H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Thursday, 5 February 2009

How can we solve the Economic Crisis of our environment?

By Matsyavatara Dasa

(The following is an abstract from a Conference held by Shriman Matsyavatara Prabhu, in Padua on January 17th 2009 on the theme “Psyche and Environment”)

Psyche and Environment: the first key to the problem could be not to panic and not to create panic. The economic crisis will increase out of proportion if we take it dramatically and induce ourselves to believe that it is better not to make new attempts: in that case, it is affecting not only a few stock holders but extending widely through progressive state of disbelief, and people will experience the reality of their negative prophecy. In these circumstances, a person with a fragile psyche, who is easily influenced, is inhibited and tends to paralyse all activities; furthermore, in his interactions with others, such a person exercises his negative influence and destabilizes equally weak psychic fields.

All crises can be solved only by seeing the opportunity hidden behind the danger; it is not different for the present crisis. For the Greek the word crisis was neither negative nor positive: it meant “change”. Chinese people draw the concept of crisis with two idiograms: the first meaning “beware, danger” the other meaning “beware, opportunity”. If we consider a crisis purely in its dangerous aspect, we are paralysed and become the agents of the crisis: as we enter a crisis, we produce a crisis.

If instead we see a crisis as an opportunity and as an instrument to favour change, in that case we are open to understand our need to improve and fix things or aspects of our personality: this is always a positive stimulus to evolution.

If well accepted and handled, any kind of crisis hides the opportunity to solve a deeper problem. Deeper because without the crisis we would not even notice the problem.

As for the present economic crisis: a certain part of the world would have continued to produce toxic finance, while perhaps many people would have not understood that certain illusionary forms of wealth are meant to blow up as a psychic bubble; this economic downturn recalls us to the urge to build a healthier economy.

When we miss or lose something we have to accept it, try to learn a good lesson out of it, growing and improving; we have to understand the importance of losing too. Besides, at times, a loss is not necessarily a bad reality, for instance, when we lose bad habits or people that do not help us to evolve. A crisis is the best occasion for a discussion on who we are.

To handle and overcome crises, my advice is to never give up investing in our energy, in the activity we trust, in training ourselves and others. Our attempts should go in the direction of creating a society that does not depend dramatically on the outside: we can become the actors and authors of our wellness, indeed I do not refer to economic investments only. We should try to think about ourselves and the life we are leading, renovating us in and out, rewriting our priority values, without being the slaves of induced systems of thought, automatically performed, by which we believe to be doing the thinking ourselves, whilst others do it for us. We should constantly dedicate ourselves to our duties with commitment and joy, aiming at the spiritual growth of ourselves and others, because only then will our actions bring us satisfaction: if we act accurately and for a higher purpose, our actions will produce real value and a significant enrichment.

The first time and energy investment required is in our relationships. Relationships based on authentic values represent the greatest asset in life; this happens when we do not cheat ourselves and others, when we are trustful and honest. Honesty means “without a mask”; it is not always positive to say everything, because people could not understand and we could offend them, but it is important never to say untruths, and to proffer every spoken word to a constructive aim.

Believe in what you say, believe in what you do; speak and act with your heart and soul: in this way you will renovate relations, behaviours, habits and the economy will improve too; to speak the truth, your entire existence will improve and restore its meaning. On the other hand if the choice is for futility, superficiality and valueless products sold as precious objects, every aspect of our life will progressively fail.

The quality of economy is not different from the quality of relations: we cannot grow rich if we cheat others. The business may last for a while, but eventually it will fall back on us.

If you have a brickyard, make a higher number of the best bricks, but ensure that your workers have all they need and act in conditions suitable to enjoy what they are doing, enable them to build a good organization, to deal with time and good relationships.

Pay also attention to the quality of yours and others’ diet: it is an important aspect for the quality of conscience and life in general, in every activity. Be sure to eat unpolluted natural products, which do not travel long distances from market to market, stored in dozens of refrigerators, which did no cross the ocean to come to our table. Help yourself and others to eat more genuine foods, especially avoiding those resulting from violence or poor products made only for profit. Several scientific researches have provided interesting information on this topic: at an American campus for example, simply by improving the quality of food, the quality of life raised relevantly in only six months. As a result: no more need for policemen in the classrooms or to mediate fights among students and between students and teachers, and so on. The experiment lasted for three years scoring numerous improvements: introduction of healthy foods from organic or biodynamic agriculture and regular scheduled times for meals. Even the University economy increased positively: earlier it was hard to live there, as students and teachers sought escapes from their heavy relational problems; later it was progressively transformed into a pleasant, compatible and appreciated location.

Therefore, as already said, economy can be created in many ways and first of all with good relationships: based on trust, esteem, affection, solidarity, loyalty, supported by the thought that if we give something to someone nothing will be lost: giving is never a loss, rather an investment which produces a real value unaffected by devaluation. When we slide away from ethic-moral and spiritual principles, most certainly the economy will follow a toxic downturn, even if we do not realize it.

Think of great artists in history: their works lasted through centuries because they gave heart and soul to their pieces, in the attempt to contribute to society; those who acted superficially were eaten up by oblivion as time went by. All that we do has value inasmuch as we believe in it, without fragmentation and discontinuity, but by a constant and intense propensity toward all that is good and commendable. We know that perfection is not a human quality and should not be expected, but we can humbly walk on the path of perfection, by learning new things with the stupor and enthusiasm of children, applying joy to our lives, aware that there is a lot still to know. The more we develop the study of mathematics for example, the more we understand that numerical functions are unlimited; the more we develop the study of physics, the more we realize the beauty of the atom, the smallest structure of matter, whose energy can be used for evolutionary or disruptive purposes, as in the atomic bomb.

Bearing this in mind, in conclusion we should underline the importance of the motivation at the base of every action: if it is constructive all that you do will be constructive, and your aims will always be well grounded. Aims should be open for revisions and modifications, because today’s purpose may not work tomorrow, as new discoveries make us redefine and direct it. However, it is always important not to lose the constructive motivation based on sattva guna, on the search for an inner balance and wellness for us and others, on the inescapable desire for spiritual realization and for helping others to evolve. These priorities are essential to guarantee the quality of our aims and purposes through time.

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