I asked for subjects for this blog on twitter the other day and Hilary Barrett said: how do you keep up a positive attitude watching the news these days?
Of course the assumption is that to have a positive attitude is a prerequisite to being spiritual. I think people as wide apart as Gautama Buddha and Martin Luther (not King) might disagree. The Buddha started on his path when he realised just how normal pain and suffering were. In fact: that is his first truth or insight: life is often Dukkha. Dukkha can be translated as ‘to endure or live through what’s difficult’.
The present economic troubles will involve a lot difficulties. I think for anybody who is dependent on the economy – for business reasons, or because they want to buy house, or save money for retirement – should keep abreast of what is happening in the economic markets. And yes, that may be depressing.
I wonder if I may be so European to remind you all that the present economic cricis was partly caused by a government which did not see limitations? That government, i.e. George Bush, told banks to loan out money to people who could not afford to get further into debt. That’s what ‘Sub-prime mortgage’ means. So my only advice is: do see limitations. Do live within your means.
Does this mean getting depressed? Some people will. From a spiritual perspective the amount of money you have isn’t as important as the ability to live with what is. What is, right now, is an economic storm. So ride it out.
And old Sufi story has it (From a collection of sufi stories by Idries Shah):
A powerful king, ruler of many domains, was in a position of such magnificence that wise men were his mere employees. And yet one day he felt himself confused and called the sages to him.
‘I must have such a ring. And this ring must be one which, when I am unhappy, will make me joyful. At the same time, if I am happy and look upon it, I must be made sad.’
The wise men consulted one another, and threw themselves into deep contemplation, and finally they came to a decision as to the character of this ring which would suit their king.
The ring which they devised was one upon which was inscribed the legend:
This, too, will pass.
‘I do not know the cause, but something impels me to seek a certain ring, one that will enable me to stabilize my state.