Astonishing LuckJune 11, 2009
Perhaps you don’t believe in luck or fate. It doesn’t matter either way. If you are reading this post, you are astonishingly blessed.
How do I know this?
Well, for one, in order for you you to be reading this, you’re using a computer and an Internet connection. Whether you have the fortune to own a computer at home, are using one at work, or are using a shared system somewhere, you have access to a vast library of information, beyond what even our parents dreamed possible.
That access requires a degree of wealth and community not available in many parts of the world. In fact, a large percent of the world’s people still support themselves through manual labour and subsistence farming. Imagine if you had to haul all your water and grow all your own food, working all daylight hours. Where the only way to get help was to have children. No Internet, no TV, no telephone, few choices.
To give you a sense of this, check out the Global Rich List. For example, if you are an American earning a modest $30,000 a year, you are in the top 7% of income globally. In other words, 93% of the world earns less than you. That’s about 6 billion people. In fact, 80% of the world earns less than $2,000 a year, the rough cost of buying and supporting a computer. Half earn less that $850.
You also have the luxury of easy credit, the ability to buy that computer when you choose rather than when you can pay for it. While you may consider credit card interest rates usury, especially given current prime rates, the interest rates charged in some other countries (and the resulting cost of goods) are appalling.
There’s a good reason why Mohammed Younus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for developing a micro-loans bank in Bangladesh. Not a solution, but certainly a big helping hand. Organizations like Kiva make it easy for us wealthy to lend a helping hand. One modest donation can be re-loaned over and over.
If we forget these things, the cost is higher than you might imagine. The western world is astonishingly wealthy but largely fails to recognize this and thus wastes more than enough to solve many of the world’s fundamental issues. In the rush to compensate for our perceived lacks, we have lost the message of sufficiency and are, in essence, crapping in our own bed. As Lynne Twist observed, wealth does not bring us a sense of financial security. Only perception can.
A further reason I know you have astonishing luck is that you are reading about spirituality. As Abraham Maslow described in his research on self actualization, we do not come to a place of inner reflection until our fundamental needs are being met. As his Hierarchy of Needs illustrates, personal growth arises on a platform of met needs – physiological, safety, social, esteem, and aesthetic. This is when actualization can flower.
(Note that once the physiological needs of the body are met, the further stages match the energetic needs that correspond with the lower 4 chakras.)
Later in his life, Maslow began to speak of another tier, self-transcendence.
“[Transcenders] may be said to be much more often aware of the realm of Being, to be living at the level of Being… to have unitive consciousness and “plateau experience” … and to have or to have had peak experience (mystic, sacral, ecstatic) with illuminations or insights. Analysis of reality or cognitions which changed their view of the world and of themselves, perhaps occasionally, perhaps as a usual thing.”
Notably, he differentiated climactic experiences from serene and contemplative “B-cognitions” and “B-realm”. I’ve spoken here quite a bit about experiences vs being and of abiding vs non-abiding awakening.
If you are reading a blog like this, you are exploring self transcendence in some way. You are stepping past self actualization. That is an astonishing accomplishment. Maslow suggests that less than 2% ever come to this, although that number appears to now be growing.
I emphasize the astonishing nature of our blessings of fortune and actualization because they point to one of the key tools for our journey and for our success as a species. Gratitude. It is that recognition of our blessings that takes us out of an absorption in our apparent problems, gives us a vision of possibility, allows us to forgive, brings the world together, and opens us to the transcendence we seek.
Feel grateful, feel good. It’s very simple really.