The hardest idea (almost a paradox) for most people to assimilate is that the key to universal awakening is UNIVERSAL physical abundance. Most prosperity work is aimed at the individual.
These books, workshops, formulas, and practices are geared to helping ME gain more prosperity. But MY prosperity or lack thereof is not the issue.
Whether I succeed or fail at these techniques will have very little impact beyond the scope of my ego’s personal comfort zone. The issue is OUR prosperity. The question is how to make prosperity a universal phenomenon, how to create of materiality a win-win situation.
“The problem with you folks is you have no idea what it means to be a people” Ron Evans, Native American Story Teller
Two hundred years ago, when you walked into a Native American encampment, you saw a field of teepees or adobes, all pretty much the same. We know that those communities, like our own, contained people who were more or less intelligent, more or less skilled than others. We know that there were healers and hunters and planters and those who buried the garbage because such people fulfill functions that every community requires.
Yet in those societies there was not the profound stratification we experience in ours and affirmations were scarce. The people with what we would call clout – the chiefs and carriers of medicine and elders – did not have substantially more than others. In some instances, they had a bit less, for their job was to take care of The People.
In order to change a reality, we must examine it, and that means looking at the assumptions that go into shoring it up and meditation will help. The first assumption that needs to be addressed relates to whether the basic unit of culture is I or we. So long as it is I, my interest will stand out against yours. When there is scarcity, I will compete with you for it, and the chances are good that one of us will end up with a whole lot more than the other.
This pattern being established, I will compete with you even when there isn’t scarcity. If I am better at this realm of life than you are (or merely luckier) I will have much and you will have little. This is not such a conducive environment for the awakening of either of us.
Over and over I hear people justify greed and waste with the ability to afford it. Why shouldn’t I have more if I have the money with which to buy it? The next question that arises is “Why would you want to have more than others?” In our culture that’s not such a logical question. It has to do with Spiritual Science. We need to make it so.
“Live simply so that others may simply live.” Mahatma Gandhi
What does simplicity mean? Perhaps the image that arises first is that of renunciation – of doing without to some degree so that others may have their minimum needs met or the stress on the environment may be decreased. While not untrue, that meaning cannot stand alone as truth.
Simplicity, at its heart, is not ABOUT materiality or economics. Its essence lies in a definition of value that is apart from those things. To live simply does not mean to live with less, but to shift one’s focus so that what it is important to have more of is not that which exists in limitation, but that which is intrinsically unlimited.
The notion of living simply and the notion of Oneness, Wholeness, Unity, being a People, etc. are connected. Focus on one, and we will be pulled automatically into the other. We cannot realize universal awakening until we realize universal physical abundance, and we cannot realize universal physical abundance so long as the material is the thrust of our striving.
The reason for this is obvious. The realm of the material is subject to scarcity. “You can have it all,” is a dangerous myth. Take something basic like having a second car. That is nice, but if every family had two cars, the highways would be jammed and pollution a much bigger problem than it is. What would the waterways be like if everyone who wanted a boat could have one? There is no room on the earth for every family to have 2,500 square feet of living space, although spacious digs are part of almost everyone’s dream. See also: “Quantum Awakening”
Einstein said something about not being able to solve the problem from the level of the problem. This applies. We cannot solve the problems of materiality from the level of materiality. However, when we shift our focus, change our definitions, our orientation, our values, and beliefs, then the overwhelming problems of material lack will open themselves to answers.
There is no way to level the playing field in a realm defined by scarcity. If we want to level the playing field, we must begin playing in unlimited realms. In many indigenous cultures, wealth was defined by wisdom, and that is what people strove to have more of. What kind of reality would be generated by a definition of wealth that involved the ability to create joy for others? What if wealth was centered in excellence, in the ability to do something well for its own sake, rather than in the material rewards generated by market value? When what one places value upon is the infinite, the finite ceases to be an insurmountable problem.
While we think we are materialists, we are, in fact, more accurately abstractionists. We don’t tend to appreciate things for what they are but as symbols of something else – of importance or power or profit or happiness. Simplicity involves getting back to fundamentals, involves intensifying our relationship with what is so that we are relating to it as essence rather than as symbol.
When we relate to life as essence, we do not need more than we need. Just as we tend to eat less and experience more satisfaction when we eat slowly savoring each bite than when we mindlessly wolf down our food, we need less when we take the time to focus on the intrinsic beauty and function of what we do have. The notion of abundance and the notion of appreciation are soul mates. Greed can easily be seen as merely a gratitude deficiency – a poisonous expression of fear.
