When my son was small I took him with me to help a homeless man I had decided to visit and care for on a regular basis. When we left the man (who was a Vietnam vet), my son was dumbfounded by the idea that there could even be people without a home. He was around three at the time and felt just as confused when I showed him a Sesame Street book and explained to him how people had different eyes, noses, mouths and skin types and it was up to us to love people in all their glorious ways of being; but, some people were mean to others because of these differences.
When we are children we have a natural sense of what is love is. We know that all things are interconnected and worthy of love, celebration, and respect. Yet, too soon we hit the reality of a world full of the opposite of that love. We are told that differences are bad and are taught to live in fear. How does this happen? I am sure the answer is far more complex, but I can’t help but believe that one of the reasons is we are taught to glorify the very things that lead to entitlement and fear.
Especially in the United States as I grew up I struggled early on with the ever escalting worship of wealth. As I wrote in my BEYOND THE SECRET book, my first crisis regarding this happened in my mid-twenties when I married a relatively wealthy man who told me when I married him, “I would never have to work another day in my life.” True. Rapidly, my life became about ski vacations, visiting luxurious golf courses, and contemplating how much I could pamper myself.
Only one problem, I was naturally mystical as a child and had an almost desparate desire to know who God was. I was also conditioned by a few main factors before I entered in that marriage that made me keenly sensitive to the state most people live in on this Earth. To begin with, I was raised with an ethic of helping those in need, especially the troubled and the poor. While most young people around me were glorifying in their youth, I was steeped in reading books on psychology, comparative religions, and getting heavy into meditation. I was also working professionally with troubled youth, specializing at the time in those who had been physically and sexually abused.
Literally, I went from living in a dangerous neighborhood in downtown San Bernardino in what some liked to call “the arm pit of Southern California”, while I was struggling to get through graduate school, to having two homes and a couple Mercedes. And, I went from helping homeless youth, gang kids, runaway teenagers, and abused children to worrying about my nails, my ski bunny outfit, and my golf game. Until one day I was sitting in the jacuzzi in our home on the golf course in Palm Springs and it hit me just how many of these homes were empty about eleven months out of a year! It impacted me in a deep way that so many people around where I was sitting in that jacuzzi had second (or third) homes they almost never visited, while billions of people on the globe didn’t even have one home to begin with. The crisis of that realization led to the rapid end of my marriage. It was also the beginning of a life long struggle that continues for me this day.
And, it catipulted me many years later into my years of studying in depth the topic of Wealth and Spirituality when I undertook a Ph.D. dissertation. There I researched what every major religion had to say about how to use money in a spiritual way. I researched the lives of billionaires past and present to find out what these people were actually like. And, I was asked to interview fifteen wealthy people who had a minimum net worth of 5 million dollars for ninety minutes, so they could talk to me about how they used their money in a spiritual way. Though I was sure these wealthy and spiritual people were out there, here is the irony, I went broke trying to find them! (As one former IBM CFO told me, “Finding wealthy people who use their money in a spriitual way is like finding a needle in a haystack. Good luck!”).
In my research I also became super aware around 2003 of the growing gap between the rich and the poor in this world and how the United States of America was no longer a democracy (government by and for the benefit of the people), but a plutocracy (government by and for the benefit of the ultra rich). That reality became a public fact when Michael Moore released a document by Citigroup (one of the world’s richest and largest banks) released around 2007 – 2008, where they talked openly about how they (the super rich) could get even richer on the backs of the poor. (Rent his DVD Captialism to learn more).
When my book BEYOND THE SECRET was released (read more about my book and what it is about at http://www.doctorlisalove.com/products/beyond_secret_book.html) just months after the book THE SECRET came out, I was on the radio as of January 2008 declaring that the economy around the world was about to collapse. I remember some callers were furious with me. I was a Law of Attraction teacher. How could I say such a thing? I was saying it based upon the teachings I wrote about in my book on how to use the law of attraction in a spiritual way. I was saying it based upon certain mystical realizations I had experienced in 1989 that revealed to me the profound unity of all existence. And, I was saying it based upon my my years of research from 2000 – 2005 that made me aware of the growing rule of the plutocrats around the world. On the radio shows I spoke on, I referred people to the Dr. Suess story, Yertle the Turtle. Yertle was a typical plutocrat (worshipper of wealth), who believed his job was to own and rule over everything he saw. So, he stacked up hundreds of turtles so he could see more and own more. That is until the tiny turtle at the bottom of the heap got sick and tired of it all and burped. That is all he did and Yertle fell to the floor.
As I asserted on the radio (and this was January 2008, just ten months before the collapse started to occur), we simply cannot have a world where 1% of the world’s population (about 7 million people) own 95% of the world’s resources, property, and wealth. As much as they want to declare themselves rich, famous, and powerful they are simply NOT GETTING IT! They are not getting that true wealth, true freedom, true power, comes from the capacity to LOVE and BE LOVED. That means learning how to love everyone. Why? Because we are everyone. Not only are we each a part of the world; in a very essential way we are the world. What we do, who we are, how we live, and especially how much we do (or do not) love impacts everything and everyone around us.
