Everyone is talking about how times are hard in America these days. We see the rising gas prices and hear the statistics of how middle class jobs are falling like raindrops into the sewer. It's tough news. While my job is somewhat more secure as a teacher and writer, many people I know are losing theirs. I count my blessings.
My dad, 62, has just been given his layoff notice. It seems the real estate firm he has served for close to 20 years has been forced to liquidate his position. He's worried about what he'll do since he's not financially prepared to retire. Then there is the friend I know whose hours on his manual labor job have been cut way back. He found out he has diabetes at the same time his job laid him off. I could go on, but I won't because I am 100% sure that you know illustrations of your own related to this recession we are suffering.
I try to think about the positives in a situation like this. It isn't easy, that's for sure. Still, if one contemplates what is happening in America, one can see a bright side. I think the bright side will remain to be seen, but it will inevitably come. I am referring to something Eckhart Tolle calls "consciousness." I think hordes of people will "awaken" and become conscious as a result of these times of recession.
In his book, A New Earth, Eckhart talks a lot about how many in the world today are sleeping. They need to wake up, and many are unwilling. One of the things keeping so many unconscious is their reliance on money and material things, even their physical bodies. Eckhart talks about the "Ego" as a destructive force and the "Being" as a healing, restorative force. The book is an excellent read and I would recommend it to anyone ready to wake up and be conscious.
Though I am always recommending books that will help people wake up, there is always a tendency for people in hard times to want to remain "unconscious." As people lose their jobs, the wrong choice is to choose depression. It comes upon many of us unexpectedly, and in those cases, good psychotherapy and maybe even drugs can help, but in most cases, the solution to one's problems is simply choosing to be conscious.
Another excellent book on this topic of becoming aware is M.Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled. In this book, Peck explores the idea of making decisions and being a grownup about the consequences. Like Eckhart's book, it has transformed the lives of millions.
A recession stops paychecks temporarily, but it should never stop hope. We may have no control over the causes, but the end result can be a better situation than the previous one. Just to throw out a bit of possibility thinking: It may be that there are better paradigms to make money in this new America than we have been using up to now. How about making money online as an example?
I don't have any country-wide statistics, though I looked for a while and came up short, but I can give my own: In 1997 I was on the Internet a lot making websites and the like, but made no money. Now, 11 years later, I write a blog about issues of psychology that earns about $300 a month (when I am fortunate.) If my story is any indicator of the money people in American can make online, then I think it's encouraging news.
As Americans forge ahead through these times of recession, the cuts are like a stab in the back. In this writer's opinion, the question should not be "How do I get back what I had?" rather, it must be, "How can I become conscious and change my paradigm of the world?" The books I've listed both give great advice on how to achieve that consciousness. I think a lot of people are going to become conscious as a result of reading them.