Poverty – A Matter of Perspective
Everyone knows what poverty is or means; it means a lack in some area. It could be seen as a lack of education, hence being poorly educated. It could be seen as a lack of finances to provide for your basic needs, hence being poor or in poverty and it is this terminology I wish to look at.
When we look at how we act as humans we can see we have this incessant need to label everything, this is good, that is bad, this is lucky, that is unlucky, this is rich, and that is poor. Everywhere we look we have managed to label everything in life; we have managed to neatly and at times not so neatly place everything in boxes. Why do we do that?
We do that in order to understand a concept, to comprehend something; it also helps us to be able to measure a time, a thing, a standard etc. We live in a world of comparison, where we compare everything, every little detail, YET we also live in a spiritual world but we aren’t quite so good at placing the spiritual in boxes as we don’t have the same understanding of the spiritual, we have ideas and thoughts on what it is, but we are not completely certain.
When we look around the world, or even around our own personal small world, we are able to see people living differently, living in what may be viewed as different standards. One may rent a large home, another may be buying a large home, and another still, may be sleeping on the street. One may have plenty of food on the table where the other may not have enough food on the table. Some may wear expensive clothes while some may wear rags, some of these people will be considered rich or well-off, where-as others will be considered poor.
In reality, these standards are set by whom? Who decided what the measure for poor and rich or abundant was or is? Where on the scale do we draw the line and become rich or poor? At what point? If we look at a pair of normal scales, it takes only an ounce to tip the scales from nearly 1 lb to 1 lb but whose measure is it? Is it God’s? Did it come from the beginning of time? Or is it something that has developed over time to separate and divide?
How much in today’s society does that 1 lb equate to, is it the difference between owning a better car, or a car with a bigger engine? Is it the amount of bedrooms our home has? What exactly tips the scales from poverty to abundance? And if it is a measure, then it should be the same measure where ever we are, a pound in weight is a pound in weight, it doesn’t change.
So where has this come from and what purpose does it serve? Where did the idea of poverty and abundance originate from? All I can see is that poverty and abundance are just different states of consciousness, different states of mind and different states of being.
If one works and lives in a shack which they own, which they can afford to comfortably live in, and one lives in a luxury apartment and has to work all their life just to pay the mortgage or the rent, which one is poor? If ones catches a bus or walks or even cycles and can afford to do that, while the other works their life to pay for the $80,000 car which surely feels and looks good, which one is poor?
It seems to me that poverty and abundance is a matter of perspective!
We have become such a greedy society that we have got everything back to front, I feel we need to look at our own lives and re-access our expectations for living. Surely the one who is living within their means is the one who lives in abundance, whatever abundance really means. Surely the one whose neck cannot be placed on the block for not keeping up the payments is the one who lives in abundance? Surely if your life is filled with work, work and more work just to keep up your payments, surely you are the poor one if we really need to classify people and things in such a manner!
If we stopped building expectations for ourselves and for others, we would be better set to live more natural lives on our Mother Earth. If we were to cease brain-washing ourselves and each other into thinking and believing that more is better, bigger is better, expensive is better and all the rest of it, wouldn’t we live more harmoniously with our Mother?
Surely if we placed less focus on the material and more focus on the spiritual we would do far better in creating a better future for ourselves and for our future generations!
Just look at some of today’s children, are they happy playing outside, playing with made up toys, playing with simple things like a cardboard box for a car, a pan and spoon for a drum? Not many are, today’s culture has bred a generation of greed, they want this, want that, want the more expensive of everything, and if you as parents can’t afford it, you will be put to shame, or looked down upon from either your children or the more ‘wealthy’ ones.
What have we done? What have we created?
We need to take a step back, many of today’s parents are feeling the pressure, feeling pressured into ‘keeping up appearances’ not letting their children be seen as the poor ones whose parent’s can’t afford this and can’t afford that. Is there any wonder why High Blood Pressure and Coronary Heart Disease are two of the biggest killers? We are putting so much pressure on our own hearts and the hearts of others to be something, why do we have to be anything, why can’t we simply ‘be’.
