“How soon will you realize that the only thing you don’t have is the direct experience that there’s nothing you need that you don’t have?” –Ken Keyes, Jr., Handbook to Higher Consciousness
Too often we believe that if we had “a little more of this” or “a little more of that,” our lives would be better. But would they really? Life’s abundance comes not from without, but from deep within. Recognizing that we are already rich—rich in spirit—is where genuine abundance dwells. A Course in Miracles teaches us that whenever we are looking outside ourselves for anything, we will only feel more incomplete. This is referred to as “the scarcity principle” which is based upon the common belief that somehow we are incomplete and not whole just the way we are. And in order to fill this “hole,” our insidious ego believes it must grab onto certain things and hold on for dear life: people, resources, recognition, approval, and so forth. This leads us to taking action under the ego’s direction. But since the action is based on superficial intention, it produces insignificant results leading to an even greater sense of lack. The ego’s doctrine is “seek but do not find,” a perfect example of how glutinous the ego is and how futile its’ endless chase for seeking outside one’s self. This scenario reminds me of a book I once bought for my daughter when she was a very young girl called the “Greedy Python.” The python was so greedy that he ate everything in sight, including his own tail, which inevitably led to eating himself!
Life’s abundance, on the other hand, is the love inside of us—that infinite wellspring where our fulfillment and peace of mind exists; the source of love within us where our genuine inspiration lives; the channel that allows our creativity to burst forth and our love to pour outward. It’s not what we do or create that matters as much as the intention behind it. For example, when I’m writing or painting I feel like I’m on “overflow” because joy and contentment bubble up from deep within. The finished article or painting is rewarding, but that’s not from where my real gratification comes. My creation is only an effect of my true creative source; it’s merely the results of the heartfelt energy I’m extending. It’s the expression of my love and creative inspiration that fulfills me. That’s why giving and receiving are the same.
Diane Berke, author of The Gentle Smile: Practicing Oneness in Everyday Life, states, “Giving and receiving are complementary aspects of a single movement, a single process, like breathing in and breathing out.” Whenever you are giving a part of yourself via a creative endeavor, discussion with your child, business accomplishment or anything else, you are also the receiver of your energy. Since we are all one, whatever you give to another, you are by definition, giving to yourself.
In Buddhism being compassionately generous to all people is the basis for living a genuine and fulfilling spiritual life. In this same spirit of wisdom, the Buddhist teachings remind us that all of our suffering occurs from having an attachment to something outside ourselves. These “somethings” are what keeps us on the “wheel of suffering,” the merry-go-round of external attachments that all human beings must come to terms with during their evolutionary journey. As we practice giving we are reminded that we need nothing outside ourselves, that everything we will ever need is already within.
Some practical ways to build life’s abundance include:
Increase your willingness to give. A Course in Miracles teaches us, “Give a little more than you think you can, a little more than you feel comfortable with.” The key here, is “a little more.” Throughout each day we have numerous opportunities to give, and we grow in abundance as we act on those opportunities. Just a little stretch is all that’s required in order for us to experience a sense of true giving.
Keep your intentions pure. Remember that you are always the giver and receiver. Most people unconsciously give to get something in return: appreciation, recognition, payment, etc. Be willing to give to others in a way that you would want to be given to. Before you give, ask yourself, What am I doing this for?” If the answer is “Because I want to give, just to give, and I expect nothing in return,” and you mean it, then trust that your intention is pure of heart.
Practice receiving with graciousness. So many times, we discount compliments or refuse to receive what another wants to give. Low self-worth convinces us we don’t deserve the compliment or gift, or distrust tells us that if we receive something, we’ll be obligated. It’s important to remember that you cannot truly give if you’re unwilling to receive, for they compliment each other like a hand and glove. All of us are connected with every living thing and our interdependence is the sacred web of life we exist within.
Give in those situations where you feel the most lack. In what area of your life do you feel the most scarcity? For some it’s money, recognition or approval, for others it’s time, and still for others it is love, affection or companionship. Determine where you feel the greatest lack then allow it to come fully into your awareness. These areas are your greatest opportunities for practicing abundance because the place you most need to give is the area in which you are feeling the most lack. The initial reaction, of course, is to grab on even harder and faster, but that will only take you further into the quicksand of emptiness. Ask Spirit for guidance, then be willing to give. The results are truly miraculous. As you begin giving in situations where you once felt lack, your giving will fill you up until there’s no more room for anything but a sense of completion and abundance. Be gentle with yourself and validate yourself for reaching out instead of pulling back.
Remember, your daily thoughts, feelings and actions are the “brushstrokes” that create the portrait of your entire life. They are the details that make up the whole. Are your brushstrokes leading you to a work of art that clearly represents your life? When you leave Earth, how do you want to be remembered? As a person who was genuine and authentic and gave with an open heart? As someone who dared to live life fully without reservation? Ask yourself if you’re willing to be remembered for: 1) Dared to have lived, or 2) Having lived in dread? “Dared” and “dread” have the same letters in it. Which one do you want to be remembered by?
Imagining it’s the end of your life and capturing a life’s portrait that supports how you want to be remembered is the first step. Observing your daily brushstrokes to see if they are congruent with your “ending” is second. Again, be gentle. The places where you are not congruent mean only that you have some fear.
You were born to live a life that creates and represents your own unique masterpiece. Life’s abundance is your birthright. As you gently practice giving from your heart, day-by-day, hour-by-hour, and moment-by-moment, you will one day look back with no regrets, but with a heart overflowing with love, appreciation and gratitude.
Authors Details: Lifes Abundance – Laura V. Hyde Web Site