Being inspirited yesterday as I read and watched talks and the blog of David C. Korten, the economist with a clue, I was touched that he spoke at a conference on radical abundance sponsored by Trinity Church in NYC. In my exploration this morning, this is what arises. Discussion, questions are wecome.
What is radical abundance?
Radical abundance is the direct experience of the root of life itself. Radical means root, is basic and fundamental, it also means extreme and thorough. Radical change then is speaking to change at the root, the basis, and is thorough, fundamental and goes the distance, is not moderate. A radical principle then is one that is basic, fundamental, a root principle. Abundance is great supply, more than sufficient, abounding, plentiful, a wealth of resource.
So radical abundance then is the direct experience of being rooted in great boundless supply. Radical abundance is the experience of being grounded and literally rooted in the field of plenty; the field of infinite potential; in the sufficiency of Grace. When Jesus as Christ said, “I AM come that ye might have life, and ye might have life more abundantly,” what truth was he speaking? What is the offering of abundant life his living delivers? Jesus also pointed to the lilies of the field who neither toil nor labor, and encouraged his listeners to give no thought to survival needs, but instead open into the realization that “all these things are added” unto those who follow the living truth.
He is pointing to a natural law, a principle of life, one that is simply what is. Abundance is a radical principle of life, basic fundamental and thorough—all encompassing. Why is it then that we don’t experience it? Haven’t we said enough affirmations? Are we thinking positively enough? It seems that we have misunderstood something fundamental here: wealth has become synonymous with having lots of money, and hell is not having enough and heaven is equated with having lots. As a result, we feel and experience lack of funds as hell, and motivate our lives toward getting away from the lack/hell experience toward the pleasure palaces of the rich and famous. We have bought, literally bought into a paradigm of poverty in so doing, and are thereby enslaved to making money, which continues to make the rich ever richer and the poor ever poorer.
How do we change this?
It was so interesting that Mr. Korten cites the same incident this author has frequently spoken about regarding Jesus. His one act of violence was to throw the moneylenders out of the temple. Our debtors’ prison today is the bars of our credit scores. We are incarcerated as a society in a world in which having debt is how we are made to function economically. The good news is that this is a completely unnecessary lie that is not based in the principle of life.
How do we get out of prison? Everything begins and ends with our consciousness. To have a consciousness of wealth and abundance has nothing whatsoever to do with money. We can experience resource, plenty and freedom without a cent to our names. In many wisdom schools, this is essential to spiritual practice. So we are asking something fundamental in the question, how? Indebtedness is the result of the experience of lack, of not having enough or being able to obtain what is needed and/or wanted. We have agreed that we will go into debt for necessities like shelter, education, even clothing, food and medical care. We have made the necessities a matter of import, not local but imported or external, and so we must take thought as to how to obtain them. This is in opposition to natural law and spiritual principle. So every day we are using debtors financing to exist, and our consciousness believes it is true and of necessity, that it is how things are.
If we are to challenge this, we must examine the fundamentals. We must look to the spiritual principles involved, and open into possibility that we can from the root up, the grass roots as a movement, bring ourselves into alignment with what is based in spiritual fact and is a natural law. Debt doesn’t have any existence apart from being a human creation exactly like money. It exists first as a concept in our minds, quite a devilish one! Unraveling ourselves from this hellish prison begins with breaking free of the mental chains we’ve made up, really challenging them, and opening into deeper recognition of abundant life that is available to each and every one of us equally. As we do this, we open into frequently painful experiences of lack when our environment that we needed to provide us with what was necessary not only to survive, but to flourish, did not provide us with what was needed. It is amazing how much we use money, and the ability to go into debt, to avoid experiencing this. Even in the richest household, what is needed for human Being to live and flourish is not provided.
This can only be an opening conversation, the roots of which go very deep. For the radical change needed in the socio-economic arena of our lives we must live, move and have our beings rooted in the real. This is another area of spiritual abundant life that we must attend to and recognize our conscious participation. When we give our life force energy to stressing about money, what are we doing? What are we calling real? How do we meet that experience in a radically different way not denying the situation, and not denying the actuality of abundant life?
