Sigh. Haven’t we heard all of this before in resource-rich Alberta? Every decade or so we ride a roller-coaster of anxiety, fear and worry. It’s called a downturn in the economy. Sometimes that bedeviled word “recession” is also used, but that is only whispered lest we send the stock market crashing through the floor even further.
I open my morning newspaper to find pages and pages of bad news, followed by all kinds of good advice on how to “survive and even thrive” in a sagging global economy. So many parts of me are sagging already and now I have to worry about a sagging economy?
I thought that I would add my 2 cents worth (now only worth 1 cent in these difficult economic times) to the debate by offering a spiritual perspective on our current economic disaster.
First of all, take a break from reading all the bad news! If you follow the stock market or read The Business Report in the Globe and Mail on a daily basis, it’s time to stop. There can be no recovery, at least in spirit and heart, when one is drowning in a sea of constant bad news and contradictory business advice. It’s time to pause and think twice about your blessings that stand in sharp contrast to the gloom and doom of this current business cycle.
Secondly, it is wise to remember that we are more than our stock portfolio or preferred share holdings. When we make such things the focus of our lives, we will be in a constant state of turmoil because the marketplace thrives on turmoil and the constant grasping to make inordinate amounts of money. Get off the wheel or refuse to be caught in the maze.
Jesus said it best when he spoke to his disciples:
Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body,
what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body
more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, they neither
sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your God feeds them.
Thirdly, strive to be that “non-anxious presence” in the midst of the turmoil and anxiety. Get to a yoga class, or swim, or meditate or let the winds of the spirit blow through the wilderness of stock options to bring you to a state of mind in which inner peace gently rocks your soul. Do not neglect maters of the spirit—both your own spirit and the Divine Spirit that flows in the universe.
Fourthly, cultivate a sense of generosity and giving. In tough economic times, there is a tendency to “hoard” and to adopt a “poor me” attitude. There is also a tendency, among human beings, to want more and more, with scant regard for those who receive less and less. It is, after all, their own fault, based on the bad choices they made. Such thinking is bred into the capitalist system to the detriment of us all.
And, finally, strive to live as Jesus did—graciously, lovingly, generously.