George Catlin on These Times


Greed and God

In the wake of the renewed hope much of the world is experiencing following our presidential election, we will inevitably return to face fundamental challenges in our approach to life.   Foremost among these may be the fact that greed has found a home in our hearts, stock markets and financial institutions over the last few decades.  I remember not so long ago when Ivan Boesky famously said, "There's nothing wrong with greed."  But there is something wrong with greed:  It attaches one to a view of life that is deeply materialistic, deeply insecure and deeply cut off from the actual love and abundance that lives in the heart.  To reach that abundance we have to "give up" our material fixation and allow love/spirit/God into our lives in a way that shapes all that we do and all that we experience.


This is no small step to take.  We live in a time when financial strength and independence seem to be foremost among the goals we should strive for.  But what if that weren't true?  What if we were really alive to find love in our hearts and God in everything?  What if our actual purpose for being was to get beyond selfishness, fear and a deeply worldly orientation and to come into an approach to life that focused on intangibles like peace, well-being and right human relations?


Of course I believe, or rather I know, that this is what we are alive to do.  I also know that life has a way of bringing us those experiences that might help us get back on track, back oriented once again to our deepest calling.  I am confident the present economic crisis falls squarely in this category: an event created by our own collective missteps that is perfectly designed to bring us back to our senses, back to an orientation that puts spirit first and sees money/matter as simply a tool for the use of spirit.


We need money to survive; that much is certain.  But beyond food, shelter and health care, what more do we really require from the material world?  Do we think we have the capacity to provide all these things no matter what happens to the financial markets?  Of course we do.  If we put our minds to meeting these basic needs of all people, we can easily do so.  My hope is that this crisis will inspire us to refocus ourselves on these basic needs of all people and thus establish real goodwill among humanity.  Together we can easily solve the real problems before us.  Divided, separate, each struggling to get more and more for him-or-herself, we are doomed to sad and lonely lives never knowing the real love of God. 


So I say let the markets fall as far as they must to reawaken our real love and concern for one another.  We have elected a next president who appears to have the capacity to see problems at their root and to bring real human concern to the shaping of their solutions.  Let us hope that in the coming months a truly new approach to all things financial is born in our hearts and in our country.  Let us be ever-ready to ask for, give and receive the love we know is there in abundance once we call it forth.  This is our real purpose on Earth.  This is the opportunity of the present time.    


George Catlin is the author of The Way to Happiness (2004) and The Long Journey Home (2007).   His web address is:


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