How can I protect myself in a failing economy?

This wasn’t exactly the question I’ve been asking myself lately, though it is the one I think is on most people’s minds.

The first thought that comes to me when I ask this question is “Protect myself from what?” I started thinking. Usually a need for protection comes out of a sense of a lack of something – in this case a lack of security that comes from a stable financial base. But, is this true? Can we really find true protection in “stuff”?

My spiritual heritage has its roots in the Christian tradition. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been meditating on the following verses in Matthew:

Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the filed grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

So do not worry, saying,”What shall we eat” or “What shall we drink” or “What shall we wear”. For the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them.

But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

-Matthew 6:25-26; 28-33

Are you worrying about what you will eat or what you will drink or what you will wear? If you’re a person of faith in a higher power, it isn’t really useful to spend time concerned over these issues, as God already knows we need them. So, where then should the focus of our thoughts be if not on our desperate condition? On the Kingdom of God.

Right. Anybody got a roadmap to where this “Kingdom” is?

Well, actually, yes.

“The Kingdom of God is within you.”(Luke 17:21)

OK. If that’s the case, how do I know what part of me is the “Kingdom” and what is not? Actually, God gave the answer to Moses after Moses asked him, “Who should I say sent me?” God’s answer? “Tell them ‘I AM’ sent you.”

The Kingdom of God is when you are connected to the “I AM”. And, what is the “I AM”? The only thing that there is – The Present Moment. The NOW.

Anytime you feel fear, anxiety, worry, guilt, anger, etc, etc., it’s because you’re living in a time-bound experience. These emotions imply a sense of time, as fear, anxiety and worry are rooted in an imagined future, while guilt and anger have their source in a remembered past. Neither is happening now (though your ego-mind would like you to think this is so).

When you’re Present, you experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (does this ring a bell with you Christians as the “fruits of the spirit?”).

How do you get and stay Present? A few ways:

  1. Acceptance and Surrender
    Allow the present moment to be what it is. Completely accept the situation as it stands. This does NOT mean you cave in and do nothing about it. Quite the contrary – by not judging the conditions you find yourself in, you bring a sense of clarity to the moment. This permits you to see things in a different, less emotionally charged, light from which a better course of action can be determined
  2. Gratitude
    I like to think of gratitude as the energetic opposite of “surrender”. “Surrender” to me implies an inner acceptance of what appears to be an outward experience. “Gratitude” to me is the outward expression of an inner state of being derived from surrender. Having gratitude – or thankfulness – means you are OK with what Is and is the natural result of Surrender.
  3. Do not Judge
    (anybody got a good antonym for “Judge”? I couldn’t find one!)

    Ever wonder why Jesus admonished, “Judge not, lest ye be judged”? I would dare say because we do not know the mind of God. What we deem to be good (or bad, or fat, or old, or ugly….) may not be so because we tend to look at the situation from our own small point of view rather than God’s bigger picture. If you can cease to label an experience, you open up yourself to a wealth of possibilities only accessible by this freedom from your inner critic.

  4. Give.
    “Give, and it will be given to you. A large quantity, pressed together, shaken down, and running over will be put into your lap, because you will be evaluated by the same standard with which you evaluate others.” (Luke 6:38 ISV) .Do you ever wonder why it feels so good to give? Because when we give, we are filled with a sense of abundance, not lack. And, don’t just give money – give the most valuable item you own to everyone and everything: Your Attention.

You say you’re a Christian, a Buddhist, a Jew, a Muslim? All of these religions have these tenents at their heart. You’re living as a “Pagan” (read: “Non-Believer”) if you are not living in the Kingdom, and the only place you’ll find the Kingdom is by being Present Now.

Enjoy the Peace and Abundance of the Kingdom of God!

6 Responses to “How can I protect myself in a failing economy?”

  1. 1 James Field September 26, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    This would make a pretty good sermon. You could use Marcus Borg’s Jesus and Buddha book to flesh out some of the parallels too.

  2. 2 Doris Augenstein September 26, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    My dear, dear Carol,
    A wonderful “sermon” to start my day! Thank you so much. You are right on about living in the “NOW”. If we want changes (changes!) we, individually have to take the first step and change that which is “negative” within ourselves. Miracles can then happen. Your “sermon” should be published. Thank you again. “Vocatus atque non, Vocatus deus aderit”

  3. 3 veronica Fisher September 28, 2008 at 11:29 am

    I never really noticed that about guilt… I’m always looking for ways to release guilt especially when it’s gone way past its original purpose of getting me to adjust my behaviors. Of course, residual guilt occurs if one is not living here and now. And likewise, worry is a “future” experience.

