How can we tell whether or not we’re being responsible with our financial resources? Please give us some guidelines that we can use to create a “self-check” to see if we’re really doing all we can to exercise financial responsibility.

There are two ways to answer that question: one of them has to do with what I discussed in this issue’s interview: needing to look at what your priorities are in life, and asking if all of your life works with those priorities? And “all your life” includes your finances. Is the money you have supporting what you’re here to do? Does the way you handle your finances support what you’re here to do? That’s one answer.

But there is another, more individual, version. Are you functioning responsibly, meaning are you living within your income? Do you bounce checks? Are you aware of where your money goes? Are you conscious of what you are using, and what you are exchanging for what you are using? If what you’re here to do is be a fashion model, then your money should be spent at a lot of clothing stores. If your purpose is to work within the medical community, to open it to new ideas, then your funds might go to helping you do that.

So the bottom line is, are you doing a good job of managing what you have? Are you conscious of what you spend? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to give you what you want if your income isn’t enough?

You might be somebody who really wants to go on the trip, but you really don’t want it enough to take on another job. At the Retreat, I made the comment that there is somebody who has four jobs in order to be able to afford this trip. Are you willing to do whatever it takes? “But Universe, this is what I’m trained for, this is where my gifts are, so it’s the only thing I really want to do,” and being unwilling to do anything less is telling the Universe that you don’t really care about it that much. Well, then the Universe isn’t going to care much either.

If your life is about supporting what you’re here to do, then your money should be as well. If it’s not, then you need to look at “Based on this, what is it I must be thinking I’m here to do?” And that attitude is a big issue, that “I deserve to have it dropped in my lap, or win the lottery, because this is what I want to do.”

It sounds like it’s possible to be acting responsibly and still feel as if there’s not enough money to do what we’re here to do. If a person finds that they’re not manifesting the money to go on the trips, does that necessarily mean that they are unintentionally blocking their own ability to manifest . . .

It might.

. . . or could it mean instead that that person is mistaken in thinking that going on the trips is part of what they’re here to do?

And that is also true. This isn’t a question that has a single “here is a sign from God” answer. If you’re doing everything you can—and the key there is everything you can, rather than the few things you want to—and the money doesn’t come in, that’s a pretty good sign that you don’t need to go.

With regard to the trips, it’s not the people who know that they absolutely must go that achieves the purpose of the trip, it’s the many people who say, “I am a part of the greater whole. I can be of service. I want to go, but if I cannot go, I can still be of service,” because that’s the attitude that creates the unity that makes the group that is there a single being, makes it One.

The trips take a huge part of most incomes. Gracious, for some it’s practically half—really. And yet, they have seen that it provides a means to serve that creates a difference within the individual, within the group, and that you see reflected in the world. That it feeds a part of them that is not fed otherwise. And those three things are so important to them that it’s worth the price.

The worst people to go on a trip—well, other than tourists—are those for whom it’s not worth making the effort. The correct attitude about the trips is, “This is not the only way in the world that I can serve, but this is the one that I want to serve through.” And when you’re able to hold that in your vision, you’re not going to make decisions that lead you to borrow money from twelve different people, money that you probably will never be able to pay back. And you won’t be doing something that means you spend the whole time you’re there filling yourself up with bad karma and irritation that only makes things worse.

Are there karmic implications of our purchasing decisions? And if so, what is the extent of the repercussions? I have recently become aware of the interdependent relationships in our economy on a new level. Companies make products, and by supporting these companies, we are essentially helping to provide jobs for people and incomes to families. I am struggling because each time I go to the store, if I see two similar products from two companies whose business practices I believe in, I feel strongly that both need to be supported, and I end up just buying one of each product. Something in my way of thinking must be inaccurate, because otherwise I would have the resources to save the world by buying everything, and that is not the reality of my current financial situation.

How deeply you choose to go into the consciousness of your financial choices is really up to you. Some people say that a vegetarian is somebody who eats fish, and there are those who say that a vegetarian should have nothing to do with flesh, including not wearing leather shoes, or not tolerating latex in their rubber bands because it’s taking the life force of a tree.

You get to make choices, and you either live with the upset or the joy that comes from that decision. There will always be somebody who goes further out on the limb than you do. There will always be somebody who does not go as far as you do. You will judge yourself as better or worse because of that, and you will act based on your judgment of yourself. That’s not what it’s about.

What it’s about is doing the best you can, where you are, with what you have at the time, and coming to a place in your “impeccable” life where you are on to you. Ideally, that will be in the space between where the Intent becomes an actual Thought. If not there, where the Thought becomes a Word. If not there, at least before it becomes a Deed. It’s all about choices, and you won’t get me to say, “This one is the right one for everyone. And this one is the wrong one for everyone.”

Are there karmic implications? What’s meant is “Are there negative karmic implications?” There is karma—cause and effect—for everything you do. Forget tossing rocks into a pond; just spit in the pond and you’ll make ripples. It’s about choices. It’s about what you know.

The reality of it is, you know when you’re not doing your best. It doesn’t require my saying, “You must have twelve good thoughts in a row before you can say you’re a good person.” The more you resist knowing what your best is—and resistance is a function of fear—the more you fear knowing because you fear failing, you will repeatedly be given opportunities in every other area of your life to fail so that you’ll get over that fear. That’s karma.