The Mirror of the New Economy
Imagine that you are handed a mirror. A voice speaks, telling you to look into the shiny surface and there, you will see your future.
You are excited, if a bit puzzled. How can a mirror show you what is to come? What might be? What will be? Nonetheless, you follow directions and gaze into the looking glass.
The first image causes more confusion that clarity. There is a picture—of the world, with black spots all over it. These specks merge over the firmament. They are darker and denser over the areas inhabited by the most people. This planet is polluted, and not only by chemicals. Peoples’ souls have become polluted with greed and violence.
What is the message? Is your personal destiny and the world’s fate really one and the same? You aren’t pleased. The world is a sad place. Come time for the holidays, there’s little peace on earth to wish others.
If your path is dependent on the journey of all souls, what hope is there for you?
How can you create a bright future if the lights around you are dim?
The most constant questions I hear these days involve the economy and the future. What’s going to happen to my stocks? Will I be able to keep my house? If I’m fired, will I get a new job? Will the war end? How will my parents survive the downturn? Will they have to live with me? The real issue is that we want to know what’s going to happen to us as individuals in a world that is stumbling.
We are linked. We are each a thread in a greater weave, the cloth of humanity. Usually, this truth has little play in our lives. We live in the microcosm of our own tiny lives. We approve the interconnections when they benefit us; say, when the neighbor helps us change our flat tire. We throw a temper tantrum when the bonds are inconvenient, say, it’s our turn to pick up the check at the restaurant and it’s a really big one. On a daily basis, most of us don’t worry about the starving children on the other side of the ocean, or even the children in our child’s school that might leave home in the mornings with empty belly.
Once in a while, however, worlds collide. The Divine colludes with the human spirit and says “Wake up. Look around.”
We look around and discover that we actually are affected by what’s happening way beyond our sphere of influence. But that’s not the worst of it, for the Divine doesn’t stop there—at least, not this time. Its added another, more challenging command. It’s this:
It’s one thing to read the stock reports; it’s another to feel the affects. And this time, humanity is actually looking and feeling, and we’re not having fun. What’s the hardest part? We can’t control what’s happening.
I can’t control the stock market. I can’t control the government. I can’t control the stockpiling of in Korea or the killing of baby girls in China. Until now, most of us have been able to shut out these realities, to fold them up within our half-read newspapers and toss them in the garbage. Suddenly, however, these events have meaning. They have intruded in our lives and this makes us feel angry—and scared.
The truth is that nothing has really changed. My little life has always been affected by events far greater than those in my control. Have I ever had a say, on the interest rates for my mortgage? Heck, I have a twenty-one year old. I couldn’t even control the length of his hair when he was a teenager. We are one. The gain of a job overseas does cost a local friend his or her job. Our interdependency isn’t a new fact; it’s simply been an unacknowledged one.
Essentially, we have two choices. We can stay in fear and complain or we can move into power and act. If we can’t act globally, we can act locally. If we can’t feed a child across the waters, we can do so at home. If a friend loses a job, we can network for him or her. If we lose our job, we can reach out and ask others to help us. We can give goodness and we can receive goodness, which is the essential definition of love.
Action—good action, kind action, cures fear.
I have to admit that I see the “current crisis” as a great opportunity. Of course, I don’t read the newspaper. I don’t watch television or check the price of my modicum of shares. I have enough fears in my own life; I don’t want to take on everyone else’s. But I’m not hiding my head in the sand, like the proverbial ostrich. I’m seeking to assist three children in Costa Rica whose mother has died. I am being far nicer to my former husband. I took in a cat that needed a home. I’m working on the nature of my own fears and seeking to heal them. I’m offering free work events, to help people connect with people. These are all really small activities, but they are the ones I’m able to do in the moment.
I really do see the economic wake-up as a call to love, as an opportunity to become more responsible and responsive, to become more financially disciplined, and to challenging myself to be part of the solution, rather than another symptom of the problem. Intuitively, I don’t even see the economy as tumultuous. Rather, the picture in my head is of a mirror—a sheer, black, calm, mirror. The only tornadoes it can reflect are those in my own heart and soul. If I remain calm and self-responsible, I see only “smooth sailing” now—and in the months to come.
The future really does become what we see it to be. If we gaze into the crystal ball with fear and trepidation, the future—collectively and personally—will become a place to be feared. If we see only darkness, we’ll have a hard time finding a light switch. Remaining in denial or being naïve isn’t any more effective than being paralyzed by fear. Being willing to act—to lovingly change, reach out, and love—will never go wrong, however. Light can’t get lost, it can only create more light.