LightHearted Enterprises operates on the principle of infinite supply, of sharing our true wealth of all forms with one another. It functions on the basis that access to what is available does not pertain to whether or not someone has the money for it. Money is simply symbolic of the currency of Love and abundant life that flows through us as we share what we have to give. If it is not money, it is gratitude, love expressed in sharing, spreading the word, offering time, energy, expertise. We are given to live. Life is our gift, flowing abundantly into, through and all around us daily. We are designed at every level of our beings, bio-energetically, psycho-socially, economically, spiritually to participate fully in the flowing wonder Life is. To have life more abundantly is to live this consciously moment by moment, in awareness of being an essential vehicle through which abundant life expresses. When we give a genuine smile, a heartfelt hug, offer a kindness we can recognize that we are living to give, to participate in the flow of all that the Presence is. These simple free acts are evidence and beginnings.
We begin to experiment with functioning with conscious awareness of our experience, and discovering whether we are able to experience radical abundance. We open our minds, hearts and bellies and discover: do we know, feel, sense and experience natural abundance? If we do not, we experience this with genuine curiosity. This is not a mental exercise, but a receptive inquiry that consciously engages our experience wanting to understand it more thoroughly. Most of us don’t know how to do this. If we want to be free, this is a way of functioning that brings freedom of all kinds. What is the truth about money and our relationship to it? This is the kind of inquiry that brings us deeper in to our experience and allows us to penetrate through layers of consciousness and unconsciousness that interfere with our experience of radical abundance.
Here’s a song: http://youtu.be/8yArFRhAJfM
What is money?
Money is recognized as the flow of abundant life; a symbolic material form of spiritual currency which is the labor of Love in our world. When we give money, we are giving of our abundant life force, our labors of Love.
Consciousness gives rise to experience. The recognized direct experience gives rise to manifestation. When we act out of radical abundance, perceiving, feeling, knowing, we are given to give generously as This which gives abundantly, limitlessly, consistently without ceasing—as This, the source and cause of Life Itself. I Am come in each and every one so that life may be lived in joyous creative discovery, expression, and ever-flowing loving generosity of Being. This recognition is the most valuable, priceless contribution of all and is available where we are in any given moment no matter what the conditions or circumstances. To live as such is the freedom of abundant life, is real wealth whether appearing seemingly impoverished or rich as King Solomon and all points between. It is not the outer circumstance that stands in the way. Inner experience, our consciousness is free and independent of outer appearances, and actually determines experience.
In Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, survivors of Nazi concentration camps were interviewed to discover what helped them endure. Some even gave the little crusts of bread and water they had to live on to others even more desperate. What was discovered from these survivors was their discovery that there was that within them that was free no matter the degrading debilitating dehumanizing experience, they were untouched within themselves. They discovered who was essentially free, what could not be taken from them no matter what. What is this? Where does it come from? How is it possible to give even when your survival depends on not giving? What is caring that goes beyond personal survival needs our usual bottom line?
When we are spending money, are we giving? What are we buying? What are we bought into? Is it in joyous recognition and gratitude? Alternatively, is it with trepidation, fear and loathing? What energy is flowing forth with our acts of spending, what is the experience? To be free, we inquire, we are fully present in our experience. We want to understand what is going on in us around this, how this financial mess can be redeemed and brought into alignment with what is the foundational principle of life itself. Therefore, we enter into this discussion as David Korten encourages us to do in order to make the shift so that our economy supports life, ultimately the spiritual Life of Being everything is. We learn what it is to live in fields of plenty in which each person, equally, is enabled to live a life, genuinely, generously and graciously, of radical abundance.
Myth of earning a living
An abundant life is not obtained by hard work. The entire notion of working to earn a living is absurd, but is one myth we have literally bought into, and needs to be myth busted! We are living to give, to contribute through our beings, and this may very well entail working hard, but NOT to earn our living. The encouragement some fulfilled and financially successful people offer is to do what you love. What happens when we do that? Whenever you are involved in doing something you love, what happens? Have you ever stopped to notice what happens in you? You are encouraged to begin to notice energetically, biologically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually what happens when you are doing what you love. It doesn’t matter what it is: petting your cat, washing dishes, listening to music, telling a joke, walking in nature, being creative, cooking a meal, perhaps some aspect of your job, driving the car, visiting a relative or friend, helping someone out, a hobby or sport, meditating, singing, sharing on face book—begin to notice any little thing. Look for not what you just enjoy, but what you really love; that you are willing to arrange things so you can do, not that you are addicted to, but that you genuinely love. All these things need some discernment so you can notice: is this pleasure seeking avoidance, or addiction, or driven by something unconscious, or is this something I actually love? If you find yourself in a club dancing, are you there because of love, pleasure seeking, avoidance, addiction?
