Coping With A Personal Financial Crisis
March 25, 2010"If that which is outside myself is ephemeral, what then truly matters?"
By Don Bradley
patient friend of mine is going through a crisis of disruption of life...
many people these days, as the world's economies continue to slide into
the abyss. This is something I know a little about, because this has happened
to me at least a dozen times, as I've watched everything I knew, built,
planned for, and hoped for, dissolve right under my feet, regardless of any
effort made to change its outcome. You can discern this occurrence in your life
by the following factors.
1. Nothing you do seems to make a difference. In fact, just the opposite occurs.
2. People you trust and have made endless sacrifices for, reveal to you how little you really mean to them. Instead, they take advantage of your situation, knowing you are at the end of your rope.
3. 200% efforts to make changes in any direction are met by a thousand and one obstacles, all of them seemingly working in concert to make matters worse.
4. Opportunities appear and then vanish very quickly, before you can realize them.
5. Friends and friendships become visible for what they really are, or have been, all along.
6. Everything and every goal you've striven for is erased from your life, one after another, with perfect regularity.
7. You find yourself alone, watching others move forward as your life comes to a halt on every level: financial, work, home, everything.
8. Wishing does no good.
9. Acting does no good.
10. You can point to a day on the calendar--very near at hand--when you will be destitute, ruined, and will have nothing, except that which you truly own free and clear and without any encumbrances. Even those things are in danger of loss, if they have no place to reside.
If you are over the age of 40, multiply all of the above by a factor of 10.
And there you are. Frustrated. Angry (some are, others not.) Without any visible hope or way out. Checkmate. You're done.
Your days become zombie-like. You walk about numb, feeling nothing. Having nothing. Seeing nothing but doom, as it relentlessly creeps forward to consume all that you have, are, or ever will be.
This crisis is indeed an opportunity. A spiritual opportunity.
For whatever reasons, life has forced you into a state of being where all that is external and outside yourself is being stripped away from you, piece by piece, until all that is left is you. All the busy-busy of your life has stopped, because it no longer exists. You've been dropped from the busy external games of life, by force. This creates a condition where we must, at long last, face ourselves. Who we really are. Then, if we see this rightly, we can ask the questions we should have been asking all along.
Who am I?
Where am I going?
What do I really need?
What is it that I want? And why do I really want it?
If that which is outside myself is ephemeral, what then truly matters?
For these are spiritual questions, dear friends. And life is forcing you to confront yourself because quite probably you've spent your entire life in pursuit of illusions that in the end, mean nothing. For many of us, we only face who we truly are when we've been stripped of everything. EVERYTHING. ALL OF IT.
Then, we realize the only things that are still with us are things that were honestly built upon LOVE, SACRIFICE, COMPASSION, UNDERSTANDING, and so on. These last. These continue. Everything else? Up in smoke, like they never existed at all. Ever.
Once a person finds themselves in this situation, they can then rebuild their lives upon proper principles, which do last. Yes, you may find yourselves living in your car for 11 months, and over and over again, but you are now a person who understands, sees, knows, and truly lives. Your motives have changed. Your spirit is now led by the principles which the truly greats have always understood. To live is to love, know, see, be, and do.
Once the above has occurred, you find that wow, you are free. Possessions mean nothing. For you know them to be nothing. Friendships for you are now built upon correct foundations, rather than self-serving, egoistic, or corrupt pursuits. Your daily life consists of finding meaning and as you go along, lo and behold, you do find it, in ways that your former self would have laughed at. That self that was lost in carnal pursuits, driven by blind ambitions; fueled by greed, avarice, ego, and fear.
The above awareness may come in a few days, months or sometimes, it takes years. But it does come.
Finally, at long last, life begins to reveal to you your real reason for being. You see it everywhere, all around you. You must learn to love, understand, care, live, and learn. Any chance you can, whatever the cost. Then, for the first time, you know you are living correctly. Every day, even in abject poverty, is beautiful, filled with love, and correctly lived. You'll never take anything for granted again: health, love, a sunrise, a great passage that gives insight, your beating heart.
Sure, you'll still get stingers from time to time, just to remind you of the illusions of it all, but these are there so that you can make straight your once winding road. They remind you that deviation from this opportunity will only lead you back to the same place so why not keep going forward as you have learned to do.
Will you miss the old life? No.
You will look back on all those missed opportunities to be a better person, the person you have now become. That's all the past will mean to you. All the correct actions you could have taken, but didn't, will stand out as beacons of true failure. The stuff, the money, the positions of power, these will be seen for the dead-ends they really were. You will see those lost in these dead-ends all around you, and understand. You will be patient in the extreme, because you know what they still do not know. Their turn will come, one day, as yours has come now.
All the best to you and may your life be filled with every blessing.