When we were children, we used to play at a friend’s house in the evenings. He had a relative abroad who would bring them foreign toffees while visiting their family annually. Those days, foreign toffees were a rarity. My friend’s mother used to fill our hands with those toffees almost every other day till they lasted. Not that there weren’t children in her household who loved those toffees as much as we did; not that there was so much to last for months; just that hers was an ‘abundance’ mindset in action. To me, this gesture has always been an inspiring natural act of pure intent to share for the ‘joy’ of sharing. This image and memory have left such an indelible impression as a quality that warrants modelling after.
Contrast this with ‘scarcity’ minded people who store away dry fruits, chocolates and such special edibles in their refrigerators without sharing even with their own kith and kin. They have an anxiety of ‘lack’, a worry that there may not be enough for them and theirs in the future. Even if they consumed these regularly, the law of diminishing marginal utility would kick in and they may not enjoy it fully. They would end up losing at both ends – neither do they have the full pleasure of relishing nor that of sharing. They deserve only a sympathetic smile if they aren’t open to change that attitude.
Abundance makes ‘reaching out’ a spontaneous expression. Sharing, caring, helping, and extending are not calculated moves to be ‘loveable’ or get appreciated. Premeditated consideration of gains is not the driver. One feels so complete and full within that action is naturally prompted by that. A generous impulse would never get suppressed with doubts and speculations of probable hassles that may arise later. Sincerity of purpose and reasoned conviction would steer the decision to lend a hand.
Abundance requires richness and adequacy within. Some are fortunately blessed with that by nature or nurture. Most need to work on it consciously. Recognizing, becoming aware and accepting the sense of insufficiency in any form is the first step in dealing with our ‘scarcity’ outlook. It would be easy to justify inadequacy rather than handle it. Consciously watching people who display ‘abundance’ and being inspired by the glow they radiate helps. A few good conversations to understand their thought processes may give us a clue to overcome our inhibitions and ‘deficit’ approach.
Being appreciative of everything around us is the next practical step towards feeling abundant. Julie Andrews starts with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens and lists all her favourite things in the evergreen musical hit, ‘The Sound of Music’. We can make our own list to be thankful for – magnificent nature in all its aesthetic shades, lilting music that soothes, tasty food that sings on the tongue, good health that energizes, meaningful relationships that give purpose to life, demanding work that supports progress, art and literature that feed our creative instincts, friendship that is spirit’s chicken soup and of course, pristine love.
Not what we possess but what we relish and enjoy bestows the sense of abundance. Pride of material possessions is transient. Appreciation of what life offers is a state of mind that begins as a fleeting experience. Subsequently, savouring such experiences brings a nice taste paving way for regularizing the ‘abundance’ paradigm. It then sows the seeds of satisfaction and empathy and reaps the delight of fulfilment and magnanimity; Abundance thus becomes both a means to an end and an end in itself.
It may start with looking at the positives of life and with the feeling of gratitude for one’s blessings; but abundance is not mere optimism. It looks at the half full glass no doubt, but more importantly, is willing to share even that without a second thought. Again ‘satisfaction’ rests; abundance extends. Abundance is also grander than contentment. While contentment just fills itself, abundance fills and flows.
Nature has a law: what goes around comes around multi-fold. Abundance is self-serving. The more we vibrate with that quality, the more we would magnetically attract reasons for greater abundance. Then we would get a feeling equivalent to the one that we have when we see a continuous display of colourful fireworks in the backdrop of the night sky. Our gratitude would translate into an overflowing sumptuousness within. This would drive action, giving us additional opportunities to look inward and upward with a grateful smile. (The writer may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)