“There is an inner world; and a spiritual faculty of discerning it with absolute clearness, nay, with the most minute and brilliant distinctness. But it is part of our earthly lot that it is the outer world, in which we are encased, which is the lever that brings that spiritual faculty into play.” - E.T.A.W. Hoffmann
First of all, let me explain that we are not talking about religion in this chapter; yet we all have our spiritual side. We care about each other; we care about our families, our society, our community, and our world. We’re all connected in many ways. That’s pretty darn spiritual. We have a certain responsibility to our families, our society, our community, and our world.
Joseph Campbell said, “What we are seeking is…the rapture of being alive.” Perhaps that’s it - we seek rapturous living. In our quest for abundance, we must believe in our own spirituality, our connection to every other living creature on the planet and our responsibility to each other.
As we go along this path towards that rapturous living, we have many ways to connect with each other and help each other. That’s part of the spiritual lifestyle; many things and people will cross your path in the search for spiritual abundance. There are no coincidences and no accidents; everything happens for a reason. Everyone has a purpose on this planet, whether you realize it or not, believe it or not. Learning to look for that reason is part of the spirituality of human life.
In order to let that abundance flow towards you and resist blocking that flow, your passions have to be considered. You must enjoy what you do, and be passionate about what you do as a vocation. It should be something that delights your soul. When you allow that passion to surface, you’ll find that the universe moves in your direction to help you in your quest.
When you’re doing something that you love to do, the abundance has no blocks in its way towards you. As you radiate delight and joy in what you’re doing outwards, the universe and abundance radiates back to you. It’s part of the Law of Reciprocity.
The Law of Reciprocity is simple. Whatever you give out to the world, you will receive back. In essence, it’s the Golden Rule - do unto others what you would like others do unto you. Try it for yourself. The next time you’re out shopping and running errands, smile at someone and say thank you. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you will receive a smile in return, as well as a heartfelt ‘you’re welcome.’ That’s a very simple example of the Law of Reciprocity.
That’s not to say that whatever you put outwards will always come back to you immediately. Sometimes, it takes a bit longer, but you will receive it back. It’s a given; you can take that to the spiritual bank. What you give out should be considered a gift. What should we do with this gift? Mother Teresa said, “Give your hands to serve and your hearts to love.”
The Law of Reciprocity is a blessing you give away and yet find is given back to you tenfold. In his book, “The Science of Getting Rich,” Wallace D. Wattles said, “you do not have to get something for nothing, but can give to every person more than you take from him.”
Brian Tracy also told us that “the more credit you give away, the more will come back to you. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.” And according to Jim Rohn, we must “learn to help people with more than just their jobs; help them with their lives.” Even Albert Schweitzer said, “every person I have known who has been truly happy, has learned how to serve others.” So, it’s true that the Law of Reciprocity or giving back to our world is an essential element of abundance.
One way to work along with the Law of Reciprocity is to volunteer. You might ask where you would be most useful. How about a senior citizen home? Not everyone has a family that comes to visit; and those folks would be grateful for your thoughtfulness. Just taking the time to play chess with someone, or read a newspaper to someone with failing eyesight, or even just sitting and chatting with a lonely person, could well make the day a little brighter for these people. Knowing they haven’t been forgotten is a blessing to them.
You could volunteer at the library and read to little children. Helping them with their reading lessons and showing them that you care could well make a huge difference in the molding of a young person’s compassion for others.
Volunteering at your local hospital is a wonderful way to give back to your community. Visiting the sick is a worthwhile way to spend your free time and show the Law of Reciprocity in action. And while you’re helping others, you’re also expanding your horizons, learning new things such as other people’s cultures.
Abundance actually starts with you, inside you, not outside yourself. You send it out into the world. In this way, you are increasing your own inner abundance by sharing it with others. It will be returned to you when you least expect it. As you practice this, you’ll discover you’ve opened a window, letting in amazing possibilities for yourself and others. The more you share, the larger your world will be, with more options than you have ever dreamed could possibly exist.
