Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Abundance and Religion

We live in an abundant world.  Abundance surrounds us.  Never doubt it!  Abundance of things, of relationships, of happiness - of everything good.

If you are at all religious you will most certainly find references to the abundance all around you in the holy writings of your religion.

For my Moslem friends, refer to Chapter 108 of the Quran, the shortest chapter in your holy book.  It says "We have given thee abundance of good things."  This was written at a time when the Holy Prophet was facing what seemed a very gloomy future.  It looked as though his mission was about to fail, and he would have been justified in feeling complete despair.  Yet the message he received was that there was an abundance of good things all around him, he didn't despair, and his mission certainly didn't fail!

For my Jewish and Christian friends, the Bible is absolutely full of references to abundance.  Perhaps the clearest example, loved by both Jews and Christians, is Psalm 23.  The entire Psalm reminds us that no matter how bad things may seem to be ("Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death") we are provided with everything we need.  We are living in an abundant world, looked after by God (or the Universe, if you prefer a non-theistic approach) who "prepares a table before you in the presence of your enemies".  You need fear nothing, as God (the Universe) is with you every step of the way, ensuring there is an abundance of everything you need.

For my Hindu friends, Section 4.1.5 of the Yajurveda Samhita says "You are the unchanging direction, make unchanging in me children, abundance of wealth, abundance of cattle, abundance of heroism."  If you want to experience abundance, look at the goddess Lakshmi.  Lakshmi personifies the abundance of our universe, and her four hands show us the goals on which we should focus if we want to achieve that abundance: Dharma (right behaviour), Kama (right desire), Artha (right goals) and Moksha (self realization).

For my Buddhist friends, consider the Buddha Ratnasambhava.  Like the Hindu Lakshmi, Ratnasambhava personifies the abundance that is there for all of us if we approach life in the right way.  Ratnasambhava removes the feeling of separation we have from all other life, and which makes us blind to the abundance all around us.  When we recognize the interconnectedness of all things in the universe, we have to recognize the abundance that surrounds us.

For my Sikh friends, the Guru Granth Sahib says "God has produced everything in great abundance. Granting His Grace, God has satisfied all. Bless us with Your Gifts, O my Great Giver. All beings and creatures are satisfied."

Some adherents of these six world religions try to claim their religion forbids them from seeking an abundance of anything.  This is not true.  They are all rooted in the abundance of good that surrounds us and that is intended for all of us to receive in our lives.

If only one religion told us that abundance is all around us for us to enjoy, then we could be forgiven for thinking this does not apply to us as we do not believe in that religion.  When all the major religions tell us this, then perhaps we should listen, whether or not we are normally religious.

Recognize that this is an abundant universe and that you are intended to enjoy that abundance, even if (like the Prophet Mohammed) you are at the centre of despair and it seems there is nothing good awaiting you.  Know that if you behave in the right way (Dharma), encourage and develop your desire for the good things awaiting you (Kama), set proper goals to obtain those things (Artha) and continue working on your self development (Moksha) you will be able to share in the abundance which is all around you.  Become grounded in the abundant universe and allow that abundance to flow through you.  To do anything else is to disrespect the universe and its creator who wants you to enjoy all the good things created just for you.

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