For those of you who may not know, I am also a high school English teacher. This past summer our department asked rising seniors to read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. I’ve read and taught the book before, many years ago, so I saddled up my sunscreen, flip flops, and my trusted copy of Siddhartha not expecting to be any further enlightened (pun intended) than I was the last time I read it. I was wrong and as an English teacher, I should have known better.
Ultimately, Siddhartha learns the path to enlightenment is one that cannot be taught and it cannot be bought, it must be achieved through spiritual fulfillment – what I now recognized and understood as abundance. With each passing year, month, even moment, we gain insight and experience – if we allow ourselves to be open to gratitude, learn from what was, not focus on what will be, but be at peace with what is.
Abundance, as I have come to understand it, is a richness that cannot be acquired by money, success, or fame. It’s found in waking up and watching the rising sun, tucking your kids into bed, walking with your dog, doing acts of kindness simply because it’s kind.
On a stringent path to discover true abundance, I questioned whether the appreciation and admiration of others would detract from our own abundance. As all quality ethics questions do, it comes down to sense-of-self. When it comes to “doing good,” the power of the goodness lies in intent. If someone happens to appreciate or admire your good traits and kind acts that stemmed from absolutely no desire to ingratiate others, this is abundance. Your drive to better your surrounding world must simply be to better the world for its own sake.
Abundance, first, comes in prioritizing. In the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People* by Steven Covey, he states: “We must have the discipline to prioritize our day-to-day actions based on what is most important, not what is most urgent.” While the most urgent duties of our life include necessary responsibilities which should not be dismissed, abundance is about looking at life for the big picture – your credit cards will not cry at your funeral because you paid more than the minimum every month, but the people (and animals) you’ve truly invested your time in will. Vis-a-vis, abundance stems from the love we put into the world.
Each moment of every day is an opportunity to add to your “bank” of abundance. Appreciating the perfect cup of coffee, enjoying music, even stopping to be thankful that you have the metacognition to be aware of your gratitude all leads to a life of abundance. It’s about appreciating the small steps.
Today, I got a call-back from BonTon retailers about their interest in carrying our candles and soaps. It’s just a call-back, but taking a moment to feel proud of this accomplishment for a small business, however small of an accomplishment it may be, is abundance. It’s one small step in a positive direction.
Fill each moment of your life with positive, small changes to gain abundance. Take the time to appreciate the positives. Be mindful of each of your actions – towards others and towards yourself. Feel gratitude. Feel forgiveness, especially for yourself.
When you find peace, you find abundance.
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