In a cultural climate of worry and stress to do with money, money, money; when folks are seriously concerned with their financial stability, job security, health, children’s tuitions, mortgage etc., there is a tendency in us to inadvertently contribute and further inflame the problem by our reactions to it.
These reactions involve an all too predictable cast of characters including: fear and insecurity, isolationism, blame, cynicism, suspicion, miserliness, greed, selfishness, self-anesthetization and the list goes on… It is one thing for an individual to have these reactions. It is quite another when a whole country is caught up in it, magnifying the problem exponentially. And then, on top of all that, there are those who would exploit these reactions through the media or advertising using deception and clever manipulation of human vulnerability and ignorance. Not good.
However, WE HAVE A CHOICE !!!
Every person has the choice to either continue being subject to the problem by their reactions OR TO BE PART OF THE CURE.
Being part of the cure is not an easy road. First of all it requires being able to spot the common reflexive reaction and then rising above it by entering a deliberate process of passionate reasoning. In other words – reasoning with your heart in it.
It means taking responsibility for your own life.
Now this might sound simplistic or naïve, but sometimes the most profound truths and solutions are the simplest: A huge part of the cure to the world financial breakdown is in generating generosity. The cure to the crisis is very near to hand. It does not rely on anyone or anything else. In fact, it is only a perception away:
The cure is in our most fundamental resource – which is our humanity, out from which flows the spirit of generosity.
Genuine generosity cannot be contrived to alleviate guilt or something. It is not a part -time thing. This is a way of life!
Think about it for a moment. Some of the happiest people on earth are actually the least wealthy (in material terms). Was it the King of Bhutan who coined the phrase Gross National Happiness instead of G.N.P.? Wise man. It is an age old truth: What a person possesses shall possess them!
It all depends on your center of gravity, doesn’t it? It depends on what you have invested the substance of your life in.
Now, some seem to think that buying into this American Dream Culture of consumption and acquisition, will buy them happiness or power or good fortune or something. It’s just so not the case. To condition our children this way only perpetuates the disease: Get a good education so that you can get a good paying job, so that you can get a nice big house and a big car and a big debt… It only seems to lead to loneliness, stress, absence of meaning and purpose, divorce, addiction, spiritual emptiness …
A human being is a journey, a process, an awakening, a poignancy, a dance between the lessons of history and the future unknown. We are not here on this earth to perpetuate the mistakes of history but to learn by them. Our current economic crisis is not new to human history. Systematic greed, deception and corruption are things that have been around a long time. But how we respond can be a departure from the grip of history!
The story of Victor E. Frankl, who was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp brings this home: Here was a man stripped of everything – his home, his profession, his family, his health and mobility, and yet he defied tyranny and oppression by tirelessly exercising his FREEDOM TO THINK, FREEDOM TO PERCEIVE, FREEDOM TO FEEL and ultimately the sacred FREEDOM TO CHOOSE to not allow his spiritual fire to be extinguished!
His story and the courageous stories of many others make the complaints and worries of our current economic crisis seem petty, selfish and empty by comparison.
Rise up and find the spirit of generosity that lives at the heart of being human. Defy the grip of history. We will come through this. We’ll make it. All will be well! Use this time to affirm your core humanity. These are sacred gifts nothing can take away.
The spirit of generosity is giving without counting the cost or expecting reward. It is giving from the wish to give return for having been granted life and opportunity. It is altruistic at core. It carries no bias or conditions. It is being an instrument, a vehicle for the love inherent in life, in Creation, simply because you would not want that very love diminished by anyone or anything. That is the cure.