    I have the opportunity to watch folks live in a continual state of struggle financially and otherwise. Thinking positive can be their downfall if it morphs into “denial”. Thinking negative can cripple clear thinking as well. We need a balance.

    Things can go “wrong” for anyone, death happens to us all. Even with right thinking, living here and now, living in faith, living in the Kingdom, we all lose it all (stuff) at the end of our life. So while your advice is a very effective way to detoxify ourselves from crippling worry… we need not blame ourselves if things go wrong despite “living in the Kingdom”. I like to mention to people about a successful shopping spree where I bought a whole set of positive thinking cassettes and books…it was like a store. “Think your way to health” and “Envision a vibrant body” and I bought it at an ESTATE SALE. -V

  4. 4 Tracy Hildreth October 28, 2008 at 12:52 am


    This was truly a great read…up until the very end.

    “You say you’re a Christian, a Buddhist, a Jew, a Muslim? All of these religions have these tenents at their heart. You’re living as a “Pagan” (read: “Non-Believer”) if you are not living in the Kingdom, and the only place you’ll find the Kingdom is by being Present Now.”

    First, I would like to ask you, are you even aware of the source of the term “Pagan”? It derives from the root Latin – Paganus and loosely translated to have meant “rustic”, “hick”, or “country bumpkin” – basically a pejorative term.

    Some believe that in the early Roman Empire, “paganus” came to mean “civilian” as opposed to “military.” Christians often called themselves “miles Christi” (Soldiers of Christ). The non-Christians became “pagani” (non-soldiers or civilians). No denigration would be implied. Another suggestion of interpretation is that the general meaning was any “outsider,” – a neutral term – and that the other meanings, “civilian” and “hick,” were merely specialized uses of the term.

    I would also like to point out the fact that it is only Christians who define the term “Pagan” as “One who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew, especially a worshiper of a polytheistic religion or Satanist.” So this would mean that Buddhism, not being one of those 3 Abrahamic religions, is also considered a “Pagan” religion.

    Now, with that said, I would truly like to understand what makes one imply that just because they do not follow your designated belief system (or one of the others listed for that matter), that they be labeled as a “Non-Believer”?

    So much of what you said speaks volumes of truth for far more belief systems than just that of the ones you have seen fit to list. Now if I understand you correctly in what you have stated here, you have implied that a Pagan is “Godless”. And using the word in the context displayed in this sharing here, in essence, you have gone against your own advice to folks…#3 – Do not Judge.

    If this is not how you meant your message to be taken, then I highly recommend that you do your homework a bit more thoroughly and get to the true root meanings of any terms you may decide to utilize in your messages. This contradiction in your message may not be as obvious to most, as I am sure that the majority of your readers are Christians like yourself. But to those who have gone much further down the rabbit hole, studied many more religions, belief systems and philosophies beyond just that of the mainstream, your statement raises a very large red flag. I say this because I have studied an abundance of so called “Pagan” religions and have come to find a great many parallels to that of the teachings of Jesus, albeit worded differently, the core teachings are still the same.

    Please understand that I am not here to cause any conflict, ruffle feathers, nor pass judgment upon you. My input here is, instead, to merely give you a different perspective that you may not have previously considered. Always remember that no one person or religion “knows it all” and the best teachers out there are ones who remain in the role of perpetual student.

    Blessings be upon you as you share your Light.

  5. 5 Carol October 28, 2008 at 1:25 am

    Gosh, Tracy – I meant no offense! I am a bit of a Pagan in the true sense of the word myself, as I see God in all creation. As a Unitarian Universalist, I honor all traditions.

    I chose to use the word “Pagan” at the end of my post for continuity with my Bible quote earlier, as this is how the King James Version of the Bible uses the term and I felt I needed to explain this. I guess I didn’t do such a good job in making things clearer, though you sure did set me straight. Thanks for your beautiful rebuttal!!

  6. 6 lbm/aka horton October 28, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    omg! i love all yall!!! thanks dunkin!!! 😀
    im jussa bumkin here dreamin of punkin but the way eye hear tracy and carol birds singin is music 2me huge floppy ears!!! ha! lol! now this crazee love hummer gotta fly right on out here!~<3(((~*

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