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Spirituality Essay:

Antidote for Economic Malaise    ( December 2008 )

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Is there anyone who hasn't been deeply affected by the current economic crisis? Most of us are facing severe losses in areas we've never quite experienced before: losses in home values, stocks, and income. These have led perhaps to an even worse loss in our confidence and trust of the future.which (if that isn't enough) may well be creating an even more critical loss to our overall well-being and our natural expansiveness of consciousness.

We don't want to pull back, operate out of fear and worry, and contract. We need to really work and fight to stay positive, open, giving, and growing. This indeed is the challenge of our current times.

But how? Of the many ideas and techniques, practical and spiritual, I'd like to offer the idea of breaking out of the mind-set of loss, fear, and contraction and blasting into fullness and expansion by giving more!

We're all cutting back on our outlays these days. but consider donating as one area that should actually be increased!

You've likely heard the adage, "I used to feel bad I didn't have any shoes until I saw a man with no feet." It applies so well these days. As bad off as we might be, so very many are so much worse off. 60% of Americans now are reportedly having difficulty "paying their bills;" 25% of all homeowners currently have a mortgage larger than their home's value. All around us are people dealing with foreclosures, job losses (or the acute fear of it), not enough money for basics like food, heat, Christmas for their kids.. And most economists are saying we've just opened the door of this recession! In the next months, the number of people seriously hurting, financially and psychologically, is likely to grow significantly.

I imagine you're as concerned about all the "hurt" out there as I am. How do we deal with this? We want to help ... but it's hard ... hard to feel "giving" when we've lost so much already and are worried we'll need all we have for ourselves.

May I offer that to break out of the downward spiral of self-feeding (and self-fulfilling) loss, less, and contraction, promote your giving instincts. Giving more in fact. Whatever your customary giving habits, give enough more that you feel different.

It doesn't particularly matter what needy beneficiary it goes to. It's the infusion of your empathy and generosity into the "giving begets abundance for all" spiritual energy system that sparks an upward cycle of expansion. Because, when you give, not only does your heart open, but your own internal feelings of worth and sufficiency expand. As Suze Orman says, giving is the quickest way to feel rich.

Then, watch that spiritual energy principle return spiritual and material blessings back into your life.often in the most unexpected and delightful of ways.

Few pleasures in life match the warmth of making a difference in someone's life. As that wonderful saying says, "Give till it feels good."

This is one in a series of essays on spirituality by Rick Childs, lay leader of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Mendocino Coast. You may want to:
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