I answer e-mails every week from people I don't know, usually asking me about some aspect of being a small business owner. Here's this week's question: How does one lead a meaningful spiritual life in a bad economy?
Now this question isn't necessarily about being a business owner. But I kind of got the feeling that it came from a business owner who has bought into the energy of “the economy is nothing but bad” and who also is feeling exhausted and defeated. And more than likely, there's just a little bit of resistance to looking within himself for answers to the slowness of his business and the lack of profitability he is experiencing – so – it's EASY to start talking/thinking/blaming the “bad economy” for taking away his meaningful spiritual life (along with his business). So, maybe this person is finding it hard to keep his spirit up because of a lack of income in his business – I don't know, just guessing.
This question made me think a lot about the relationship of our own spiritual ground and the situations we find ourselves in as life goes on. Because I know from my own experience and that of others that developing and living from one's own belief system and character informs everything we do and sustains us in both good times and frustrating times. Our personal growth and way of being affects all we do, personal or business.
So here's my answer: Being in a bad economy has nothing to do with leading a meaningful life or a spirit based life, either. Think about the world's greatest wisdom teachers. Jesus certainly wasn't rich, and neither was the Buddha. In fact, being of good spirit no matter your outward circumstances is the very essence of a meaningful, spiritual lifestyle. Rich or poor, bad economy or good economy, one can live into a meaningful life or one can live what I call an “unawake and unaware” life. Level of income or success doesn't matter – some rich people have meaningful spiritual lives and some don't at all. The same for poorer people. Money is not a qualified for a meaningful, spiritual lifestyle. Intention, openness, gratitude, and lack of fear is.
This question made me think once again that it isn't what happens in our surroundings that is important as much as it is how we react or give meaning to what has happened. Keeping our ground is the key thing for business or any other part of life, seems to me.