Anchoring Yourself during the Global Financial Crisis
Sri Sri Suddhaanandaa Brahmachari
“We can react and resist, or respond to any crisis, however intense it may become.”
This too shall pass
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is suffering from financial insecurity these days. Losing your job or your home, watching your life savings evaporate, or fearing what may be around the corner in a worsening economy, can be raw and painful, like riding a roller coaster. But the crisis also offers immense opportunity for spiritual growth. I recommend that we all take a deeper look at ourselves and our priorities, and anchor more deeply than ever in the resources of our Spirit, to enhance our ability to face all of life with confidence and service to others.
We can react and resist, or respond to any crisis, however intense it may become. Anchoring ourselves in the deeper truths, attitudes, and conduct of the Spirit is our ultimate and only security.
Today we are experiencing how unbridled greed affects the whole world. Humanity needs to reflect on how we have allowed money to displace our higher values and priorities. We have enshrined money and made it into our God. To be fully human we must rediscover the true God in our hearts.
If you are being heavily affected by the economic or any other turmoil, remember: Nothing is permanent; this too shall pass. The infinite power of the universe is working out its grand design. It is working to harmonize and to lift humanity from its present state. Human society cannot move forward blindly worshipping money. Human beings can only move forward by worshipping light, love and compassion.
Starting and ending your day with practice
Relaxing and meditating, being grateful for and celebrating all that you have, you create a safe, inner refuge from all external storms. In the process, your consciousness expands, you stabilize your mind and emotions, and you become a healing energy source in the world.
The universe has given you a priceless gift in your own body, mind and breath, which mirror the whole of which you are part. Respect, honor and nurture this gift through deep relaxation. Regular stretching, breathing and meditation, not only deepen your relaxation responses, they open the channels of your connection to the deepest resources of your own infinite being.
Try beginning each and every day with at least 15 to 20 minutes of regular, consistent practice. Open your heart to the blessings of the coming day before you plunge into the world and its stresses.
If possible, practice after your shower each morning and then again before you retire to bed. Relax, stretch, breathe and then meditate. You will stabilize the positive, healing powers in each cell of your body, while opening the channels of wholeness within your mind. You will begin to tap into the infinite intelligence which naturally and effortlessly harmonizes your Mind-Body-Spirit.
The regenerative, healing power of sleep happens when you are relaxed and free of disturbing thoughts. At night, prepare for sleep by responding with gratitude to the universe and all of those who have helped you throughout the day. Use the end of the day to transform any negative situations confronting you before you take them into your dreams. Then open yourself to the blessings of sleep.
Before going to sleep, practice some light, relaxed stretches and meditation. Then lie on your bed in a prone position. Starting with your feet, tense and then relax each body part in turn, moving up to the crown of your head. Relax each body part completely as you go, fully experiencing the sensations of relaxation. Just let go of all thoughts. Whenever they arise, simply release them into light, love and universal gratitude.
Even when the world around you is caught up in fear and anxiety, these simple practices create a profound balance in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels that will allow you to move forward harmoniously with life’s unfolding.
“Remember the regenerative fountain hidden within every level of your being. You must go to the very root of yourself to transform stress and misery into joy”
The art of transforming stress
Stress is simply a block that prevents the energy of life from flowing. When that block is removed, stress melts away. Life’s energy flows again, rippling with natural joy.
Make a practice of envisioning that harmonious joy flowing through your day, your life, your relationships, and the entire world. Imagine that joy flowing through every soul on earth, through every heart, through every life, through every community, through every country. If you can, spend some extra time envisioning that joy permeating countries where violence and suffering seem stubbornly entrenched. See the world freely flowing with healing, peace, and joy.
We all are the painters, the artists of our own lives. We keep painting the picture we see of ourselves on the canvas of our life, using the brush of our mind and heart. We create and shape our own destiny. The past creates the present and the present creates the future.
Art is simple. It is the dance of creation. The eternal creator, who is the very core of our being, is available at every moment, in every situation. By reconnecting each day to the infinite within your own being, you naturally transform stress. Life’s potential is always waiting to manifest its purest intentions in those who live close to its source.
Nothing is outside of us. It is all here, right here, right now, with us and within us. Everything is within us, yet we search and seek outside. The Divine child in us behaves like a beggar. Spiritually, we have inherited all that is pure and perfect. But the garment of the physical body, which we have all put on for a temporary period, mesmerizes us into self forgetfulness.
Remember the regenerative fountain hidden within every level of your being. You must go to the very root of yourself to transform stress and misery into joy. Be a good artist first and you will grow into an elegant dancer. Joy and celebration effortlessly flow from the fountain of your inner being. Living closer to that source, you flow. You dance without dancing, sharing your joy in life with the rest of the universe. Your awareness grows; your experience of oneness with the cosmos expands.