Another element of abundance, possibly the most important element, is a sense of gratitude. Without gratitude for what you receive, you will end up blocking yourself once again from the natural flow of abundance. There is energy in the universe, one that shows us the give and take of that natural flow. Your mind and heart need to be in harmony with that energy to truly enjoy abundance in your life.
Gratitude is necessary to keep your mind aligned with the thought that the supply of abundance is unlimited. It’s very easy to slip into the mindset of scarcity or lack, rather than abundance; so endeavor to prevent it from happening. The moment you feel yourself slipping back into the abundance mindset, say thank you out loud, for all that you’ve received and all that you are yet to receive.
It’s a good idea too, to sit down and write out all the blessings you are grateful for in your life. When you are feeling down, it is an especially good time to remind yourself of all you have, instead of constantly thinking of all you feel you don’t have. Many people write in “gratitude journals” and record daily all that they are grateful for in their lives.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow,” said Melody Beattie
We all want to progress forward, better ourselves, make better lives for our families, and grow as citizens of this planet. Brian Tracy told us to “develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”
Simply put, you give, you get back. That’s not to say that you should perform some act of kindness simply to receive something in return. It doesn’t work that way. It must be given freely, with no thought of repayment. You might also know this principle as ‘pay it forward.’ You give to others, possibly because someone else gave to you. Keep it going, keep the abundance flowing outward, and it will always return to you.
The most powerful element of constant gratitude is the way it prevents you from slipping back into dissatisfied thoughts - the thoughts of scarcity and lack. Another way to avoid this slippage is to stop drifting into the past or worrying about the future. "Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment," said Buddha.
The past is over; you can’t change anything that has happened before. Going over past mistakes or regrets is pointless, futile, and definitely a waste of time, energy, and emotion. Avoid the pitfalls of the “should’ve, could’ve, or would’ve” mindsets. Mistakes of the past are only important as long as you’ve learned from them. You can’t go back and change anything that happened.
Equally pointless and futile is trying to foresee the future and worrying about what will happen in the years to come. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t make a few plans; just don’t carve them in stone. You may have to go to Plan B occasionally. It’s like they say: the past is over, the future isn’t known yet, it’s today that’s important, that’s why it’s called the “present.” The fighter, Joe E. Lewis said, “You only live once; but if you work it right, once is enough.”
“It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had,” said Elizabeth Kubler Ross
You’ve heard people say that we just need to have faith so that everything will be fine, or commiserate that someone seems to have lost their faith. Eric Butterworth told us, “there is no such thing as a lack of faith. We all have plenty of faith; it’s just that we have faith in the wrong things. We have faith in what can’t be done rather than what can be done. We have faith in lack rather than abundance, but there is no lack of faith. Faith is a law.”
One of the important things you can do to prepare for abundance to come your way is to clean your house, literally and figuratively. You must re-evaluate what’s important in your life. Get rid of unnecessary mental clutter that keeps new thoughts and opinions from being able to enter your mind. Get rid of old bad habits, those that keep you in the scarcity mentality; and then make way for new good habits, those thoughts and emotions that are drawing abundance into your life, rather than chasing it away.
Stop procrastinating! Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. We’ve all heard that one before, haven’t we? It may be a cliché, but it’s still true. We do tend to think that tomorrow will be a much better day to start changing our lives. That’s just fear talking. If you stop putting it off and jump on it right now, if you get started immediately, then tomorrow will seem a little brighter, a little more hopeful and full of promises.
Remember that facing the fear of change will make an immediate change in and of itself. It will become smaller and more easily managed. The longer you put it off, the larger and more menacing it becomes. Then you can pat yourself on the back for having conquered the beast; and that will do something for your self-esteem. “Finding out who you are is not simple. It takes a lot of hard work and courage to get to know who you are and what you want,” said Sue Bender.
The biggest blockage keeping abundance from your life is clutter. That’s right, I said ‘clutter.’ Look around you right now. Can you see some ruined furniture, stained clothing, the dented bits and pieces that make up your home? The more junk you have surrounding you, the less room you have in your life for the good things.