Frequently we do not love going to work. Frequently we have ceased to love the people in our primary relationships. These are two primary things that occupy our time and energy, are we really engaged in loving? How about our selves, do we love ourselves? Usually we don’t. What is it to love? Who is loving and what is loved? The phrase that underscores LightHearted Enterprises is “Love loving Itself in Truth.” What does that mean? What is love, who is loving what, and how does loving what we do matter, really matter day to day? Each of us has the answers to these questions within us, and discovering them is essential to our fulfillment in life. Actually, discovering that we are the answer to these questions is essential.
For Love or money?
In exploration of love, a participant recently realized she didn’t know what love was. We settled on undertaking the exploration of being a ‘love agnostic.’ Not knowing experimentation and exploration in life is highly encouraged. Something in us knows about love or there wouldn’t be a word for it that we can use. We know when we’re experiencing it and when we’re not. We definitely know when we’re not! In a recent survey, over 70% answered when asked what God is responded ‘loving’ according to David Korten. We have heard God (whoever that is) is Love. Jesus’ primary teaching was all about Love.
So love what is, what you are given to do in any moment, love the one you’re with as Stephen Stills wrote, love your neighbor, your enemy, it’s a whole lotta lovin’ to do. “What the world needs now is love sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…” What makes it so hard? Why do we have such a difficult time loving, let alone loving what we do? How do we find something we’d love to do whether we get paid for it or not? How does the currency of Love flow through us?
Submitted for your consideration is the following: that not knowing the answers but endeavoring to discover is what life is about. Some of us know from an early age what we love. Some of us even manage to stay clear about that and follow it through. For others of us, it is not so clear, especially as we look out at the world, feeling like round pegs that don’t fit into all the square holes out there. That was literally the nature of the crises I underwent my senior year in college, looking at graduating and having to go out into that world. Fear, trepidation, loathing, overwhelm, lost, inadequate, resistant, uncertain, unprepared, it was awful. When we look at the mess of things today, how many young people who literally can’t buy into the system, or who are graduating from it in debt as big as lifelong mortgages, are experiencing the same thing? How many of us are still experiencing the same thing?
In reading stories of people participating in #OccupyWallSteet, a 49-year-old man who had worked on Wall Street, married with two children has been unemployed for 4 years. This occurred after he had been laid off from two different jobs before the last one. His wife has returned to a teaching job, and they, long past unemployment benefits, are trying to make it having lost all their backup, savings, and retirement. How many are living on the edge, just happy to find anything at all? Where does loving what you do fit into that scenario? How does that become an opportunity, as Steve Jobs put it, when he was fired from his own company, how did that become an opportunity? Because he began again with what he loved. From it emerged Pixar, among other things.
So what if what we love doesn’t make any sense or cents? We love our children, our family. We want to see them all well and happy. When we have those moments, we feel we are the wealthiest people on earth. When we cease to stress, we feel nourished and enriched in the experience, if we allow ourselves to be. Some of us can’t, we are already unhappy about the impermanence of that moment. We don’t really taste love, then, do we? We are at the birthday celebration of someone we love and we are unhappy for a variety of reasons, not available, distant: where is love? How many ways do we deny and resist it? Fear losing it? Fear losing all our good?
The power of love and beauty
We love beauty, beauty that touches our soul, something deep within us—even if it is not pretty, we find beauty in being touched. A piece of art expresses something of our own experience and we love it, we don’t have to think about it, we are moved to tears perhaps, our hearts open, what we are experiencing may even evoke a belly laugh. We love that, don’t we, and we appreciate what moves us in these ways. What do we love? Is it our experience and not necessarily the thing itself? Have you ever revisited something you loved and found you didn’t have the same response? What’s different?
We begin to enter here into the anatomy of experience. What is an experience of Love? What causes experience to be this way one minute and another way the next? How is it that we move so quickly from love to hate to fear to rage? Experience is a constant, what we experience changes constantly. It’s a lot to take notice of, much of which happens in a finger snap. Many of the variables are unconscious. Most often we don’t actually know why we love what we love, why we experience being loved one moment and not another. We mostly know that we want the experience, yet when it comes, we don’t. We don’t trust it, we believe its going to cost us, it isn’t something we can bank on—the use of financial language here is purposeful. Frequently we give to get, and believe that is what everyone is doing, even when we’re not conscious of it. Love seems like an economic transaction negotiated between the parties. “I’ll love you this way if you’ll love me back the way I want to be loved.”