Learn the true meaning of sacrifice
In the months and years ahead, we will all be called upon to make sacrifices, small and large, so the world can regain its balance. Rather than feeling deprived, why not open our hearts to the power of sacrifice?
Sacrifice creates space. The new has to have space in which to emerge and grow. If you want something better than what you have, you must first create the space for it. The question is, how much of the old are you ready to give up for something higher?
What could you do to help others in need? How could you be more conscious of the collective welfare, rather than just being preoccupied with your own? What personal greed do you harbor that you could give up? More importantly, how can you sacrifice your habitual, negative habits of mind?
Why not give away all that you no longer need? Offer it to the Divine first, not because the Divine has any need for it, but because it is the Divine who can find the highest and best use for it – either to help someone or to move life forward.
Experiment. Look for small sacrifices on your part that might serve the collective good. You might try saving a little water for our mother, the Earth. Make your offerings simple, with the open heart and delight of a child laying a small flower, with great love, in its mother’s hand.
Just imagine: if we all sacrificed a bit more, if we looked for opportunities to make such sacrifices, what beautiful things might happen. Our small, loving sacrifices could make a huge impact. Even if we made little, personal sacrifices that no one else sees, the universe would see them. She would enrich us within; she would strengthen our connection to the Divine; she would intensify the Divine flow in and around us, and help us to give up clinging to things that make us unhappy.
Every time you consciously sacrifice for a higher good, every time you avoid harming or hurting someone, is a gift to the Earth. The moment you choose to refrain from anything negative, you are adding to the positive energy at work in our world.
Make it a personal ritual to sacrifice the negative at the altar of light. You do not need it. Leave it in the light. The light will take care of it. Then darkness everywhere will be reduced.
“Let us join together in casting fear aside and imagining being linked to all other hearts and souls, in the great moving river of Divine light, in the great unfolding of a higher life.”
Take a longer, more visionary view
Anything that fails to support life and consciousness will one day fall into the ashes of history. Even if life is up to some major reordering, today’s global financial crisis is not here to stay. It will remain only as long as it takes for humanity to absorb the deeper lessons that make real change possible.
A greed- and exploitation-based economic structure might be breaking down. If so, that is the life process in action, reminding us that the true value of life lies in its intrinsic gifts, rather than in externalities and worldly glitz. If we embrace the lessons informed by our spirit, a new, more vibrant and compassionate system can be born with less strife in the transition. Human beings can be happy with less money, with fewer things. We can focus on life’s intangible riches.
The joy of caring and sharing
There can be beauty and joy in the midst of poverty. There are agonies in the midst of affluence. I have seen both in my work with street children in India and traveling around the world, meeting the rich and successful.
The joy of caring, the privilege of sharing, is sublime. Who receives your service? Who sits in the hearts of the poor other than God? When you give to others who are less fortunate, you bring meditation into fruition. Your selfless, unconditional love for others connects you to infinite abundance, health and wealth.
Those who serve the poor are blessed immeasurably. Serving those in pain is the greatest privilege of all; nothing else approaches being as fulfilling.
Why not commit to performing at least one additional act of compassion every day? Find a way to touch the heart of someone with whom you have no selfish interest. Just give. Give with your heart. Give without expectation. Witness and enjoy the grace that unfolds from each simple act of love, how it attracts more positive into your life.
“Times of upheaval are deep initiations into the transience of life. They are initiations of the soul. No external situation can be permanent. It comes and then it goes away to make room for the new.”
Joining together in the divine
Times of upheaval are deep initiations into the transience of life. They are initiations of the soul. No external situation can be permanent. It comes and then it goes away to make room for the new. Make “This too shall pass” a focus of meditation. We can gently remind ourselves and others, “Yes, this has come, but it also has to go. Nothing is permanent.”
In times of difficulty, you can lift your mind with your own mind or you can allow your mind to droop. Obsessing about how much worse things might become will only devour you. It will send you into an emotional black hole. The more we collectively fear, the more the collective psyche manifests worse conditions, which only further disturbs the peace of every human being. If we consciously observe and rephrase our thoughts, if we wake up, if we seek the company of thoughts and actions that have vibrations of love, faith, connection and confidence, we short circuit fear’s negative processes.
As we move through this unsettled global economy, let us join together in casting fear aside. Let us join together, imagining being linked to all other hearts and souls, in the great moving river of Divine light, in the great unfolding of a higher life. The Divine is our only security. Grounded in the Divine, we are instilled with profound creativity, courage and faith in life. The Divine is working resolutely for the well-being of all beings on Earth. Grounded in the Divine, which is always within us, we seed the world with trust and anticipation of the good that is waiting to being born through any and every crisis.