Turning Stock Market Woes into Spiritual Growth
by Sharon Janis (written after the stock market crash of 2001)
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:
- First comes the shock of loss, the grief and disappointment of broken hopes and dreams.
- 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
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