True Abundance

Ask anyone in the Western world how they define abundance, and you are likely to hear them talk about material riches and prosperity. And yet, true abundance is so much more!

The definition of an abundant life cannot be satisfied by the presence of material things alone. Jesus knew this when he said that man shall not live by bread alone, but by the living Word or Spirit. He challenged the common assumptions of his time by pointing out that true abundance cannot be confined to merely physical terms.

The common, limited assumption of abundance as a merely physical notion prevails even today. To find lasting fulfillment in life, it is essential for us to question and redefine such limiting social beliefs. We need to understand that true abundance applies at the levels of body, mind and spirit.

In my work, I am blessed to see the power of questioning assumptions every day. Once we become aware of limiting beliefs and behaviors, we can change them. Along the way, we learn to look deeper instead of blindly repeating the same old habits to getting the same old outcomes. By identifying the hidden determinants of our behavior, our lives often shift spontaneously!

One of the primary areas where limitation shows up is in our relationship to abundance – or its opposite, scarcity. In an era of unprecedented abundance in the western world, many still struggle with feeling that there is not enough: not enough to feel complete, not enough to feel safe or secure. We keep accumulating material things that cannot fill the deep emptiness inside our souls.

During feudal times, all wealth was tied to land ownership and material prosperity was a zero-sum game. Abundance was defined by material belongings because there was only so much land, and only so many people could own it. Land owners could build fortresses and tax travelers passing across their property, leading to more wealth. This system led to separation between those who owned land and those who didn’t, the haves and the have-nots.

This belief system is still active as a powerful undercurrent in modern society. With each economic cycle, millions of individuals over-extend themselves to acquire physical assets and wealth during economic booms, only to find their fortunes evaporate when the boom turns into a bust. In some societies, cycles of war and civil unrest strip people of all forms of physical security they may have painstakingly amassed over generations.

But does the loss of physical assets really make you a loser? And does the presence of physical assets alone define you as a winner?

Enlightened teachers like Jesus and the Buddha taught that true abundance is not based on physical assets alone. They proposed that true abundance includes qualities such as integrity, honesty, service, and loving kindness to all forms of life. These teachings pointed to a higher and necessary concept of abundance that still eludes general consensus today.

Talk to people around you and you’ll find many adhering to the outdated belief of measuring abundance by material displays of wealth. Besides that, you’ll find the limiting notion of having to compete against others to secure these limited resources for survival.

Western society is predicated on this outdated assumption that there’s only so much to go around, and that we need to compete with others for these resources on a basis of win/lose. I have to get mine first before you can get yours or the limited supply runs out (think black Friday shopping mobs!)… if you win, I will lose… and on we go, pitting our limiting beliefs against others in an effort to survive. We expand scarcity consciousness to every facet of life: believing that for my faith to be right, yours has to be wrong; for my political party to win, I have to sling mud and make yours look bad; and so on.

If I believe you must lose in order for me to win, or that you must be shamed so I can have value, or that you must be wrong for me to be vindicated, or you must be suppressed for me to feel free, then my sense of happiness becomes dependent on your lack thereof. My experience of life becomes fragmented into opposites, and I end up suffering estrangement from my fellow humans and my true nature. A life lived from such outdated beliefs offers very limited love, serenity and security.

Many forms of duality-based limitations such as these cause untold suffering in the world. Turn to the news and you will find numerous examples of this scarcity-based thinking in us versus them propaganda, xenophobia, social upheaval and marginalization that pervades society.

The Buddha taught his disciples to free themselves from the vice of duality-thinking; to liberate themselves from the opposites of desire and aversion which propel the cycles of scarcity and suffering. It is only when we let go of this misguided struggle for a bit of material security at the cost of happiness, that we are able to poise our minds in peace.

How do we uncouple from the vicious cycle of chasing after material security and finding scarcity instead?

The power lies in our thoughts. Our thoughts contain the seed forms of potential; making change possible in our consciousness, our belief systems and our world.