Much that we have is simply a symbol of fear – a hedge against what MIGHT befall us in the future. The fear with which we live our lives stems in no small degree from our cultural concept that the basic unit is I. That sense is so conditioned into us that we are actually resistant to entering into We. An enlarged sense of We comes most frequently in one of two ways: Either with an enlarged sense of Them (as when my team beats your team at the buzzer or when my country goes to war against yours); or when disaster strikes an entire community, and we see that we CANNOT protect ourselves from the fragility of life. This sense of being connected beyond the relationships that service our egos in a day to day sense is almost always short lived.
Fear comes in many flavors. Among them is fear of poverty, of not being able to meet basic needs. Fear of not being enough, not being worthy of love is another flavor. We have not been brought up to trust in a sense of belonging that is unconditional, do not expect that we should be cared for and honored by our communities simply because we are. Our experience of value comes from how we stack up relative to the next guy.
We can all pick up a twig and easily break it. We can all pick up a bundle of twigs and demonstrate to ourselves how hard that is to break. Yet we are conditioned to constantly seek our own awakening and abundance while doing our damndest to remain as single little twigs or to, at least, radically limit the size of our bundles.
Both universal awakening and universal abundance require a universal assault on fear. So long as you and I are competing for what is subject to scarcity, we are going to be afraid. So long as we allow that which is subject to scarcity to define our relationship with the limitless – to define how worthy we are of love and respect and consideration – we are going to compete for it.
This is not to say that competition does not have its place in the scheme of things. We just need to make sure that place is one that serves us, rather than works to our detriment. If universal awakening is the goal, survival is simply not the most useful arena in which to play with competition.
It is clear that there is a relationship between universal awakening and universal physical abundance. I think it is also clear that this relationship is mutual. We cannot have universal awakening when so many live in fear and want. It is nigh impossible to focus upon the transcendent when your belly is bloated with hunger or you cannot afford basic medical care for your child.
It is hard not to hate when you feel you are not enough. Yet until we begin to awaken into the experiential realization that we ARE part of one another in a synergy that encompasses, not only the human species but all of nature, we will not find the courage of vision within us to make the shift necessary to create a shared abundance. Universal awakening and universal abundance will blossom together.
There are no quick fixes here. There is no “ism” that can help us. Fear and greed cannot be legislated out of existence. We cannot devise an economic system that will ensure universal physical abundance as the groundwork for universal awakening. Passing laws will not do it.
History has taught us that prohibitions against materialism only serve to support corruption. The only way we can contribute to this transition is to each work on our own consciousness until we become fertile ground in which the seeds of universal awakening and abundance can take root.
Like the trapeze artist, we must face the fact that there is a gap between holding onto the assumptions we now share that support the sort of world we now have and the establishment of assumptions that will allow us to create a different kind of world. That gap represents a space of free fall where we have let go of the notion of securing our individual security as proscribed by our current assumptions, while not yet having established the conditions for universal security.
In the beginning, we will be shifting our identity into a we-mode amidst people who are still firmly entrenched in the I. We will be approaching in cooperation people who have been taught to compete. We will come to truly desire a collective good in a world where many people are still out for themselves alone. We will risk being taken advantage of. (Some of the people mentioned above will be inside of us, and we may, at times, risk being schizophrenic.) It might appear that we are putting our survival at risk. Risk is always part of the game. We will be pioneering a new frontier.
Many of us share a concept of wholeness, but there is a world of difference between a concept and an experience. The point of a spiritual journey is not intellectual understanding. Concepts, no matter how lofty, cannot answer the yearning we feel to touch the transcendent; and understanding concepts does not constitute awakening.
Spirituality is about realization, not rationalization; about perception, not belief; about the way we live, not the way we talk. None of us can be a People by ourselves, and yet, in order to create true community, we need to achieve a sense within us that our welfare is NOT separate from that of other beings. If we are to achieve our goal, arriving at that inner place must be supported by the actions we take that define how we live our lives. Therein is the gap where we sail through the air with nothing solid beneath us.
Awakening and physical abundance both require that we adjust our relation to the world currently experienced as “not self.” What is needed is not charity or even generosity; nor is it guilt and self-denial. The only thing that will bring these tandem goals into reality is a change of assumptions, a change of world view. Pulling away from the consensus and forging a new system of values from which to launch a new sense of reality will not be easy. The first to change their steps, for a while, march out of step. To do this takes courage. The fact is, little of value is achieved without courage.
Universal awakening and universal physical abundance are not little things…They are huge things and of enormous value, perhaps holding within them the only hope of planetary survival available to us. So let us begin with a simple question. “Why WOULD I want to have more than others?”