Artists, not of the tortured variety, but let’s take those who recognize that they love what they do, are involved in creative acts of expression. They are deeply involved in something, what is it? The artistry of life is a creative act of expression of what authentically is alive in us in the moment. We can experience profound levels of love in recognizing this consciously in every moment. We are avenues of expressive Love, pure and simple. The form that takes is the form needed in the moment. For this writer in this moment, it is emergent right here and now in this expression, arising from within in answer to a greater need, the need for deeper understanding of who we are and how we function optimally. It is not different for David Korten who is being profoundly involved in a creative act of expression in recognition of the need for us to shift into a different understanding of radical abundance, of the deep and costly mistakes of our current dysfunction in this area that is literally bringing about the end of our species. When the spirit moves him and he speaks most passionately about this, you can feel the alignment within him as this love and truth flows through him into expression. In listening, I was moved by the beauty, in gratitude finally for someone who is articulating this accurately with a spiritual foundation and perspective. I am moved to celebrate, share and act based on this. Jesus, Buddha, saints, sages all moved to creatively express, even the most profound silence is still creative expression, the offering of love, grace and beauty. The experience of which gives rise to activity, natural, aligned and authentic.
Recently someone in our Meeting in the Heart of Truth gave voice to a realization that freed up a barrier to loving; it filled her being and resonated among us hearing her. Days later, I heard how that realization was being acted out; she was living it and offering it in relationship. We are given not only to live, and living to give, but also given to love. We are Love’s gift to Itself, in Truth.
Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet said, “Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they do not belong to you…you are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the Infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; for even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
We are both children and parent—arrow and bow, we are giving forth children with every thought, word and deed, we are birthing a new earth. The archer, the Presence of This that is both the masculine and feminine involved in conception and birthing, is who we are in the most profound levels of our consciousness. What gives life moment to moment is the creative activity of Being flowing through us as Its creative dynamic expression. What we love is this experience of Being, and we love it even more when it is shared with one another. Our deepest longing is for a life of creative discovery in living expression with one another. Our acts of co-creation are with one another, as Unity Self, One Being in endless diversity, uniquely expressing Itself. These activities of beauty and brilliance are what we love most in being alive.
We came to play in fields of infinite potential, of plenty with one another in dynamic co-operative co-creation, bringing forth what we invent, engineer, birth scientifically, artistically, mystically, mysteriously, when this life force takes us up and brings through what, of ourselves, we could not conceive of, but This we are can and does utilizing us to the fullest. We are not individual numbered economic units trying to survive by earning a living on less than living wages! That story must come to an end, and it is up to each of us in our inner sanctums, and all of us together, convening as equals, gathering in the light of the heart, in truth, to bring into our families and communities another way of being. A way of being founded radically in life principle as it already is. We do not have to invent the basic principle, we do have to learn to live in accordance, and invent ways to bring the institutionalized systems either to an end or into alignment. Since institutionalized systems are made up of people, this requires raising the consciousness of people. How do we do that? We invite them to the co-creative party, to join in living in a way that is fun, free, and joyous because they are miserable, too, they just have more money, and are owned by that, lock, stock and barrel. They are US.
We have to stop killing one another and ourselves, we really do, or this experiment of human Being will end. There is way too much to live for, so we each need to Be the change we want to see in the world right now. We need to realize and act upon what we realize, get up and let the force Be with us giving us to live it, to activate us into expression in thoughts, words and deeds that are living truth, authentically, the Truth Alive.
Our exploration of love, of loving what we do, leads to Being Employed to Love: BE Love. Simple, accurate, aligned, in accord and nothing we have to do, but is who we are, and activity flows naturally from the consciousness of Love as All That Is. We are radically alive, rooted in abundant life, offering as the gift of Being human what we are in truth. Let us gather together and meet in the light of this truth, let us explore what is in our lives with an eye toward bringing us all into radical abundant aliveness, our inherent true nature, what we are given to Be. Let this which is the actuality of our lives be made fully manifest through us all right here and now. We give thanks, we give love, we offer peace in connection and relating, in kindness and compassion. We give thanks for these blessings. May they overflow in all hearts among all Being.
If you have read this far, bless you! Apparently there was a lot to say! Here are links if you are interested in more about David C. Korten: http://livingeconomiesforum.org/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3QJJcgAwi4 This one is his 1.5 hour keynote address at the Radical Abundance conference at Trinity Institute.