Friday, July 19, 2013

Focus on Abundance Rather than Scarcity

Helpful Hints from Harmony
Life is Good When You Live in Harmony

 Hint #6:  Focus on Abundance Rather than Scarcity

As I hiked the beautiful wooded trails of Harmony recently and pondered the subject of abundance, it occurred to me that there are several ways to approach this topic.
I.                   A good way to think about abundance is to appreciate how very much we have, both absolutely and comparatively.  Surely no people on the face of the planet or in the history of the world have ever come close to having as much as do we 21st Century Americans.

In the face of such prosperity, there is no place for a scarcity mind-set.

“People with a scarcity mentality tend to see everything in terms of win-lose. There is only so much; and if someone else has it, that means there will be less for me. [However,] the more principle-centered we become, the more we develop an abundance mentality, the more we are genuinely happy for the successes, well-being, achievements, recognition, and good fortune of other people. We believe their success adds to…rather than detracts from…our lives.”  (Stephen R. Covey)

We ought to be grateful for our blessings and we ought to enjoy them.  “Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.” (Epicurus)  It is a tragedy to fail to appreciate our blessedness. 
I have found that enjoying and appreciating our abundance creates greater abundance.  “Gratitude is the open door to abundance,” (Yogi Bhajan) and “gratitude will open your heart as well.” (Dr. Cathy Phillips)

 II.                A better way to think about abundance is to recognize that its real meaning is not about material things at all.  “Abundance is about being rich, with or without money.” (Suze Orman)
One of the dangers of our unprecedented material wealth is that it may cause us to become blind to the real abundance in our lives.  St. Luke warns: “A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”  Too much “stuff” gets in the way of seeing and enjoying greater treasures.

Michael Beckwith has written:
“There is a lie that acts like a virus within the mind of humanity. And that lie is, ‘There’s not enough good to go around. There’s lack and there’s limitation and there’s just not enough.’  The truth is that there’s more than enough good to go around. There is more than enough creative ideas. There is more than enough power. There is more than enough love. There’s more than enough joy.  There is enough for everyone.”

There are no quotas or limits to the things that matter most in life.
My joy and happiness do not take away from yours, and your joy and happiness do not take away from mine.

My peace and contentment do not diminish yours, nor do yours diminish mine.
Whatever wisdom and understanding either of us has does not limit the other’s.   

I have learned that when we are able to see beyond physical possessions, we recognize that our abundance is potentially infinite and immeasurable.

 III.             To me, the best way to think about abundance is to abandon any notion of having abundance and to focus instead on giving abundantly.
Something incredibly wonderful happens when the key question of our life shifts from “How much can I get?” or “How much do I have?” to “How much can I give?”

When our lust for accumulation gives way to a yearning to share our abundance, we are not content with blessing our family alone, but range through the whole world, anxious to bless the entire human race.
Something even more powerful happens when we recognize that the most important things we have to give are not the things we own, but a part of who we are.  “Rings and other jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson.  “"The only gift is a portion of thyself."

This insight allows us to see that everyone can be an abundant giver and that “no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.” Anne Frank.
Here are some of those portion-of-thyself gifts that we can give more abundantly:

Our time
Our attention

Our kindness
Our forgiveness

Our knowledge
Our wisdom

Our understanding
Our stories

Our cheerful attitude
Our encouragement

Our appreciation
Our questions

Our faith
Our courage

Our example
Our music

Our creativity
Our tenacity

Our sense of humor
There is no end to the ways we can be a blessing in others’ lives. 

Then, miraculously, as we give abundantly of ourselves, what we give comes back to us, multiplied.  “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into you.”  Luke 6: 38 
This I have found to be true:  “When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance.”  Joel Osteen.

Focus on abundance rather than scarcity.