The “Economy” is an eco-system composed of mutual interdependencies. It features worlds within worlds and therefore resists singular statements. For example, you can declare that “the economy is bad,” but at the same time, there are always people who make money during recessions and even depressions. The “Economy” is not just something “out there,” or something directed by big corporations or federal regulators. It is also a most accurate reflection of who and where we are as a people, and it tells us much about our own inner workings.
As I described in April, I’m sharing some ideas and practices that can help to rebalance the terrain, that can allow us to sidestep the more destructive aspects of a toxic economy: wage slavery, seeing others as objects, dependence upon the whims of markets, and being constantly caught in hope and fear.
This round: Create Community
The centrality and importance of community cannot be emphasized enough. Communities do not have to be organized and many of us these days belong to interlocking communities. Friends, neighbors, animals, the lands we live on – all of these make up communitas, the sense and reality of belonging to and with others. On a very basic level, real community provides a safety net: these are the people who will take you in when you are in need. These are the people who you would take in as well. These are also the people you can trust to have “brain storming” sessions with. When Harvard psychologist and author Erik Erikson was writing his Pulitzer prize-winning book, “Childhood and Society,” he would regularly invite colleagues like the anthropologists Margaret Meade and Gregory Bateson to dinner. He would read them his latest chapter and receive their candid feedback on his work. Every creative endeavor requires a community along with productivity. Abundance is not about the “individual against the world,” especially in a downward spiral. It is about finding the people who you really resonate with and offering your value. Your community is the place in which your value can be received, the place where your authentic being is appreciated, where you do not need a mask. Downward spirals are like karmic whirlpools. They are produced out of our collective ignorance, our collective exploitation of the earth and its creatures.
When the economy turns downward, clouds of fear gather on the horizon. The environment darkens. The lower nature asserts itself. By collaborating with like-minded people, you can avoid being captured by the collective. There is no guilt or shame in asking others for what you may need. The practice that is associated with this is “paying it forward,” when you receive, you find a way to pay it forward. This keeps the currency rolling and rolling as the unblocked current creates prosperity.
When you begin to understand cause and effect, how every thought and action of everyone contributes to the collective reality, you begin to see previously invisible connections between all kinds of actions. Likewise, you begin to notice connections and possibilities that were previously obscured by the clouds of collective doubt and fears. Buy locally; know your suppliers and customers; understand that sales need not be adversarial, but can be a continuation of the current of community. Selling becomes a form of sharing. There is no guilt or recoil in charging for your services. In fact the way you set fees, is part of the continuum of giving and receiving, and this has everything to do with being in flow. The flow of abundance creates enough for everything and everyone. It is learning to receive it that is crucial. That means respecting limits, respecting what each one can and cannot do, getting requisite training, and looking to contribute value. Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by naysayers who announce the end of the world and the like.
Once you step onto the path of abundance, see the possibilities of love, and the breadth of luminosity, the old world has already ended. Every breath is a new creation, every moment a rebirth. You stand in abundance, in goodness, in awesome gratitude for the gift of life, in radical trust, and you realize moment by moment that your destiny is to be happy, to be free, to be in alignment with God and with all.