Physical reality manifests from our imagination and ideas about how things are. As humans, we are gifted with the ability to change the way we think, and hence create different outcomes. We can change the way we look at things and thereby change the outcomes!

Instead of seeing the world as a physical pie and ourselves competing against others for a slice of it, we can consciously change our view. Perhaps it is time to recognize that energy is never destroyed; it simply changes form. We can expand our definition of true abundance to include all its myriad forms: the material as well as the mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual. And perhaps we need to acknowledge that there is enough for all of us, and then share our resources from that perspective.

Changing old mindsets for more appropriate ones may not be as clean or predictable as we’d like. Evolution is messy and uncertain. A clear outcome is not always apparent. To the minds of westerners who like control, reliability and certainty, this can be nerve-wracking. Yet, the alternative is to allow greed to destroy balance in our world and to render humanity extinct.

Times of change call us to trust on a grand level. We need to trust in our Source, ourselves and each other as we redefine true abundance. When we do so, times of upheaval can give birth to new paradigms that better fit our needs.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Harnessing The Cycle Of Creation For Success

Do you love the life you are creating? If not, don’t despair! By consciously working with the cycle of creation, you can boost your creative potential at every level. As a spiritual being, you are gifted with the ability to co-create your reality. You’ll create your desired outcomes more effectively when you align your efforts with the cycles of creation.

Cycles of Creation

Everything in nature operates on cycles: there is the cycle of the new moon waxing to full moon and waning again, the cycle of high and low tides in the ocean, the cycle of changing seasons, the cycle of night and day, to name a few. In shamanic cultures, this is referred to as the in-breath and the out-breath of Creation.

The out-breath of Creation generates a tremendous flow of Life Force energy to generate, inspire and vitalize. The Divine in-breath can be likened to the contraction or ebbing of energy as it returns to its source. It is during the pause between the out-breath and the in-breath that the as-yet unmanifest becomes manifest: this is the most critical phase of creation to focus on.

The cycle of creation consists of three sources of inspiration: Being – the realm of Spirit; Doing – the realm of intellect; and Having – the realm of physical materialization. It also consists of three phases: Phase one deals with the FLOW from inspiration to conscious choice, phase two deals with appropriate ACTION to manifest or create, and phase three deals with the EBB of the creative cycle by releasing or returning to Source.

Cyclediagram

It All Starts With Being

As you can see from the diagram, the creative process starts with a spark of inspiration emanating from Spirit – the place of BEING where unmanifest potential exists before becoming observable as manifest matter. When you consciously connect to the Source of life, you gain access to those sparks of inspiration. It may come in the form of a thought, a dream or an inspiration; it could entail ideas about issues you have been mulling on. A good example would be some insight about how to streamline business operations for increased effectiveness, or a dream about a new direction for your life.

Flowing From Being to Doing

Dreams of possibilities always inspire. Whatever the dream you first conceive of, it will be energized by some form of inspiration. This phase in the cycle of creation can be very exciting as you start exploring new concepts mentally, brainstorming about how best to bring it about.

During this initial phase of Flow, you may find yourself drawn to people or circumstances that help clarify your thoughts. Abundant enthusiasm and energy flows from Spirit into your awareness. As you become aware of this energy of pure possibilities, you step it down into coherent concepts and start planning how to DO, implement or bring about the idea.

Taking Action

Once you have a possible plan of action established, you can move into the second phase of Action. Here, your focus shifts from mental ideation into physical doing to accomplish the desired outcome. This is the phase when the rubber hits the road and you learn whether your intended plans are feasible. Many obstacles may surface during the implementation process; you may need to revisit your spiritual inspiration and mental vision every time to find an appropriate way forward.

Getting to Results

When all obstacles have been resolved sufficiently and all the critical pieces come together, your efforts are rewarded with the desired outcome manifesting in physical reality, where you can HAVE and enjoy the results of your efforts. Reaching your goals can be very exhilarating, yet this euphoria soon leads to a sense of incompletion. It can lead to a sense of let-down as dopamine levels return to normal. Many great athletes and performers report feeling a nagging sense of emptiness after accomplishing a major goal.

