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These are indeed trying times. In the last few months I’ve seen savings dissipate and real estate value decline. Skilled and talented workers have lost their jobs; hardworking, bill-paying citizens have lost their homes. Frugal retirees have lost their life savings. And everyone hears and knows that it will get a lot worse before it gets better.
What sustains me through these days of uncertainty is my spiritual path which has at its core three main virtues: gratitude, humility, and acceptance of the will of God. In addition, this path, called Sukyo Mahikari (universal laws + true light;, gives me a sense of what spiritual economics might be.
First, let me explain how the three main virtues are helping me. Clearly, gratitude for all things, even those I consider “bad,” helps me to look beyond the immediate effects of this downturn to see what benefit might come from it all. I certainly am more cautious of my spending; I was able to finally follow through on giving to charities on behalf of my family at Christmas – something I have been planning to do for years. And I am deepening my appreciation of what I do have – my job, my home, my family and friends, and my faith. On a larger scale, I am grateful that the economic trends that had widened the gap between the haves and have-nots may be narrowing and we, as a global community, might be re-examining our values.
The stunning and radical shifts and turnabouts of the economy are humbling to us all, I imagine. Occasionally I read about some clear-thinking expert who had been warning us of the bursting of the various bubbles, but I didn’t hear the call and I couldn’t understand the complexity of the situation. As I stretch to understand the house of cards my economic future has been built on, I am left to experience mostly “shock and awe.” Yet, these changes are useful reminders of how little we do control in our lives beyond our own actions and reactions.
Finally, as I move forward, I am confronted with the challenge of acceptance. I have followed my financial advisor’s advice. I have made tentative plans to soften the bump from future falls.
Yet, I know that the only real preparation is my faith in staying tuned in with God’s will in my life, as it has carried me forward to this point of a sense of abundance even in the face of loss. My faith allows me an abiding belief that as I ride on God’s will, I will maintain my gratitude for whatever comes and be clear that I may not understand all the consequences for myself or the world around me. Ultimately, I will end up right here: firm, solid, and at peace.
In holding fast to the guidance of spiritual economics, I am also focused on the 4 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair and in so doing, living more firmly within my means. As I look at my workplace, I also recognize the need for greater interdependency between labor and management – an occasion for humility as we appreciate our mutual strengths and support each other in our weaknesses.
These times are indeed trying, but they present such an amazing opportunity to all of us for learning and growing into an even greater nation, a more compassionate world. We can hold fast to enduring guidance for a better future.