For a long time in my life I had wrestled with the idea of “abundance.” Maybe it was because of the mixed messages that I gave myself about the meaning of the word. I was a member of what at the time was called “The New Age Community,” which seemed to be a large number of people involved in an attempt at integrating psychology, spirituality, mythology, natural healing, esoterica, the laws of manifestation and, for some reason, crystals.
One of the bigger focuses in our lives concerned “abundance.” Whenever the subject came up, my New Age compatriots and I would remind each other that abundance was not just about money; that in fact money was just one small part of a larger experience that included realizing your Vision for your life, remembering your true purpose, fulfilling your life mission, and discovering your individual wealth of unique gifts and talents, which you can then give to the world, thereby healing the planet and enriching those around you.
As if achieving financial abundance wasn’t hard enough!
There is a saying that goes something like, “Whenever someone says that it’s not about the money…, it’s about the money!” For most of us, abundance meant financial wealth. It was great to know we had all these wonderful qualities, a higher purpose and an important life mission, but, well… show me the money! Once I have the money, I can fulfill my life mission, take the time to discover my unique gifts and talents, help make the world a better place, et cetera, et cetera.
Then there was another message: that to reach the experience of true prosperity you simply had to recognize that you were already infinitely wealthy. Maybe you heard the quote, “The secret to being abundant is… you already are!” Since many of us in the New Age Community looked around and saw little evidence of this supposed wealth in our lives, the only use we saw in that statement was to pass it along at a party where people were hopefully drunk enough to be inspired by the words.
Next came the multi-stage DVD program, or books and their sequels, which we purchased in order to learn how to reach the place where supposedly we already were. We relied on the steps and philosophies provided by other teachers who had apparently mastered the art of True Abundance (i.e., they were rich) and we became swept up by their charisma, their dedication to helping others, and their inspirational words. We did our best to follow in their footsteps, achieving various (usually low) levels of success, but I met very few people who ever reached “The Promised Land.”
I have many fond memories of those days, being filled with the fiery passion that only desperate belief can provide, and feeling certain that, although I was not exactly prosperous or personally wealthy, I was on the path and would eventually reach my destination.
While feverishly searching, I often reminded myself that really, the only success and fulfillment I can ever have is available to me in the present moment. The NOW.
How true, I thought. I can’t wait ’til I can be here now. I hope it happens someday. In the meantime, I’ll just keep cleaning out the false beliefs I hold in my subconscious mind, continue reading books that can tell me how to increase my financial I.Q., awaken the gifted genius within me, practice the Laws of Attraction, et cetera. After all, I had to get my finances stable, as there didn’t seem to be any way to support my family in the here and now. So I continued to pursue abundance, all the while in my mind telling myself that trying to get rich was my spiritual responsibility as a “Visionary Leader.”
The many avenues I explored in my search for the holy grail of abundance included:
- Positive thinking
- Chanting mantras (e.g., “The Universe wants me to be rich and happy!”)
- Dozens of books on Abundance and Prosperity
- Clearing subconscious blocks
- Inner Child work
- Attending Abundance workshops
- High-risk investing
- Pyramid schemes
- Energy healing
- “Prayer” (communication with the Universe)
- Buying stuff in order to feel wealthy
- And, for some reason, crystals
Then one day in my early fifties I woke up to this profound realization: Whenever I judge my financial situation to be not good enough, I am immersed in feelings and thoughts of poverty. No matter how much I have in the way of material possessions, I’m tormented by all the things I cannot do or buy, and then I anxiously turn to one of the approaches on the list in order to remedy my situation.
Whenever I simply accept my situation and appreciate being alive to experience it, I awaken to an abundance of contentment, peace, and happiness. I look around and do not see poverty, but rather a world that simply is what it is. A feeling of peace begins to grow as an invisible burden is removed from my shoulders, and since I pursue the mirage of abundance in order to feel content, peaceful, and happy, I now see what a teacher once said: “Chasing after riches is like trying to catch your shadow. Just turn around and face the light, and your shadow will chase after you.”
I know that acceptance is not as sexy or glamorous as the promises with which my Abundance Gurus used to excite me, but I much prefer the real over the glamorous. In the tranquility of accepting what is, you are brought into the presence of your belief in your unworthiness. This core belief always causes you to see your world through the eyes of scarcity, because unworthiness tells you that you are not enough, and you will never be enough, no matter how much you acquire or accomplish. Unworthiness, like all beliefs, thrives in an environment of ignorance, and cannot stand the light of direct awareness.
Accepting that this belief exists along with the conscious awareness that it is not the Truth begins a process of “dismantling” the belief construct. The lies of your self-judgment fade, the voices of complaint and criticism dissolve, and now that there is nothing to hold the belief in place, it becomes a nameless, meaningless apparition in your awareness, a cloud of thought that passes away, leaving only the brilliant sunlight of your essence. The emptiness of lack gives way to the fullness of peace and contentment.
I no longer search for or pursue abundance, as it seems unnecessary to chase after or seek what I can only find here, now. Instead, I accept my situation as completely as I can, watch whatever judgments, opinions, and dissatisfaction that might arise as they come and go, and witness the abundance unfolding for me in the moment. In the moment, all aspects of abundance—Vision, mission, purpose, essential gifts, and material fulfillment—become one inseparable experience.