At a spiritual level, post-accomplishment emptiness is a reminder that the cycle of creation is a continuous feedback loop. Creation is an energy-intensive process; you need to complete the feedback loop by returning your attention to Source. By reconnecting, this ebbing energy can be energized or re-sourced for your next cycle of creation.

Flowing Back to Source

Sometimes, the temptation after reaching a goal is to not return to Source for rejuvenation and inspiration, but to lean back in the success of your accomplishments. When you do that, you run the risk of losing your connection to Divine inspiration. By not returning to Spirit for resourcing, you may not have the energy, inspiration or strength to face the next challenge that comes along.

Getting Stuck in Doing

Another pitfall is to keep running without re-sourcing, repeating what worked the last time around in the hopes of continuing your success without new inspiration. This phenomenon often happens in the movie business – remember the success of Rocky 1, followed by the dwindling fortunes of Rocky 2, 3 and 4?

By blindly repeating the recipe of previous success, you may neglect closing the feedback loop back to Source for renewal and inspiration. Instead, you backtrack against the creative flow, taking a shortcut back to doing without true inspiration to energize the process.

The second time around may turn out very different, however. Environmental conditions may not be as before because energy is dynamic and never stays the same. As a result, you run the risk of getting stuck in doing the same things without getting the desired results. While jumping back and forth between the worlds of Mind and Matter, you’ll continue to lose creative energy because of not reconnecting to Source for sufficient refueling and inspiration before starting the new cycle of creation.

Reconnecting to Regroup

Here’s good news: it’s never too late to reconnect! You do not have to wait until you’re stuck before connecting back to Source: you can do it any time you run low on inspiration or energy!

Perhaps you rushed ahead on the adrenaline of the previous success and got involved in a new venture without consciously pausing to reconnect. As obstacles start to surface, you may find yourself running out of steam and become overwhelmed, anxious or depressed. When you feel these emotions surfacing, it is an indication that you need more creative inspiration, wisdom and resources. Simply reconnect to Source from wherever you are along the cycle of creation.

The act of reconnecting moves the ego out of the way and allows its self-imposing demands to subside. With the demands of ego out of the way, you’ll be able to regroup and gain a Higher perspective on issues.

Continuous Surrender

When you reconnect to Source, you’re able to surrender obstacles, re-energize your creative juices and tap into Divine wisdom. As you bring that energy down through the Flow phase of creation into the Action phase again, you will be amazed at how your renewed vision and inspiration support you in moving forward.

When I first started doing this, I was so delighted at the results that I started surrendering every obstacle I encounter in moving forward. I found that it alleviates anxiety and greatly assists my visionary ability. It also re-energizes me and helps me tap into Higher wisdom to address issues from that perspective.

The Impact of Others’ Free Will

You may find that you run into multiple snags along the cycle of creation, especially along the Action continuum. This is not necessarily because you failed at doing the right things – it could simply be because many factors contributing to the situation have shifted. Each player has free choice and their actions influence the way the game plays out at your end. When you run into obstacles, simply reconnect to Source and surrender the obstacles to your Higher Power, asking for higher wisdom and inspiration. You will be amazed at the results!

Holding on Loosely

By holding on to your goals loosely and staying in a state of constant surrender to Divine will, it is much easier to let go of larger expectations and outcomes. You may also find it easier to ebb and flow with the process of creation when you practice on-going surrender of outcomes and stay in the present moment.

Here’s to wishing you well throughout the cycle of creation toward realizing your dreams!

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

The Search For Happiness

Everyone in the world wants to be happy; and yet everyone suffers in some way. People the world over eagerly search for happiness as if it were a highly treasured secret.

The search for happiness has led many to explore religion, because all wisdom traditions teach that virtue is a precondition of happiness. Virtue may be defined differently by various traditions, yet the search for it invariably calls the seeker to personal introspection and self-honesty.