Replace that ruined mess with pieces of beauty that fuel your soul, with the necessities of life that make you comfortable, with the music that thrills your heart and makes you smile. You must clean out the old and ugly in order to make room for the new and beautiful.
When you decide to clean out your life, start by cleaning out your closets. You know that tastes or interests change; and even something that you enjoyed years ago might not be your taste now. Look back at the clothes you wore ten years ago. Maybe skirts were shorter then; maybe the neckties were wider. Can you honestly see yourself wearing any of that stuff now?
Of course not; you’ve grown as a person. You don’t like the same things you did ten years ago. That’s perfectly normal; all people change whether they realize it or not. So why do we hang on to things from our past? Is it as simple as thinking that one day we’ll wear those clothes again? The style might return, but let’s be honest and admit that we are never going to look the same in those garments as we once did. Are we afraid of letting go of the past? That’s a real possibility; many people are. Maybe it’s a memento of things that once were. If it’s a good memory, why not hang onto it? If it’s a painful one, time to let go of the pain and move on.
Now, it’s only fair that we discuss the “pack rats.” I’m not talking about keeping a few mementos of the past. I’m talking about the full out, no beating around the bush “hoarders.” They don’t hang on to a few items; they hang on to everything, and I do mean everything! They have garages full of stuffs, closets full of stuffs, boxes of stuffs, stuffs stacked on tables, piled in corners, and taking up every inch of space in their homes.
Have you ever really looked into the face of “pack rats?” They may tell you that they need all these stuffs, that they’re all necessary and useful. Who knows when they might need them some day, they argue. But look closely and you’ll see their faces say otherwise. There’s pain, confusion, and a horrible burden. They are so weighed down by the crushing responsibility of having all these stuffs that they are miserable. They’re embarrassed to have anyone over to see such a mess. There’s no room to move; they’d have to go outside to turn around. Edna Ferber said, “Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little.”
And it’s not just the “pack rats” that suffer, but everyone else around them. Everyone who lives with them feels the burden too. There’s no space left to move around; and most importantly, it’s getting in the way of comfortable living.
The first move is to get help for the poor “pack rats.” Convince them of the necessity of clearing out their lives, starting with their homes. Then help them clean them all out. Either throw them out, or give them away to someone who can make use of whatever they are. Repair what needs fixing.
What criteria should “pack rats” follow to decide what goes and what stays? It’s simple really. Anything that’s really useful right now (not those that might be handy some day) should stay. If they can’t find a use for a stuff right this minute, then they should get rid of it. And they should keep it if they find the item truly beautiful to them; not someone else’s idea of beauty, but theirs. So if it’s honestly useful right now or truly beautiful to them, it stays. Otherwise, load it up and get rid of it. “Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful,” said William Morris.
Now maybe you’re asking, “What does a house clear of unnecessary clutter got to do with Abundance?” It’s simple. Until you clear out the clutter, the broken, worn-out, stained old junk from your life, how can Abundance find you? There is no room for it until you clean your house - mentally, emotionally, and physically.
When your home is cleared of the clutter, then you can bring in what fuels your soul, delights your mind, and thrills your heart. Bring in the meaningful objects, the truly beautiful pieces. Add wonderful movies, music, books, and art. And when you’re finally done with the purging and the beautifying, you’ll be able to enter your dwelling, and think to yourself, “Ah, I’m home!”
It’s important that you decide what you want in your life, according to your own personal values, then make a decision to take action regarding those values. By living simply, you invite Abundance into your life. As long as your home and your mind are cluttered with junk, there is no room for the flow of Abundance. Simplify your life. Albert Einstein said, “Out of clutter, find simplicity.”
Not only will you begin to feel better about yourself, it will start to show in everything you do. It will show in how you interact with family and friends. You’ll be more relaxed, happier, less stressed, and much relieved in your heart and in your mind (not to mention your closets). Congratulations, the blockage is gone. Hold onto your seat, here comes Abundance!
“Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life.” - Katharine Fullerton Gerould.