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Coping With A Personal Financial Crisis

March 25, 2010

finding god.jpg"If that which is outside myself is ephemeral, what then truly matters?"

By Don Bradley


A very patient friend of mine is going through a crisis of disruption of life... are 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.

Scruples - the game of moral dillemas

Comments for "Coping With A Personal Financial Crisis "

Frank said (March 29, 2010):

With all due respect, Yoda, the apparent author of this article seems to think he's stumbled onto something universal, when in fact he has just pulled a big hunk of lint from his own navel, like thousands of would-be prophets and seers before him. For all those, like him out there for whom no one else matters, this is a great piece, the basis of many an unencumbered person's raison d'etre and a gently instructive salve for every body who lost all the crap they could never afford, anyway, but for those of us with truly dependent dependents, who never weighted ourselves down with all that materialistic crap in the first place, it is less than no kind of sensible advice or comfort.

I am 50. College educated, more than once, with some graduate work, to boot. I've been out of work for almost 14 months, this time, not to mention the other two years out of the last six.

My wife doesn't work outside the home, to speak of, as she has provided full time care for our physically disabled son during all his 20+ years. Getting in touch with our spiritual selves, while living in a car isn't an option, when we have to have electricity to run our son's breathing machine, hospital bed and other life support functions, and neither is going without insurance, when his medical bills may come to over $250,000 in a given year.

In a world of $1,500/month COBRA premiums, free, government provided heart surgery for fast food fanatics and drunks, $26,000 wheelchairs, home modifications that you haven't been able to afford to make for year upon year, and prohibitively expensive vehicle modifications that preclude any attempt to upgrade your son's quite over-used means of transportation, your brand of pseudo-stoic transcendence, though appealing, doesn't mean so much.

It has been so long since I learned it, both the easy way and the hard, that I don't remember ever not knowing that the things of this earth will never satisfy, and I heartily agree that there is too much stuff in everyone's life, failing to fill holes that only a spiritual being will ever find filled, but I've little pity for them, as I'd gladly part with everything I've ever owned, ever will own and any more I could steal, if my son could have the chance to lead a normal life and find his way, even if it meant making all the same mistakes that I have made.

So, who is it that you're talking to, or speaking for? Not me, and not those for whom it is much worse.

Sue said (March 28, 2010):

With the current expansion of the world-wide financial crisis coping is something many more of us are doing. This article however, in my opinion should be renamed, Advice for Former Rich People or NWO/New Age Dribble. Poor and working people with families do not need to be told they will find their true self by spending 11 months sleeping in their cars. The back seat of a car isn't that great of a place to do your homework when you're growing up.

Come on people don't let anyone convince you otherwise. I don't believe there is much freedom without social justice.

I appreciate the fact you provide a forum for a variety of opinions. Your website contains some content you can't find anywhere and provides for great debate.

Donna said (March 26, 2010):

Hi Henry, I just read this last article on financial crisis.

I'm 45, university educated, speak several languages and have battled severe depression because I didn't "make it"like I had planned. I planned on being some super manager somewhere, I was downsized, stuck with hiring freezes, harrassed and bullied and squeezed out of jobs, fired for standing up for my rights and felt like a failure.

Reading your material has deprogrammed me from the system I was raised in. I was expected to go to uni and be a super career woman, the recessions hit when I was trying climb the ladder. So, your material has been therapy for me.

I no longer feel like a failure. I tried marriage, but really picked the wrong type and didn't have children, which I still struggle with, but the way the world is today, I wouldn't be able to raise them without being arrested by children's aid.

Anyway, I no longer blame myself for not "making it' because I've been in the feminazi camps of Canadian corporations and they can have it, they are all miserable bitches who complain about their jobs all day and then they bully their staff and stab each other in the back. the smart ones Henry, go on disability for depression, screw them and the system they created , really,

Sonia said (March 26, 2010):

Henry - "Coping with Financial Failure" --- a beautiful piece. Inspirational and so true. We need to be reminded that we don't take ANY MATERIAL THING with us!

Mark said (March 25, 2010):

Wow! It's like somebody is reading my mail! Man it's like this guy has been watching me for a long time and reporting back what he is seeing. I have asked Father Yahweh about this several times, a couple lately and along comes this article. I have often felt like I was sitting in a big hole in the ground unable to escape and just having to take it while life goes by.......I can't say I don't miss things, being broke stinks but the rest of it for me is spot on! Thanks for sharing!

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at