I read in one of my wellness journals that the reason we haven’t arrived at a cure for cancer yet is that there appear to be multiple causes. Researchers study environmental factors, nutritional variables, food additives, heredity, demographics, fitness levels, lifestyle, income, and even less quantifiable elements such as mindset, faith, and stress–all in an effort to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle. So far, we have some idea what to strive for regarding each variable in isolation, but when we look at them in combination, it becomes quite complex and not nearly as clear.
Recently, I’ve been toying with the notion that the causes of abundance seem to be similar in nature: multiple and complex. What has worked for one person, whether they are a business professional or a spiritual teacher, doesn’t necessarily work for another. In the 30 plus years I’ve been an adult and working to figure this abundance puzzle out, I’ve encountered a lot of teachers telling me what worked for them:
- Tithing – we’re advised to give ten percent of our gross income from all sources to the person or entity that nourishes us spiritually. If you researched this approach you would find numerous accounts of people who became prosperous once they seriously committed to tithing. I have tithed faithfully and joyfully for almost 15 years, and I have no intention of stopping – but the practice did not make me prosperous.
- Giving – we are told that to receive we must give, and tithing is just one form of giving. We need to look at our time and talent, as well. I’ve written for years about giving and receiving being two sides of the same coin, so I concur that giving and receiving go hand in hand. That said, I know many skillful givers who are not as financially abundant as they would like to be.
- Forgiveness – Edwene Gaines, Unity minister and prosperity expert, teaches that all debt is the result of unforgiveness. I love her work and do my best to follow her guidance, but I have found evidence that contradicts her assertion. Do you know a kind person who does her best to forgive others but is not manifesting abundance?
- Setting a specific intention – we’re taught by some to be very precise when placing our order with the universe so there is no doubt or confusion. We should be clear on the “what” and open to the “how.” I know of many business owners, however, who spelled out their desires concretely in their business plans yet failed to realize the intended results.
- Focusing on the feeling rather than the specific outcome – here we’re advised to be less exact about what we’d like to receive, and instead dwell on how we’d feel when we got our desire. The reasoning is that when we want something (e.g., enough income to share and spare), it’s the feeling we’d have (security, peace of mind) from receiving it that we actually desire.
- Speaking your word out loud (literally) – one beloved, early New Thought teacher wrote that her prayers and affirmations were not effective until she said them aloud. She got a decisive demonstration as soon as she began to verbalize her affirmations.
- Visualizing what you desire – I’ve read Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization more than once, and I find her exercises effective in helping me hold the vision. While I had other demonstrations related to health and relationships, consistent abundance did not come from this practice alone.
- Letting go – many teachers say that after we’ve made our request, we need to release it to God. For example, the fifth step of a Religious Science spiritual mind treatment (founder Ernest Holmes’ form of prayer) is to release the desired result into the universe or the law.
- Helping others make money or achieve their dream – I love this idea from Deepak Chopra’s book, Creating Affluence: The A-to-Z Steps to a Richer Life. He uses the letter “M” to stand for “make money for others.” As a small business owner, I embrace the idea of supporting others, but is it enough to bring us prosperity?
- Praying, believing you have already received – this instruction comes from the Master Teacher, Jesus, and was echoed by Rhonda Byrnes, creator of the well-publicized film and book, The Secret. Here I think the issue is not that the advice is insufficient, but that the practice of believing ahead of the appearance is a challenge for the vast majority of us.
- Loving everyone all the time unconditionally – this is the latest teaching in all of Wayne Dyer’s recent work including Wishes Fulfilled and Divine Wisdom. He believes that when we are able to express divine love in all circumstances, our wishes will naturally and easily be fulfilled. I put this one with the Master Teacher’s guidance – likely to be effective if we can really put it into practice.
- Shifting consciousness – this is the crème de la crème and what every New Thought teacher I have ever heard on the subject of abundance endorses. We must release any belief in lack and limitation and see ourselves and the universe as abundant, with an all-sufficiency of supply in every form. Without a change in consciousness, any prosperity we do realize will be fleeting. Like the two practices above it, it seems to be easier said than done.
Where does this leave us? Despite what some have taught, my experience is that items 1-9 are not a guarantee of abundance. However, these actions don’t contradict each other, and practicing any one of them is likely to make life better for all of us. More importantly, I’ve found they are stepping stones to accomplishing the heavy hitters: items 10-12. These final three are all essentially the same thing, just expressed differently, and any one of them ultimately will enable us to realize the lasting abundance we desire.
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