When times are good, people are too busy to help their neighbors. Besides, they reason, charities can do that sort of work. They’re too busy making money! But, when times go sour, I see a lot more willingness of people to cooperate. One reason is that they may have more time because business is down. Another reason is that everyone starts to realize they’re all in the same sinking boat, and competition (the cornerstone of capitalism) becomes counter-productive. Even during the Great Depression you saw more people taking in boarders, starting community gardens, stepping up with soup kitchens, and generally trying to lend a helping hand. You never knew when you would be the one needing that same kindness later. In times like these, it’s much more important to cultivate community and friendship than it is to stimulate competitive business drives. That means, we have to learn to slow down and change our way of being in the world.
Cooperation Versus Competition
So, times are tough, it’s true. But, it’s a grand opportunity to really help others and learn the art of cooperation. We are brought up in the West to compete with each other, so when those rules of behavior become counter-productive, we have to mentally shift gears and learn the art of kindness. While no one really likes tough times, it can be a great spiritual exercise in learning how to create cooperative community solutions and how to cooperate with Self too.
Cooperative Community Solutions
More and more we begin to see cooperative community solutions to the problems that harsh competitive business practices have created. You can even see it in how all the major national leaders got together to create cooperative international financial strategies to resolve this economic crisis. We see it with people doing co-housing to help offset maintenance costs of housing. We see it online in social networking communities that share information and resources freely, in cooperative formats. We’ll be seeing more and more cooperative community solutions as things progress away from competitive capitalism to sustainable capitalism. And, as an added benefit, we’ll learn some valuable spiritual lessons too!
Cooperating With Self
See, when we learn to be gentle and kind with others, we automatically extend that to ourselves too. And, when we internalize cooperation, trust, and kindness towards Self, that’s when the energetic blockages that create tough times tend to dissolve. So, every cycle of creation has a purpose, whether it can be traumatic or not. And, this shifting of competitive capitalism to sustainable capitalism, I believe, will eventually lead America into being a kinder, gentler, nation.