The Rubber Is Meeting The Road

by Mayuri on June 4, 2010

The Spiritual Opportunity Of Our Money Pain

I really like this guy , Matt Taibbi, who writes for the Rolling Stone magazine.  He again has a great article this month on the continued  betrayal of the American people.  The article is called “Wall Street Strikes Back” and the table of contents description on Page 5 tells a lot of the story: “Congress looked serious about financial reform until the country’s biggest banks unleashed an army of 2000 paid lobbyists”.

In the body of the article, Matt talks about the watering down of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act and ends with a few points that In feel are important to mention here. On the positive  side, the bill will curb some of the predatory lending I have spoken a lot about. But the more important issues the bill was supposed to address, like  breaking up large risky banks, requiring financial giants to set up a fund to pay for their own bailouts, and probably most importantly, forcing the derivatives market to be more transparent, won’t happen in any meaningful way. So the $600 trillion derivatives market will continue to work without the light of day, and that in my mind is criminal.

Matt’s conclusion foretells the continuing impact on the American people- “a war the once looked winnable will continue to drag on for years, creating more havoc and destroying more lives before it is over”.

So the results of the financial fiasco keep getting put back onto the shoulders of the American people.

I was at a meditation evening with spiritual teacher, David Spero, last week, on Memorial Day weekend. His comment as I remember it was that all the veterans who died for this country would rise up out of their graves with pickaxes and descend on Washington if they could.

Let’s talk about the lives that are being “destroyed”.

I heard a program on Solari.com where John Willams who has the website,  shadowstats.com, revealed that the real unemployment rate in the US right now,the rate not manipulated by government, is actually more like 23%, the worse since the great depression. And the myriads of self-employed people who are struggling right now, are not even included in these statistics.

We are being told the situation is improving, but our personal experiences are telling us it is not. Here are some of my recent ones:

The residential real estate market is continuing to tumble. I know many self employed people in my county such as contractors, real estate agents, architects who are out of work, had to close their offices, and are wondering how they can survive. Home suppliers are suffering and closing their retail  and wholesale spaces- many of whom have been around for decades. The next tier in real estate,  the  commercial  market, is being deeply affected. There are several families in my neighborhood, whose husbands are being laid off, and there is no other work for them available. I ran into a realtor friend at the farmer’smarket yesterday who has been in the business for 30 years, and she was in shock.

I had a facial last month, and my facialist’s business is way down. The stories of her clients include upside down mortgages and  overextended credit.  My doctor last week was asking me if I thought things were on the upswing because her experience is that it is not-her friends, many of whom are professionals like her, are either upside down too, or have lost a large percentage of their original downpayments. On my way to her office, I was amazed at the number of empty store fronts along one of the main streets of that city.

One of the most poignant story I heard was from a friend, who was working in a food line in another state, and a woman driving a late model Lexus arrived for food. In conversation with her, my friend discovered the woman had lost her job, her home, and was now living out of her car, which if they could find it, would be repossessed.

These are  the anecdotal results of a history of predatory lending and us being good consumer citizens. These tales are not just outrage at the information about what has happened, but rather it all coming home to roost with each of us in its own way, or  where the rubber meets the road.

So what we can see from this is the chaos is landing. We are being forced to take responsibility. We are being forced to turn inward. We are recognizing there is noone who is going to help us. We are going to have to help ourselves.We are going to have to face our fears, our limitations, our expectations, our desires, our anger, the whole range of human feelings, as well as our animal instincts , including the  survival instinct

This entire subject of turning inward, of inquiring more deeply into our experience, can seem counterintuitive to our normal  self, which has spent its whole life trying to move toward pleasure and away from pain. We have believed that happiness comes from avoiding pain and moving toward pleasure; in fact, we have spent most of  our time planning and engaging in activities in order to do just that. These activities have  include obsessively making more money, or spending more money, since most of us have believed that having more money or more possessions will give us greater happiness.

We believe that we need to change or fix something external to ourselves in order to be okay, so we try to do something “out there”-change our circumstances, change the other person, change the world.It doesn’t mean we don’t need to take appropriate action. But what we haven’t understood is that in order to transform our pain, and to ultimately meet our potential as human beings, we have to touch that pain with consciousness, be present to it and understand it. Knowing this, we can now consider the possibility that we may have to change our relationship to our pain. Instead of it being an enemy or a threat, we can recognize it as a friend on the spiritual journey and as a beacon to awakening.

We can use this time to transform our relationship to ourselves and to others. To what is more essential than pleasure. To make contact with something that right now is unknowable. We are all faced  right now with with not knowing in many forms-  but not knowing  is the doorway to something new. That is the spiritual opportunity of our money pain.

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