Here is one example from my life that brought that fact concretely home to me. In the early 1990’s the Rodney King riots happened. I stayed up all night worried because I was once again working with gang kids. My new husband and I took a walk in the morning and he asked me, “How do we want to remember this day?” I thought hard and went into action. The very next day I was down in the riot zone with a truck load of supplies collected from various churches in the Orange County, Southern California town I lived in. A small handful of us (my husband and I, a truck driver who had suddenly appeared to drive the truck, and a couple who thankfully brought along a cell phone – the archiac huge kind that very few people had in those days) arrived first at the Agape church run by Michael Beckwith. But, we had too many supplies (donations had come in from so many churches so fast the truck was packed), so we were sent to two other churches. One was right in the riot zone.
The church we arrived at was closed. Just a few blocks from it a crowd had gathered. What I remember most was a man with a bull-horn who was saying out loud to the crowd, “Next time it’s the rich people’s homes who will go up in smoke.” One year later on the anniversary of the Rodney King riot, rich neighborhoods in five counties in Southern California were lit up in flames. I still reflect on if I was witnessing the seeds of that horrible destruction of property due to frustration, anger and rage that night.
But, the larger point is this, I believe in the deepest part of my being it is time, it is way past time, to STOP our glorification of wealth. The point of life is NOT TO GET A MILLION DOLLARS. As I have said many times the point of life is to discover your human potential so you can OPEN YOUR HEART UP TO WHERE YOU WILLINGLY AND JOYOUSLY CAN HELP A MILLION PEOPLE.
Now, as I write this millions of people are amassing in Egypt and more are gathering around the world. And, here is the message I am hearing. They are fed up! In a very real way, they are “burping” or speaking up! Thankfully, they are doing it in a peaceful non-violent way following the examples of Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr.
Well, I am doing much the same. Once again I am pleading for all of us to stop this notion of believing success means wealth. It doesn’t. A month ago I watched the premier of The Happy Movie (www.thehappymovie.com) where I live in Ojai, California. Please get it and watch it. In the United States we say we have the right to the pursuit of happiness, yet we seem clueless as to what brings happiness in the first place. And, guess what! It isn’t money! Yes, if you don’t have your basic needs met it can impact your happiness. But, once they are met (and I am talking basic needs, not luxury needs), the more you focus on externals like outer appearances, money, and stuff the less happy you are. Happiness is created by things such as having lots of loving relationships, being able to regularly get out into nature, having variety in life, finding ways to be creative, buildling a sense of community, practicing random acts of kindness to improve the lives of others and more!
Look, there is nothing wrong with money or even wealth. IF EVERY BILLIONAIRE said to him or herself (and some of them have), “I will be sure to help at least one billion people have a better life with my billion dollars” everyone on the planet (all seven billion of us) would have our basic needs met. And, if we measured happiness based upon GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS (and the factors that make us happy), instead of Gross National Product (with the insane cancer like proposition that our duty in life is to consume, consume, consume until there is nothing left on the planet and we all die off trying), we could all really be happy in life. I mean all of us. All seven billion of us in this world.
On a final note. Here in the United States we like to make a big deal about freedom. Well, I am a Daughter of the American Revolution twice over (see being a revolutionary is in my blood). I have a famous relative, Admiral Matthew Perry, who helped fight the war during the American Revolution at sea. So, what is it that brings about freedom? ONE THING. LOVE! Got it? It’s that simple. Love. Love makes us free. Love makes us happy. Love helps us live in a better world.
But, to love we have to feel our connection to each other as a reality, as a fact! I experienced that fact during a series of mystical episodes in 1989 and have struggled to understand how to implement that realization in practical ways in my life ever since. One thing I know, what helps me, helps you. What hurts me, hurts you. That is why I follow the words of one of my heroes, Brother Wayne Teasdale, when he wrote, “Live simply, so people can simply live!” No, that’s not socialism. It’s not a flattening of everyone down to mediocrity ville. Rather, it is an internal ethic that the more abundance and talent we have, the MORE WE JOYOUSLY DESIRE TO GIVE OF THAT ABUNDANCE to help others realize and share their gifts and potential. That is what creates happiness in this world. Why aren’t we pursing it?
Just to let you know, when I was doing my Wealth and Spirituality research I also studied philanthropy. And, here is what I found out. Those who were wealthy who wanted to use their wealth in a spiritual way often reversed the usual equation of giving 10% to charity that many religions promote. Rather, like Andrew Carnegie, they vowed to give away 90% of what they had, while they were alive, and gladly lived on the remaining 10% of their wealth (which was plenty anyway). And, it was their JOY to do so. Why? Because they felt their connection with everyone. Because they lived out of an ethic of love.
So, let’s join our hearts together. They are doing it in the Middle East as I write this. Why not do it everywhere?
In conclusion, here is a video I have been playing as I write this. It says what I am trying to convey to you best of all. It let’s you know the truth. There is so much magnificence in me, in you, in us, in the world. Let’s get busy. Let’s capitalize on that and find ways to let all the magnificence in all radiate everywhere around us.
So Much Magnificence – Miten & Deva Premal
Love and blessings,
Copyright 2011 by Dr. Lisa Love. All rights reserved.
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