Surviving financial worries when the dow is down: What’s important in life?

I am a student of transformative learning and change, or how do people learn, grow, and evolve their consciousness. It is with great interest that I watch the reaction to the country’s financial issues, and our culture’s reactions.

In transformative learning, the person experiences or enters into a very uncomfortable or painful dilemma that may be what we call “disorienting”. This may mean that the person raises the big questions, such as who am I now, where I am headed, what is next for me. As a nurse, I often think of encountering an illness as a potential transformative experience; the illness or crisis offers us the chance to heal, evaluate our lives, and grow into a greater understanding of ourselves, others, and the universe. Did I mention that these experiences are usually “painful”, and they may include feelings of emotional, spiritual, or physical distress?

Yesterday, the dow experienced its sixth greatest one-day plunge ever and the worst single day in about 3 years; the headlines on the internet detailed the wows of our financial state in the wake of the USA’s first ever credit down-grade. Today it appears that there is a slight rally, but countries around the world are suffering economically and this is not an issue that is likely to be resolved in a clearly “financially positive” manner in the near future. In other words, some might say that we are living in uncertain times, with not much hope that the economy will return to its high growth anytime soon. It seems to me though that our financial issues, on both a local and global issue, are entirely of our own constructs, and related closely to cultural norm of acquiring materials goods, and money as the accepted path toward happiness and fulfillment. We have been conditioned to believe that through money and goods, we can gain status and security.

However this value seems to no longer be serving us well, and as we suffer through this painful change process, I would suggest that getting in touch with one’s spiritual side, and trusting in the infinite power of love that resides within us all is perhaps one way to cope with uncertain times.

What if you do not think you are a spiritual person?

Not to fret; there are plenty of guiding philosophies to help us develop a spiritual nature. Wayne Dyer reminds us the peace is a choice, and that there is a spiritual solution to every problem. He espouses that peace is possible if we should choose it. “‘Thy peace’ is the essence of the universe. It is God at work, at play, and everywhere in between. It is infinite love. There is no anger, greed, malice, or envy. There is a vast ocean of peace always available when one comes to know ‘thy peace’. It is only a thought away. In this place problems do not exist” (Dyer, 2001, p. 143). Dyer has devoted an entire book to realizing a life filled with spirit, love, and peacefulness, and I believe works such as this help provide us with the tools we need during this transition in time. Other helpful authors that have helped me through trying times include Joan Boyrenseko, Roger Walsh (Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind), Pema Chodron, Thich Nat Hahn, Jack Kornfield, and the Dali Lama.

During times of transition, it remains imperative that we are caring for ourselves; eating well, sleeping enough, exercising, spending time in nature and with those whom we love. A simple way to get into touch with your spiritual nature can also be surrounding yourself with inspiring music that reminds us of our true essence as humans, of our internal infinite consciousness. A favorite of mine is Ziggy Marley:

I wish I could make the blanket statement that it’s all okay, we are all going to be okay, but I do think there are many challenging times ahead. What I do feel comfortable saying is that you can decide how you are going to react to these challenges, you can create your destiny and develop the sort of life that is peaceful and meaningful on many levels regardless of what is going on in the greater world around you.