using my experience in Nepal I’ve said our currency exchange is value-based and subjective—meaning each unique individual has a different way to express what they value, based on how they spend or trade currency. Now what?
I believe that we have to re-calibrate how we use and define currency. And I believe a spiritual revolution is required. This is the kind of revolution that cannot be suppressed or co-opted because it is an internal drive, an internal evolution. And it starts with each one of us.
I trust that a spiritual revolution can change the fate of the world. You want to be part of this? Read more in my next blog!