What is Abundance?

Maybe we need to rethink abundance. I lived my first nine years in England, from 1944 to 1953. In all those years we were under rationing. Food was doled out frugally, to the point that my sister and I suffered from malnutrition. Automobiles were scarce, we never got a television or a refrigerator, yet we had all we needed for life, and it felt just fine. When we came to the United States we entered a world of an abundance of goods, services, infinite landscapes, a seeming inexhaustible supply of wonderful things. We learned to live like Americans, sure that growth would be infinite; energy, water, food, luxury goods, homes, land and entertainment would not only always be there but would increase in quantity, variety and value forever. We also believed that nature was infinite, despoiling it blithely. Now we are faced with shortages, and the threat of future man-made global disaster. Our lifestyle is not infinite and guaranteed. Many of us are frightened, and may make hasty, ill thought out decisions trying to keep the fantasy alive. Funny thing, we have taught the world to desire the same fantasy. This is part of the problem.
In his book, Legacy of the Heart, The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood, Wayne Muller writes: “The experience of scarcity and abundance is influenced by what we feel is “enough” in any given moment. When we become trapped in “wanting,” we find ourselves propelled into fear and scarcity, and we desperately look for that person or thing that is going to make everything work for us. If only we had the right job, the right relationship, more time, less pain in our body…then we would be okay.
The “wanting mind” brings us much suffering; it is a self-perpetuating habit that prevents us from experiencing the fullness of where we are and what we have in this moment, driving us to grab desperately for something else, something different. It teaches us that when we are here and now, we are somehow incomplete, and that what we already have could never be enough. We are cut off from the abundance of the moment.”
“The abundance of the moment,” what a wonderful phrase! Years on this planet, the experience of addiction, and the experience of two other life-threatening illnesses, for which I am still being treated, years of recovery, therapy and being a therapist, have taught me about living one day at a time and, as much as I can, living in the now. David Hawkins, in The Eye of the I, says, “In this moment we are all safe.” This is so true. The past, when we let go of regrets and resentments, is a source of learning true abundance. Ask yourself, When have I felt at peace with myself? What have I done that made me feel good about myself? When have I loved and felt loved? When have I really experienced a present moment of beauty, truth, love and joy? Has it been because of things? Has it been related to accumulation based on want, an endless pursuit of “more,” or has it been from really being present in your own life. Buddhism teaches that all of our problems come from our attachments, to things, to people, to ideas, to our own lives. It also teaches us about being mindful, being really present in the moment and acutely aware of where we are and what we are doing, but in a non-judgmental experiencing of what is. Try it. I truly have everything I need. I have also learned to find abundance in giving, from just what I have, right now, just as I did as a child in war-caused “shortage.”

Author's Bio: 

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in practice in Bailey and Evergreen, Colorado. I have been counseling alcoholics, addicts and their families more than 26 years. I have been practicing psychotherapy, marriage, family and adolescent counseling for over 22 years. I hold a Master of Science degree in counseling psychology with an emphasis in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling. I am a recovering alcoholic, sober 27 years this December. In addition to my education, I have done years of my own work in 12 Step programs, personal therapy and spiritual counseling.