Monday, October 13, 2008

Tips for Staying Calm and Centered During the Current Economic Crisis 

Many people are finding themselves filled with anxiety as their financial portfolios crumble.  But the good news is that there is something much greater than these financial challenges -- there is an awareness that exists beyond the ups and downs of this world.  Tapping into that awareness allows you to navigate the decisions of your life while remaining happy and calm in spirit.

Here are some tips to help you get centered in your higher awareness:

  1. Take slow deep breaths to calm your mind and nervous system. Breath in to the count of 3, hold for the count of 3, breathe out to the count of 3, and pause to the count of 3, and feel free to adjust this practice to whatever pace is most comfortable for you, with the focus on allowing your breath to move more deeply and slowly.

  2. During the day, as you walk, think a walking affirmation timed with your steps. You can start with, “I am happy, I am healthy, I am wealthy, I am blessed,” and compose your own personalized statements to bathe your mind in positive thoughts and words. You can also align positive words with your slow breathing exercise.

  3. Remember death - not in a fearful way, but with a recognition of that which is inevitable. Remembering death helps you to appreciate life. Whatever you may have lost in the stock market is just practice for the day that you will leave this whole world behind to enter a greater realm of experience. Be grateful for what you have, and that gratitude will help to outshine the darkness of doubt and fear.

  4. Don't listen to Suze Orman telling you (on CNN this past week) that you're going to have to live in your car and wait in bread lines. That's the same fear-mongering approach that helped create this crisis -- see this article for more on this topic.

  5. Have faith. If you're Christian, remember and write down Bible verses that give you greater faith that the hand of God is upon you and that He will take care of you as He does the lilies in the field. Each religion gives solace for difficult times - find whatever of these helps to soothe your mind and heart. Take refuge in the wisdom of ancient or modern sages. If you're “spiritual but not religious,” you can still have faith in the rightness of the universe and know that whatever you are going through is your destiny, your karma. We all have crosses to bear in our lives, and with them comes our power to choose to experience them with faith and happiness.

  6. Play gentle music that soothes your spirit and uplifts your heart and soul. Playing gentle music before you go to sleep will help to quiet the buzzing vibrations that keep you thinking and worrying. One example of good music to play before going to sleep is the "Eternal Om" recording that comes on the music CD in the back of each Spirituality For Dummies book, which you can also play online (for free) at

  7. As you prepare to sleep at night, bring your focus into the present moment. In the present moment, everything is fine. You still have a bed to sleep in; you still have so much more than so many who live on this very same planet. Focus your attention on the sensation of lying in bed. Use whatever blankets and pillows help you to feel comfortable. Intentionally let go of the events of today and the concerns about tomorrow. Be like a child again. Your only job is to let go of yourself. Sleep in heavenly peace. . .

  8. Before you go to sleep, ask your subconscious mind to give you whatever dreams will help to heal your concerns and bring you peace of mind, whether you remember the dreams consciously or not. A lot of personal empowerment and healing can come from having the right dreams, and you can easily communicate with your own subconscious mind like a prayer, asking it to help you to survive and thrive through this and any other crisis.

  9. Instead of watching the scary news before going to sleep, take care of yourself with a cup of warm chamomile tea and some peaceful silence, as you read even a paragraph or two from a favorite uplifting positive book to guide you into a peaceful, sound sleep.

  10. Don't let fear or greed make you vulnerable to phishing schemes that steal your identity, free trial offers that end up costing you hundreds of dollars in hidden fees., or Nigerian princes who want to send you millions of dollars.

  11. Okay, you've been budgeting and denying yourself all kinds of unnecessary luxuries, but you just have an uncontrollable itch to shop. Here's one alternative. Take ten dollars plus change and go to your local 99 cent store. Get back into your childhood mentality of being able to go to the store and shop for simple but fun things, and take a good time to walk through the store feeling abundant with your ten dollar budget, with which you can purchase ten items.

  12. Use this financial downturn as an opportunity to clarify your priorities and simplify your life.  Contemplate what is most important to you and fund that.  Identify what is least important, and let it go.  Everything in the middle can be decided on an individual basis. Do you really need to have that cell phone?  If family vacations are a priority, are there less expensive ways to go?  What are you paying for that you could do without?  Do your kids really need those ballet lessons they don't really enjoy?  Find simple and inexpensive ways to entertain yourself and your family.  Playing a board game together can be every bit as fun as going to a movie, and a whole lot less expensive.  With this kind of disernment, even when the stock market funds go back up, you'll have taken the very important step of considering what is most important in your life.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Searching for Truth in a World of Pretense - An excerpt from Spirituality For Dummies 

From Spirituality For Dummies, 2nd edition:

I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. 

