How can we celebrate abundance without indulging in and celebrating conspicuous consumption? Is feeling abundant about feeling safe? If so, can we feel safe and abundant with what we have now?
In the yogic calendar it has recently been an auspicious time to celebrate abundance in all aspects of life – health, food, relationships, wealth, purpose and life itself. A mind that is resting in abundance is content and safe, perhaps even joyful. Everywhere they look there is enough, beauty and life in plenty. yet it is easy to slip into a wanting mind when thinking about abundance and confusing ‘abundance’ with excess, focusing only on material wealth and ‘more’. Perhaps we will feel safer if we feel more abundant.
Modern self-help gurus often refer to abundance by adding zeroes to your income or multiplying your income by a factor of two or three, or even exponentially. So tempting to think we need more in order to feel abundant; that if we add those zeroes or have that perfect house (or mansion) or car or fashion items, we will feel abundant.
Unfortunately what so often happens is that we feel less, tricked on to the endless treadmill of chasing that ’more’ that will make us feel safe. And the abundance that was supposed to make us feel safe becomes a cause of fear of the consequences if loose our abundance. How will we feel safe if our abundance is taken away from us?
So if our constant rush towards ‘more’ arises out of a need to feel safe, how do we step out of the ‘wanting mind’ and into an appreciation of the abundance that already exists in our lives? Gratitude and Generosity.
Gratitude for what we have now is the key to feeling abundant and we can train ourselves in feeling gratitude in the same way we can train ourselves in any other attitude or skill – practice.
Imagine how differently you would feel about your life if you looked upon your circumstances with gratitude, appreciating the aspects of your life rather than complaining? You would feel abundant. Then if you want to change an aspect of your circumstances you can do so by choice instead of compulsion. You switch from being reactive to proactive, from wanting to plenty and fearful to safe. Out of this generosity naturally arises.
Practice gratitude in all the key aspects of your life
It is true that there are sets of circumstances for which it is difficult to feel gratitude, and I have been in some of them, but even in those times if I stopped to feel a moment of gratitude for a beautiful rainbow or flower, or see the beautiful smile in someone’s eyes, that moment of beauty and gratitude gave me peace. It brought my mind to rest for that moment which washed over the rest of my life and enabled me to live.
The gratitude practice
Take time each morning and each night to feel gratitude for:
- Your life.
- The food that you eat - even it is not your ideal version of food, you can feel grateful for having food and your capacity to discern ideal food and how amazing that that’s even possible.
- Your health - in the case of chronic or acute illness this can be difficult and I have found that focussing on the bits that are working helps and flows in to the bits that aren’t doing so well.
- The relationships in your life - if there are problematic relationships in your life, look for the lessons and learn them in gratitude, and if that’s not possible look for beauty and let your gratitude for beauty wash over you.
- Roof over your head - if you have one you have plenty to be thankful for, even if it is not your ideal version and seeing every roof as something to appreciate is a lot more peaceful than wanting more.
- Career/purpose/contribution - this can be problematic for those of us who think we need to have a grand purpose but haven’t found it yet, perhaps start with feeling gratitude for what you are doing in the world, now.
- Goal or intention, no matter how small e.g. my goal today is to feel grateful - feeling gratitude for even having a goal or intention, even if you haven’t yet fulfilled it, simply having one with gratitude gets you out of bed to clean your teeth and reveal goals you may not even know you had.
- Adequate means to fulfil your goal (the means may not always be material) - sometimes you may not be aware of the means, you may not see the means in your current but feeling gratitude for means you do have at your disposal is a great place to start.
- For your whole life.
- And then watch yourself becoming more generous to yourself and those around you, effortlessly.
- Allow gratitude for beauty and the bits that are working to wash over the bits that are tricky.
- Use your breath for each aspect – “I breathe in and notice, I breathe out and feel gratitude”.
- When you catch yourself complaining, wanting or feeling like an aspect of your circumstance isn’t enough, find gratitude and notice how your feeling of abundance shifts and your mind becomes smoother.
I look forward to hearing of your experiences with gratitude
Remember, if you want to feel abundance in your life begin with feeling gratitude for life as it is now – you will naturally feel more abundant and safe, and generosity will flow effortlessly.