Times of social upheaval often serve as a catalyst to ignite this individual search for meaning and happiness. It is when the known certainties of our lives crumble, that we start looking for deeper answers. We may embark on this journey to find meaning in the death of a loved one, mourn the loss of a job or relationship, or survive the turmoil of financial instability.

Seekers often believe that the source of meaning and happiness lie outside themselves. They may seek for it in words, books or teachings from those who have been anointed by modern society as the guardians of spiritual truth.

Buddhism takes a contrasting view: it teaches that true knowledge and meaning cannot be found in any outside power or agency. Instead, it is found in the deep knowledge of truth that resides within each of us, even when we try to hide from ourselves.

Why would we want to hide from our inner truth, you may ask? Because we do not want to see our flaws, faults, weaknesses, and excesses. We fear that they’d make us feel too vulnerable and guilty. We are ashamed to admit to ourselves that some of the things we want are forbidden, illegal, unethical, or fattening.

We also hide from inner truth because we are afraid to face our fears. Although we may appear to be self-confident, we are all vulnerable to failure, defeat, humiliation, loss, pain, and death. We fear these things and so we repress those fears. And so we struggle to repress the truths within that we are not able to face, until it seeps through our defenses to haunt us in nightmares, anxieties and everyday worries.

This unwillingness to see things as they are, is the primary obstacle to happiness. It is the chief cause of our self-inflicted suffering; a form of self-denial that the Buddha called ignorance.

If ignorance is the underlying cause of our self-inflicted suffering, then awareness is the remedy. The keys to the kingdom of happiness lie in becoming self-aware. True self-awareness enables us to change the things we can, to accept the things we cannot change, and to know the difference.

Self-awareness can be cultivated through meditation, introspection and reflection. It requires us to witness our inner state of being without reacting to it. The very act of honest self-observation gives us the necessary insight to change our habitual patterns of thought and action.

When we embark on the journey within, we learn to access the truth that offers true happiness. As we come to understand our own resistance to truth, we learn how to transform it. We learn how to change our habits of negative thinking, repressed emotions, and fear-based action into courageous openness, honest awareness, and joyous equanimity. We learn to accept and relax into existence as it is, rather than to anxiously reject and fight it.

We begin to see how we, ourselves, are the primary cause of our own sorrow. And we come to understand that we can also choose to be the cause of our own release and happiness. We learn to find harmony between our inner being and our outer environment, so that peace and happiness flow.

This process of diligent and honest introspection has the potential to radically change our lives from within and restore a true sense of happiness.

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

App For Life

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

These words of poet Mary Oliver strike a cord with me. You see, I believe that you and I did not appear in this life by random chance. We are here to play a unique part in the ongoing circle of life. Whatever it is you plan to do, that path is already calling to you.

Question is, how do you find that path? How do you know where to go and what to do to have the most impact?

I’d like to offer you an app to help you find and stay the course.

This app is not for your Ipad or Android – it’s an app for your life. The acronym APP stands for ALIGNMENT, PASSION and PERSEVERANCE. Together, these three components will unlock the doors to success in your life, no matter where you go. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Alignment

The first part of the app is ALIGNMENT. It asks you to live a life that is aligned with your core values and goals. You will always have the most impact when you make decisions that are aligned with your core values and goals.

Betraying or compromising your core values may look like a shortcut. It may even bring the initial trappings of success, but it will always leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled. True peace of mind comes from living a life that is aligned with your values, truth and principles.

When you make choices that are aligned with your core values and goals, you’ll be in integrity; you’ll be strong, and you’ll find a way around every obstacle until you reach your goals.

Passion

The second part of the life app reminds you to pursue your dreams with PASSION.

What is it that you feel most passionate about? What gets you out of bed with enthusiasm, lighting up your face when you talk about it? Pay attention to these signs, because the very things you care about passionately, are also the things you are hardwired for.

