Yes, there are linked environmental, energy, and biodiversity crises looming. On top of that we now have a world falling into financial disarray (apparently, although the final word has not been said about that). But that has barely scratched the surface of what is important.
We have each other, and we have our own selves. Isn't that what it is all about? In our "finest hour", to use British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's words from World War II, in our finest hour won't we rise to the occasion? I think we will. We will remember that the best things in life are free.
Communities of people, whether joined by geography (that is, your neighbors) or joined by social group (religious, political, and so on) will draw closer together for mutual support. Is it possible that we need a reminder of the basics? What made the World War II generation the "greatest generation" (hopefully they did not make up that name for themselves!) so great was the experiences of the Great Depression as well as the struggles against Nazism and Fascism.
In addition to people banding together, many struggled in their inner silent world with fears of losing loved ones in combat, fears of hunger or starvation, and doubts about what kind of government would control their future world. And although the great majority survived through those times, such profound struggles shaped to some degree the consciousness of the 1930s and 1940s, and on up to today.
We are an even wiser society overall today, in some ways, with better understanding of human rights and dignity (despite the abberation of our current US government). We know that racial, gender-based, and to some degree we know that sexual-preference based, discrimination are wrong-headed and damaging to societies. Truly, we are also infected with a consumerist, materialist way of life as a society. So is it possible that we need the coming challenges in order to shake up that weakness of materialism that has clouded the great lessons we have learned in the second half of the 20th century?
The challenges we in the early 21st century are facing and will face are still unmeasured, but there are rumblings in the distance. It is still too early to be sure whether there is a tsunami being sensed by us from afar, or whether it is just an ordinary rainstorm that we need to endure. But there are enough warning signs that we must give careful thought to what is coming next.
In that context, there is something I want to share with you. I heard it on the radio this morning: one listener gave as her answer to the economic crisis: "Breathe in... breathe out. Breathe in... breathe out." These are words with which I am familiar from years of my own life, and I know we should keep them in mind while others, and we ourselves, are going on about interest rates, sub-prime mortgages, and the credit crunch, on top of the heightening worries about global warming and peak oil. These words are not just words, but are an expression of a centering and letting go that we can exercise so that the problems of the entire world do not overcome the best qualities in our own minds.
I would certainly recommend reviewing any investments you may have for suitability in the coming markets, and it would be wise to consider your financial and environmental behaviors and their impact on others as well as on yourself. It would also be kind and noble to do something to help others, whether in your neighborhood, or as part of a larger social action or cause.
But while doing all this, for the greater good of ourselves and others, let's not forget this from time to time: "Breathe in... breathe out. Breathe in... breathe out."