Is it possible for someone who identifies with the underdog to have abundance?
There’s an assumption in the question that if we place our attention and efforts on giving a helping hand to the underdog (defined here as the disenfranchised, the voiceless, the ones who lack advocacy, the ones who need justice, etc.), that we will not have sufficient time and attention to create abundance for ourselves. If we are defining abundance as LOTS OF MONEY, then taking the path of service to others usually doesn’t lead you there. This is not a naive perspective given that our society – our world culture – does not yet place much importance on, or truly value, the gifts of the heart.
When you think about what social workers and public school teachers are paid, and what people who work in human or animal shelters are paid, you can see that there is not much monetary value placed on those who perform these profoundly needed services, and there is even less value placed on the tenants of shelters. Those who are called to minister in these places do so because they are called to it. To be sure, there are those who have started successful projects from service-to-others, so it doesn’t always mean that your calling won’t result in material abundance.
In his book, The Genius Myth, Michael Meade says, “Because each soul is unique, calling comes differently to each person. There is no pattern into which we must fit, because it is the unique pattern at the core of each soul that is the aim of the calling. Because what calls to us is timeless, the calling can come at any time. At each turn in the road our life’s work awaits us; thus, our calling keeps calling no matter our age, position, or condition in life.”
What does abundance feel like?
I think we need to be really honest and ask what does abundance feel like for me? What does abundance look like in my life when I am having an experience of abundance? And how is my personal abundance tied to my calling?
Does having abundance make you feel like your contributions are indispensable and valuable? When you are experiencing abundance, does your heart sing for joy? Are your senses heightened such that you feel connected to all things? Does abundance make you feel like you are an integral part of the dance of the cosmos?
Maybe I’m reaching here. But what I’m really reaching for is the ESSENCE of abundance. We do think of it as money. We do think of it as having enough money to have a decent life where we can pay the bills and have enough left over to maybe give away and to purchase the things that will continue to enhance our lives – and hopefully, our evolution. And we think that when we have enough money we have abundance. We may not always have joy, but we might experience a lot less anxiety about what tomorrow may bring.
The Essence of Abundance
I agree that there is a type of abundance in having plenty of money. There is a certain security tied to that. There is power that comes with having money, and it can boost your confidence, your self-esteem, and even shift your identity. But what is at the core of abundance? Is it, perhaps, finding that place of acceptance that, no matter what, we always have value, we are always worthy, and we are always worthy of love. No matter what. Is it, perhaps, also the deep knowledge that, no matter how much we have materially – and that can come and go – that our abundance is somehow tied to what calls to us. I believe that we find our abundance when we find our calling and live it. When we live our calling, we live in alignment with ourselves. We live from authenticity. That is, we are not being someone we are not. We are being who we are. We are being the person who was made for our calling.
Abundance comes from allowing love to flow through you. That flow is endless because it comes from the source that brought us here and started the inexorable dynamic of creation that pours through us endlessly as long as our hearts are open to receiving and releasing it. Releasing love into this tired and hurting world through our unique calling and authentic way of being has no identifiable price tag. If we are not doing our calling, if we ignore what is authentic to us, what causes our hearts to open and gives us joy, I do not see how we can have abundance. Think of how much you love your children and your pets, and your family, how indescribably abundant it feels when you hold a precious being to your heart. The feeling of connection and love is overwhelming. This feeling is very big joy. That, to me, is the essence of abundance. Joyful connection to others and allowing love to flow through us is to experience a cascade of abundance.
The Cost of Seeking Material Abundance
What is the real cost of seeking material abundance that does not flow naturally from your soul? To be sure, we all need a financial foundation to support our being in this world, so we each have to determine what that is, and we also need to understand what the cost of putting time and energy into attaining certain levels of materiality will be if it undermines our ability to be true to who we are. This is not information that we are going to glean overnight. It is a trial by fire for many of us, and it is a trial that can take years, but it is also how we come to know what is right for us.
We do not yet live in a world that rewards kindness, compassion, and authenticity. These qualities are often praised in the media as the exalted attributes of the heroine, an unusual and eccentric someone who has thrust herself into the trenches at the possible cost of her life (and material abundance) in order to save many lives. That love of others is seen as heroism (!), and the undertaking of significant challenges on behalf of others is portrayed as humanitarian tells you a lot about how abundance is more or less universally perceived. Many of these folks – let’s use historical figures – e.g., Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Theresa – the ones who followed their calling and in so doing found their abundance, did not make it in the material sense. But at the end of their lives, they surely did not regret that they responded to their calling and did what was right for them, and what was theirs to do. Had they not done so, no doubt they would have felt they failed their purpose. Where is the abundance in that?
Empathy and identification with others are traits that come from the soul’s abundance. Your soul is the most sacred aspect of your being, and the most capable of understanding and demonstrating abundance. Abundance, at its core, is a spiritual, not material, matter. When your heart is open, your soul can speak to you and guide you towards your dharma and your destiny.
In this lies your abundance: follow the calling of your heart.
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