—Thomas Carlyle

Today’s world is an amazing time and place for seeking, discovering, and nourishing your spirituality. As they say, it’s the best of times and the worst of times. Most people have the freedom to explore and seek higher spiritual truth in ways that were unavailable in previous times and cultures. Yet, at the same time, authentic spiritual teachings and practices can be hard to find amidst the busyness and noise of modern life.

Never before has this world seen anything like the massive scale of illusory commercialization and pretense that floods today’s modern cultures. In recent years, the media have done their best to turn audiences into obsessive-compulsive gossipers, as they shamelessly pound out each salacious detail of celebrities’ personal lives for hours, days, weeks, months, and even years — for what? Bigger ratings and more revenue.

Advertising and commercialism pervade every corner of today’s urban landscape, with little care for the sanctity of people’s right to a peaceful environment. Millions of dollars are spent to research how to trigger and draw your subconscious attention to all kinds of products you don’t even need, without regard for the side effects of these mental manipulations. If advertisers could figure out how to beam their commercials directly into your head, you can be sure that many would jump at the chance.

Your calling is to find truth and spirituality in the midst of all this worldly pretense. However, to complicate things further, spirituality today also tends to be compromised by the same motives of greed, ignorance, and sensuality that pervade other areas of society.

In a way, today’s world of pretense can actually benefit a spiritual seeker who is proceeding with open eyes. The glaring chaos of commercialized illusions can drive ripe spiritual seekers to become even more vigilant about absorbing themselves, mind, heart, and soul, into the peaceful presence of the divine. The key is to take full advantage of the spiritual benefits of this time (see Chapter 2) while steering clear of potholes along the way.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Turning Stock Market Woes into Spiritual Growth 

To paraphrase our beloved Jesus Christ: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and good-IPO's-gone-bad consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor bear markets consume and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." And if that weren't enough, he continues by warning: "You cannot serve God and wealth." This doesn't mean you cannot enjoy abundance in your life, but rather that you must enjoy that abundance within the umbrella of spiritual awareness - a tricky task, indeed.

Nevertheless, I have good news. Guess how you can arrive at a place where your focus is on the highest kingdom of Heaven while all those other good things are being added unto you? By having your convictions and concepts tested, uplifted, and churned into spiritual growth. And this current downturn in the stock market can be just the medicine to spur you into new fields of spiritual awareness and freedom - if you choose your thoughts and responses wisely.

The truth is that when everything is going up in the outer world, most people find their comfort and security in those rising numbers, even though numbers carry only the illusion of security. We human beings do like our comforts, and tend to keep our focus on whatever will keep things pleasant. The thought that, "Hey, I'm getting richer every day!" can be one of those enjoyable places to keep our attention. However, this is exactly what Jesus was warning us about. Materialistic attachments are temporary at best; at worst, they are distractions to your soul's spiritual, eternal, and primordial journey. Many folks discover this only when death comes to call for them. How fortunate that the ever-abundant, ever-creative, and ever-compassionate universe is giving us all a magnificent demonstration of this lesson - now, while we are still here to allow the breakthrough to transform the rest of our lives!

When you hear that you've just lost hundreds, thousands, or millions of dollars in a market downturn, there are two phases you are likely to go through - with your own timing and according to your individual nature:

  1. First comes the shock of loss, the grief and disappointment of broken hopes and dreams.
  2. Eventually comes a time when you must find a way to alleviate the anger or grief - either through harmful means such as mind-numbing intoxicants, or through positive means, spiritual means. Taking refuge in spiritual wisdom, you seek to find an understanding that will take the loss you have just suffered and find some way to make it okay. The truth is that spirituality makes everything okay - loss, gain, good times, and challenging times. Spirituality is a vision of perfection, faith, gratitude, love, surrender, humility, and grace. It is a great place to go when the world deals you a blow.

The markets, like everything in life, will continue to oscillate. While many are responding to this current market downturn with anger or fear, smart spiritual investors are able to remember the bigger picture and respond instead with equanimity and good judgment. Life brings ups and downs all the time - good times and bad times, gain and loss. The calling of spirituality is to not be swept away by these ephemeral and often illusory advances and setbacks, and instead to keep your focus on that which is long-term, and ultimately on that which is eternal - call it God, Christ consciousness, Shiva, Jehovah, Allah, Zeus, or Holy Spirit. If you are an investor in the current market, here is a priceless opportunity for you to make the inner leap to that which never goes up and down - to that which is beyond the Dow Jones Industrial. Grace! Universal Creation! Bigger thinking!

Find a large menu of inspiring multimedia spiritual resources with books, music, videos, and more at -- all free, so you can enjoy them even if you're broke! Check out the newly updated spiritual adventure multimedia memoir with chapters about how I went from a six-figure income to under the poverty line, with great challenges and greater blessings -- Never to Return: A Modern Quest For Eternal Truth:

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