I personally believe that if we were to do away with the idea of poverty and abundance, we would all naturally be abundant without actually having to process it. Abundance is a state of being, a state of consciousness, poverty is a state of being, a state of consciousness. What one will consider poverty, another will consider abundance, what one considers abundance another will consider poverty. If we dropped the labelling and learnt to simply be, we would not know if we were poor or rich because it wouldn’t actually exist!
When there is no rich or poor, there is less need to strive for something bigger, something better; people would not be reminded of what they don’t have because it wouldn’t be so important. When we de-value material things in terms of rich or poor, we reduce the need for theft, we know longer send out messages that you need this to be this, you need that to be that.
Without such pressure to have material possessions, many wouldn’t feel such a need to hoard; many of us have become hoarders, some out of so called poverty, and some out of so called abundance. Some hang on to things because it is all they have; others hang on to things because it is worth something.
If we all dropped the incessant need to have, to own, to accumulate, we would much more freely give and freely receive. If that $100 vase was nothing more than a commodity that we possessed for awhile, then once we had finished our use of it, instead of hoarding it, we would simply pass it on to someone who needed it more than us. If the second car was no longer needed, we would be happy either selling it or giving it away.
It is when we put into place the idea of poverty and abundance that we suddenly feel as if we have to start collecting, start improving what we have, start working more hours, start trying to earn more money, start reaching out, or rather over reaching to get the bigger house, better car, the expensive holidays that we can’t actually afford. The credit cards can be like a curse, they don’t have to be, but more often than not, they are, they help people to attain that which they can’t really afford, that which their eyes lust after but what the purse strings can’t buy.
So what am I saying?
Am I saying that if you have a job that affords a great big house with a pool that you shouldn’t have it? NO of course I am not, it is about the priority it plays in your life and the affordability, but if we could or rather would shift our focus from getting, having, wanting to simply being, to the spiritual aspect of our lives, it would place a completely different perspective on attaining things, our purpose for ‘having’ would be very different, our motives would be different. I am not saying don’t work, we need to work to bring in money to pay the bills, but if we all lived within our means, SURELY the world would be a better place, surely our life, or your life, would be less stressful, if we sought after the spiritual first and lusted after those things, surely we would still have a good life which would be free from judging others based on what they own!
You can look at different spiritual texts and they will all undoubtedly talk about abundance, there is nothing wrong with having more than you need, but do they talk about having to work all hours that God sends in order to pay for it all? Does it talk about having to mortgage and re-mortgage in order to make ends meet? Yes, there will always be money lenders, and at the end of the day all money belongs to Spirit, money is nothing more than a form of energy and there will be times perhaps when you are led by Spirit to borrow some of that same money, but not because you can’t afford to eat, it may be a temporary measure for a specific plan. Not for a lavish holiday because you can’t otherwise afford one.
We have placed too many pressures, too many expectations on getting, having, being seen as something, someone important.
For me abundance and poverty are internal states of being, being or feeling abundant is a natural state of being, its and inside job, which should be based on spiritual things not material things, it is a natural state of being that we seem to have forgotten even exists.
Dr. Ernest Holmes wrote in his book in the 1930’s about the Law of Attraction, his theology or thesis is that it all happens in the mind, in our thoughts, in our soul. The Bible talks about God’s abundance but it doesn’t talk about killing yourself working too many hours in order to get it!
If one man works 40 hours a week for only $5.00 an hour and another man works 40 hours a week for $55.00 an hour and they both live within their means, who is more abundant? Who is the poorest? From a spiritual perspective we could say they are both equal, both abundant, but from a materialistic perspective I am sure many would say the man who earns $55.00 an hour is more abundant. Why? Simply because he would be able to buy more ‘stuff,’ or more expensive ‘stuff’.
Our way of seeing has become clouded! We no longer see through spiritual eyes but eyes of greed, eyes of judgement and eyes of separation. We are potentially a dying civilization where it has become worth killing someone to get their ‘stuff’, their belongings, and each and every one of us has played a part in that, every time we focus on, and glorify ‘things,’ ‘stuff,’ ‘belongings,’ ‘material possessions’ we feed into that.