Before you choose a path, listen to your heart and align with what you feel truly passionate about. When you do that, you will stay in harmony within yourself. You’ll find the energy, motivation and drive to reach your goals.

Perseverance

The third part of the life app deals with PERSEVERANCE. You see, life’s great results usually reward not those who dream big or get lucky, but those who persevere in actively pursuing their dream. It is how you follow through and persevere, that separates winners from losers.

Perseverance is the ingredient that converts dreams into reality. The more perseverance you develop, the better your chances of success. Perseverance will require you to go out of your comfort zone and to practice self-discipline; it will quietly demand that you keep on keeping on, even when all the odds seem to be stacked against you!

Winners know how to persevere: They stay focused, take action daily toward their goals, and press on until the results show up.

Together, alignment, passion and perseverance make for powerful results! Let’s look at a few examples:

Wangari Maathai used this APP to bring about incredible transformation in Africa. She felt passionate about destruction of the land caused by deforestation in Kenya. She was touched by the needs of rural women who reported that their streams and food supplies were drying up, and they had to walk further and further to get firewood.

Wangari Maathai developed a vision of reforestation to help her people. She started to plant trees, and recruited other women to join her in the effort.

At first, community leaders laughed at her and dismissed her. But Wangari had a vision. She passionately believed in her cause, and she persevered.

She established the Green Belt Movement to conserve the environment and improve livelihoods. She organized rural women to grow seedlings and plant trees to bind the soil and stop erosion, to find ways together to store rainwater, provide food and firewood, and earn a decent living.

Wangari also started community education programs to advocate for greater democracy and leadership accountability. Since 1977, the Green Belt Movement has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya, effectively reversing destruction of the ecosystem in east and central Africa.

It all started with one woman who was aligned with her core values, who passionately believed in her vision to alleviate human suffering, and who persevered until the results showed up. Her ALIGNMENT, PASSION AND PERSEVERANCE brought about powerful results.

Fulfilling your life purpose may not call you to distant lands, but it will call you to live from your heart’s truth.

That is what happened to Jessica Jackley shortly after she graduated from college.

Jessica Jackley heard a speech by an economist from Bangladesh who had developed the idea of micro financing: loans offered to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans.

She was so completely blown away by this concept that she quit her job out, dropped everything and moved to East Africa to find out how she could help. There, she learned about the very real problems people face throughout the third world: A farmer in Tanzania who needs $25 for seeds to plant his crops, a seamstress in Peru who needs $100 for a new sewing machine to earn a living; a rice harvester in Cambodia who needs $50 for a bicycle to get his product to market.

Jessica saw the need, and she developed a vision to help. In 2005, she co-founded Kiva.org – an organization that allows people to lend money to entrepreneurs in the US and developing countries through the internet.

On Kiva, individual lenders like you and I can sort through profiles of potential borrowers and make loans to those we find most appealing. The minimum loan is only $25, and the interest rate is 0%. Risky loans? No, not really.

The repayment rate for loans is more than 99%, and since Kiva was founded in 2005 it has had an enormous impact: some 910,000 people have pledged almost 1/2 billion dollars in loans to more than 1 million people in 72 countries. About two-thirds of Kiva’s borrowers are women who are now able to break free from the cycle of poverty.

Jessica had a vision of how she could make a difference in the world. She used the APP of ALIGNMENT, PASSION and PERSEVERANCE to launch one of the fastest growing crowd-funding social benefit websites in history. Today, Kiva empowers people around the world to feed and educate their families, to make an honest living, and to restore their pride.

Wangari Maathai and Jessica Jackley have both made enormous contributions to society, and they used the same app I’m sharing with you now. They found something they felt PASSIONATE about, they made decisions that were ALIGNED with their core values, and they PERSEVERED until they succeeded.

If they could do it, so can you. Your future beckons, the choices are yours, and now you have this APP for life.

And so, in closing, I ask you again,

What is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

May you always live in alignment with your values, and may you pursue your dreams with passion and perseverance until they come true!

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

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