For some of us, we watch the strange goings on in the financial markets, see their effect on the stock market and just shake our heads and wonder. Others of us have a far more personal stake in this matter. Perhaps we have seen our 401K accounts shrink and we wonder how we will support our retirement. Perhaps our stock losses are dramatic enough to cause sleepless nights and depression. Perhaps you find yourself postponing the purchase of the new home you have always dreamed of or even worse, perhaps the home you always dreamed of is going back to the bank and you wonder where your family will sleep tonight.
There are many views as to the causes of the collapse of the financial markets in the United States and the potential ramifications worldwide. The CEO's and top executives certainly have had their share of blame. With callous disregard for the health of their company, they focused on themselves. Of course, they were not the only ones making money. The pursuit of the quick dollar flowed from top to bottom. Even with those often - called victims, greed ran rampant. Many people were buying homes because they saw so much money being made around them that they did not want to be left out. Greed ruled over all levels.
As we have seen so often in the past and as recently as the "Internet bubble," all speculation comes to an end when there is no real foundation. When money is being made in unrealistic proportions with no solid basis... what goes up must come down. Like all Ponzi schemes, the winners have walked away and the losers are left holding the bag.
At the heart of all this is egoism and its desire for pleasure, for "me." We live in a culture that glorifies wealth, fame and power despite all evidence to the contrary that they bring happiness. We would all agree that lack of money can cause unhappiness, but can anyone point out any study that correlates wealth with happiness? All we have to do is to observe the lives of the rich and famous and see the misery they bring to themselves and others.
It has been said that it takes a significant emotional event to generate a change. Could our current financial situation trigger such an event? Is it possible that we are beginning to see that greed is not good? Is it possible to begin to see that happiness is not related to wealth, fame, and power? What if excess became shameful? What if we elevated the stature of people who are "givers" and demoted the stature of "takers?" What would the world be like if everyone gave more importance to looking out for each other rather than worrying about themselves?
This concept is a basic premise in authentic Kabbalah. Is it time to take this ancient wisdom out of mothballs and learn how we might create a society that loves thy neighbor as thyself? There are enough resources in our world. There is enough for everyone. All we have to do elevate the stature of sharing and demote the stature of getting. Truly, it is better to give than to receive. Take one moment to close your eyes and imagine all the possibilities and potential if we were all focused on helping each other. What would this world look like? How would it feel to be a part of a wondrous whole? Unity!