Did anyone ever hear about anyone trying to steal ‘godliness’ from another, or trying to steal ‘un–conditional love’ from another? No, I don’t think so, we may covet those qualities at times but we understand that it would be senseless to try to steal them. We understand that in order to obtain such qualities, such things, we will have to work hard for it, we will have to work on ourselves, but when it comes to the physical level, material level, many want to beg, steal or borrow.
Many churches focus on God’s abundance, getting more, attracting more, some believe in demanding more……’it is our birthright, our inheritance’. But did God say to make it our god? In all things there is a balance let us remember that.
Let us all refrain from placing judgements on one-another based on what we own and don’t own, how much money we have and don’t have. Let us all refrain from trying to be something, someone and simply be.
Let us stop seeing the material and start seeing the spiritual, let us start to remember that we are all spiritual beings, all here together, all going through an experience, all going in the same direction – Birth to Death. Whether our coffin is made of cardboard or gold, it matters not to God, to the Divine, what matters is how abundant we are in our heart, how rich we are in our spirit, in our soul, how much we have helped our fellow beings whilst on this Earth.
We all came into this world naked, and we will all leave naked, we may have a cloth to cover our body, but our heart and soul will be as naked as the day we were given it. The Divine is not concerned about the size of our house; the size of our bank account, the Divine is more concerned about who we helped, how we spent our time here on Earth; the size of our hearts.
There truly is no poverty other than what we perceive in our own minds, there are just many individuals living collectively in one Spirit, living differently.
If someone ever tells you that you live in a poor country, forgive them for their ignorance. If anyone ever suggests you are poor, forgive them for their ignorance. There is no poverty; it is just a man-made measure which can often keep those with more feeling on top and those with less feeling less.
The world is full of hungry, starving people; that hunger isn’t caused by poverty that same hunger is caused through the encouragement of over-desire, of greed, of material lust, of separation. When people stop trying to be ‘better than’ the surplus will naturally be shared out amongst everyone, generosity comes from a generous state of heart, a heart filled with compassion, a heart that recognizes ‘I have plenty, let me share the rest and help others to also have more so they too can help someone else.’ There is plenty of food and finances in the world for every single being to live a good standard of living; we simply need spiritual leaders in charge of our nations, in charge of our governments. We need spiritually focused individuals running each and every nation, not religious leaders; there are enough of those, but spiritually enlightened individuals who clearly hear from the Divine. Then and only then can we create a world of equality.
If we look at nature, when a lion kills to eat, it eats what it needs and walks away leaving the rest, that doesn’t mean that what comes after it is less than the lion, it simply means and reflects that where greed does not live, neither does hunger. The food chain doesn’t reflect a hierarchy of superiority; it reflects that all beings will be fed. When we see ourselves as part of the Sacred Hoop, the Wheel of Life, we realize that we are truly all one, all equal, the Divine provides for us all, and not just for humans, we are all one and it is about time we started to understand this and live by it.
If we all had a truly ‘giving’ heart, no-one would be in need, that doesn’t take away our responsibility to provide for ourselves and our families, but it does share the responsibility for those who are doing their best and could still do with a little more.
If ever there was a time to turn to God, to the Divine, to Nature, now is that time, it is time to start walking our talk, not just talking it. So many people just talk the walk, that isn’t enough; we really have to walk our talk if we truly want to make a difference in the world.
I guess what we all need to ask ourselves is whether we truly want to make a difference in the world, or whether that has just become a cliché thing that we utter from time to time.
I encourage you all to take time out this week to re-focus your needs, re-focus your spiritual lives and ensure that you are making the Divine the centre of your lives. Let us no longer get caught up in trying to be something or someone, comparing this one with that one. By all means, continue growing, evolving but give up worrying whether you are seen as rich or poor, but instead, put your hearts and souls into simply being.
Always Walk in Peace – Kenzo