Nature gives selflessly. The sun shines, the trees give shade, flowers bloom, birds sing, cow gives milk etc. Each creation of nature performs their role according to their design. In our ignorance, human beings, also a creation of nature, perceive themselves as limited and get challenged to give from their abundance. A sense of incompleteness cultivates fears or needs and thereby blocks love from flowing freely. A sense or feeling is a thought or interpretation of the mind, not reality. We allow these thoughts, emotions or judgments to obstruct us and hence, are unable to nurture and share our abundance.
For instance, we are unable to share love because of our fear of rejection, getting hurt, failing, losing, taken for granted, judged, left behind etc. We have need for love, success, wealth, basic necessities, respect, freedom, independence… there is no end to these needs and they keep changing with age and stage of life.
We expect the world all the time to meet our needs, rather unsuccessfully. Life becomes a series of frustrations such as, ‘I don’t have enough’ or ‘Why does he have more than me’ or ‘Why is this not working or happening’. A sense of abundance and gratitude is missing for what we have and what rules our life is a “sense of poverty”. When we feel poor, we get caught in a vicious cycle of poverty. This sense of poverty is not necessarily limited to wealth, but often includes aspects such as power, position, wellbeing, relationships, education, recognition, etc.
Each one of us is gifted with abundance such as love, happiness, courage, beauty, creativity, knowledge, compassion, energy etc. Mother Teresa was gifted with an abundance of love. She had neither money nor status when she started on her mission to help the poor. She gave selflessly from her source of abundance and fearlessly let love and caring flow from her towards the helpless. Scientists have an abundance of knowledge, warriors are gifted with an abundance of courage, musicians with an abundance of creativity.
Living in poverty, life becomes like a trade. We give love, we expect acceptance or subservience; we give money, we expect recognition and sometimes even unquestioned service; we give knowledge, we demand respect and power. In any trade, there is always profit or loss and there is no certainty of outcome and life becomes a gamble.
We can choose to spend our life acquiring the external abundance of material objects or live from internal abundance. The external world of material abundance is dynamic and transient and creates a sense of dependence. The internal abundance is constant, permanent and builds a sense of freedom.
How can we cultivate this internal abundance?
“Abundance is not something we acquire, it is something we tune into.” Wayne Dyer
To live a life of balance and internal abundance, we need knowledge to harness our gift of abundance. We can then freely explore and exploit our abundance and live a life of design and control. A classic case of imbalance happens when our child is born. Parents in their excitement, become either over-protective or over-strict. They forget the laws of nature. Even a plant cannot be watered endlessly or denied water altogether; imbalance in giving inhibits growth or results in an unnatural death.
I have been blessed with an abundance of love. Whenever and wherever I have given love unconditionally, whether to family, work, friends, the outcome has been dramatically higher than anticipated. To love unconditionally, I learnt the need to first love myself as a whole. Life has responded with scarcity when my expression has been filled with mental limitations such as judgment, attachment and fear. The last few years, I shifted my focus from my limitations to abundance by being vulnerable, seeking support where required, contributing authentically wherever possible. I have received support from unexpected quarters for free and often unasked. My productivity and efficiency is higher and I have discovered new facets about myself, like coaching and writing, that I didn’t know existed or were possible.
Well interestingly, I learnt that living with abundance requires awareness or an attitude of being a witness to your life. A rushed pace of life agitates the body and mind and there is little or no space for reflection. To live a life of balance and moderation, we need to be constantly aware of our thoughts and be disciplined and consistent. We deviate from moderation or living a balanced life when we get attached to any aspect of our life. The mind is the cause of bondage or liberation. It gets very easily attached to a goal, object or cycle of thoughts; we lose connect with our true nature and develop fears and desires. Our fears, ego and desires rule our life and we become “needy”.
Respect your abundance and value every aspect of life. Every element of our being requires appropriate attention – body – mind – intellect. People often ignore or become obsessive about their health and adopt crash diets and stiff exercise regimes. The mind too has its limitations and can collect and retain information up to a point. Regular shedding or analysis of the thoughts we are store keeps the mind active, agile and energetic. In this zest for living life acquiring information and material objects, the intellect gets ignored. An underdeveloped intellect prevents a person from being objective and understanding the true purpose and reality of life. Like any resource, our internal energy too needs replenishment. Rest, reflection, meditation, exercise, reading, listening to music, enjoying nature etc are some ways of renewal.
The inner core of human beings is love – we are born to give and receive love. Remember that we are creations of nature and the law of nature is abundance. We are born to love all creations of nature – others and ourselves. If we are able to operate from this basic principle, life becomes simple and beautiful. Slow down, access that abundance within and express it fearlessly and life will respond abundantly.
“What is called genius is the abundance of life and health.” Henry David Thoreau.
(Ashu is a leadership coach and author who works with senior executives in organizations such as Barclays Capital, Adidas, Ernst & Young, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, etc. She is also a qualified chartered accountant. Ashu has recently compiled her insights, experiences as a coach and learning of life in a book, ‘I am Freedom’. In the book, she has shared her journey of inquiry into seeking inner freedom and thereby, unlocking the power to love and live. For more www.ashukhanna.com)