financial_seriesIt’s all over the news these days, our current economic crisis, and it is naturally the topic of cocktail party and dinner table conversation. Additionally this “crisis” has the potential to elicit fear in many of us. Over the winter I have been participating in an informal discussion group on contemporary economics that has taken a look at this “fear factor,” and examined the situation from a myriad of perspectives.

Generated out of the paradigmatic prevalence of “these challenging economic times,” something we are all exposed to on an almost daily basis, the group chose to look at both the macro level – exploring alternative economic models, wondering what it all means, why now, are there connections to 2012 and beyond – and the micro level of personal investments, job security and spending.

As well, we sought to understand our individual roles and responsibilities on a spiritual level. As players in this economic drama what are we being called to do? Fast, grow our own food, recycle, drive less, buy used, rent instead of own, lobby, petition, start a revolution?

Our discussions have been deep and thoughtful, lively and engaging. We have explored ideas that address the larger picture, such as Chris Martenson’s Crash Course [www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse] or Guy Standing’s book promoting Income Security as a Right. We have delved into leadership issues looking at Otto Scharmer’s work at MIT [www.ottoscharmer.com] – Theory U is worth checking out – and enjoyed a local writer Richard Kotlarz’s blog [economictree.blogspot.com] that examines a “New View On Money.” These big picture paradigms are juxtaposed with real world concerns about income and spending, about the practicality of living. Ideas abound for inspection, including such favorites as the Compact Group [sfcompact.blogspot.com] that spawned the idea of buying nothing new for a year, or volunteering [www.globalvolunteers.org] instead of resort vacationing.

But how can we help? What are our roles? Where is the balance?

Sometimes an understanding of the big picture can act as a kind of foundation and is very helpful. But, as much as I love a deep level of conversation and analysis, I hunger for something practical, something I can get up and do every day. I want all these ideas synthesized into something hands-on, portable, the pocket version for use out in the world, and I want it filtered through a spiritual or metaphysical lens, as well. I want a template, a way to create balance and not act from fear.

All this thinking has led me back to the basic existential question, “Why am I here?” Beyond any individual Akashic Records karma, why are those of us pursuing consciousness on the planet here at this particular time? What opportunity does it afford us?

Of all the ideas discussed in my economic group, the one that has most captivated me with its potential to answer these questions is the concept of the Keystone Species. This is the idea that there are animals (and perhaps humans) that have a disproportionate impact on the world around them, either good or bad. And this has made me think.

Are we as Americans a Keystone Species using a disproportionate amount of the world’s resources? And better yet, are “we,” those of us who strive to raise consciousness, to act as “light workers,” a Keystone Species that can have a positive impact on changing this planet? As a person committed to love and spiritual awareness, can I have an impact on our economic world? Is the “key” staying balanced and not going into fear, recognizing and desiring to be that Keystone in current consciousness by not acting rashly when responding to the dominant cultural imperatives?

We all feel the impact of our changing economic state, whether directly or indirectly, and we are all bombarded with ideas on how to understand it and how to act. It would be difficult not to be concerned about the potential enormity of the situation, but our greatest impact may come through an awareness of the power we hold to create change simply by committing to balance in our thoughts and actions. These tough economic times offer endless opportunities to impact our world and a plethora of options for positive spiritual growth.

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