Monday, September 14, 2009

Spirituality and the Economy

We’re living in troubled times right now. As optimistic a picture as many experts, pundits, and governmental officials are trying to paint our current situation, the road ahead looks to be a long, tough, and arduous one. Economic indicators such as escalating unemployment wavering between 9% and 11% nationwide, growing inflation, the slow turnaround in the housing market with some banks only approving 7% of eligible home refinances, plus volatile world currency indicators all seem to bare this out. Instability is going to be our close companion for many days to come. For me, all of this points to a very basic and fundamental need to shift our attitude and level of understanding and acceptance away from that of dependency (waiting for external bailouts and social/governmental handouts) and more towards self-sufficiency. The truth is, the cavalry will not be coming around the corner any time soon, so we have to start taking greater responsibility for ourselves and others. As such, we are being incrementally forced out of our comfort zones, and we now need to really begin thinking more about how to take care of each other in a much more focused, basic, self-supportive, family oriented and community-centric way.

The signs of this basic change in attitude are happening all around us already. More people are taking up the practice of home gardening, growing backyard crops and storing them properly for later use, saving seeds for the next planting season, and supporting local agriculture. More and more local co-ops and farmers markets are springing up in places where such concepts were not even considered years ago. Community farming areas are becoming much more popular and people, even in urban areas, are starting to till the soil for the first time.

In addition, old concepts such as consignment and lay-away are becoming popular again. With growing job layoffs and diminishing financial liquidity, people are becoming more creative with one another, offering barter in the form of goods for goods, and/or services/sweat equity for supplies and assistance in things that are necessary for personal and family sustenance and survival. People are learning to take better care of the things they own, holding on to items longer to get greater use before disposing of them, or simply learning to do without. More people are doing DIY (do-it-yourself) projects and calling upon the help of their neighbor to assist when necessary, knowing that they will return the favor in kind. Many more people are beginning to explore the outdoors, getting back to nature through camping, learning more about their natural surroundings and how to survive within them. This is a very good thing. I myself love camping and share this love with members of my family whenever possible. With rising, unsustainable healthcare costs, less people are insured. More are focusing their health maintenance on more natural, holistic and/or homeopathic approaches. Many are practicing preventive maintenance through better diet and more exercise. People are biking more. For better or worse, people are adapting as best they can to deteriorating economic and social conditions. They are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. One thing that has allowed our species to survive for so long is our ability to adapt to change. This is a key and vital characteristic for all living creatures who have evolved and prospered throughout millennia. Those that do not adapt to change will eventually fail to survive it. This is just a fundamental law of nature.

Having presented such a disheartening scenario, you may ask what is the spiritual significance of all of this? The significance is quite simple, yet so important. We are all at a very momentous crossroads in our respective spiritual journey. A convergence of forces have all brought us to this very important place, where we must now decide whether, as a species, as a world, and as Soul we flounder in a sea of fear and hopelessness moving deeper towards our base regressive animal nature, or choose to ride the wave of spiritual growth and awareness to a more evolved, loving and caring state of consciousness where we realize we are all one; where we control our destiny, we control our fate. This is an opportunity to change the world in such a critical way (to take it back), realizing that deprivation and limitation are all illusion; that there is enough. We now have the opportunity to make a conscious change in how we view one another, realizing that we are all connected by the chords of Divine love that keep us all together.

Yes, there is a need for great concern and action, but that need must be looked upon as an opportunity to not accept the current scenario any further and rise up. We decide our future and our fate, not something outside of us. When we begin to live from the standpoint of love for one another, we can collectively begin to help each other move through this period together, as one voice, as one consciousness. Despite what the external signs may be fooling us to perceive, we do have a choice. There is enough; there is abundance, but we must begin to shift our attitudes and consciousness away from the selfish, self serving ways of the past to a more inclusive and loving coexistence with our brothers and sisters in this world. The truth is that the majority of people on this planet want exactly what I’m talking about; they yearn for it. It has simply been denied them through coercion and fear.

So we can overcome this, we can get through this. The important thing to continuously ask yourself throughout this ordeal is what are the lessons and how do we turn them to our advantage? As more and more awakened Souls come online and express Divine love for one another, the energy will change. The barriers will fall; it is inevitable. Use this time of perceived struggle as an opportunity for growth. Pursue your passion. Be creative in the things you do. Connect with your higher self for answers and insight. Begin to exercise your spiritual solidarity regardless of theology or belief system. When you see someone in need, help him/her; you’ll be helping yourself in the process. As the song goes “Lean on Me, when you’re not strong…” Hang in there everybody, for this too shall pass, and we will be in a wonderful new place very soon. That is, if we collectively choose to do so.

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