the lingering, vague discomfort of always wanting more, has a name in Buddhism; it's called dukkha.
Dukkha, which is sometimes misleadingly translated as 'suffering,' is actually that low background hum of lack, that slight discomfort that seems to prevent us from fully relaxing into being. It is considered the hallmark of human existence and is the very thing that drives us to seek enlightenment. Learning to sit with this discomfort, learning to fully relax into being, discomfort and all, is a big part of mindfulness practice, and a very powerful skill to cultivate.
Don't get me wrong here. I don't believe that yearning and striving for worldly comfort and fulfillment is wrong. I don't believe that worldly abundance is incompatible with the spiritual path. In fact, I'm one of those who believes that true abundance is our birthright, that we are all meant to prosper through our natural gifts, and that miracles of abundance are commonplace.
The idea of dukkha says there is a natural discomfort associated with the human condition. The paradox is that by embracing, rather than rejecting, this discomfort we have a chance at being the big, gorgeous, peaceful, limitless beings we were born to be. Again paradoxically, embracing the discomfort of being also allows us to fully and deeply experience life's extraordinary comforts and pleasures.
We could have philosophical conversations all day long about this stuff.
But what really interests me is how these ideas can actually make our lives more beautiful, our worlds softer and more kind. Because I want your life, and mine, to be more beautiful. I want your world, and mine, to be softer and more kind. I want you to prosper in the world through your natural gifts. I want you to live your dreams of beauty and creativity. Then you will be more joyful. You will be more generous and more kind, and the world will have the benefit of the unique beauty that you bring. That's why you deserve to experience abundance. It enriches us all.
So how do we get there?
Before writing this post I googled the phrase "what is the key to abundance?" I just wanted to see if anyone was saying, right off the top, that it was self-love. Well, there seem to be the usual number of folks suggesting that their particular program is the Key to Abundance. Then lots of people are saying the key is gratitude, or generosity, or the Law of Attraction. So... I've told you before what I think about the Law of Attraction. And I totally agree that generosity and gratitude are big components of the experience of true abundance.
But here's the thing: if you don't love yourself, and I mean really, truly, not just in theory, full-on passionately super LOVE yourself, then you're going to be tied up in a little knot of not-enough, really not able to do anything truly generous or grateful or attraction-y, though you may go through the motions.
When you LOVE yourself you are able to see the places in your life where you already have so much abundance (when you're in a knot of lack you can't see that stuff.)
When you LOVE yourself you are able to see oh so clearly (how obvious it is!) that you actually deserve good and beautiful things.
When you LOVE yourself you trust yourself not to make mistakes or be greedy or nasty with your abundance - so you aren't held back by the fear that there's something evil or wrong about fulfillment and prosperity.
When you LOVE yourself you become super attractive (you know how people in love are just so juicy and magnetic?) so without any Laws or tiring affirmations you just attract yummy stuff and experiences.
When you LOVE yourself, you have easy access to your natural gifts.
And so does the world.
And we all benefit.
The key to abundance is self-LOVE.
Now, tell me one thing you absolutely LOVE about yourself.