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Scarcity Is a State of Mind
Marlene: Hi, Ram. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the workshop and how comforting it is to know that there is a sane soul out there, i.e. you, who is not caught up in all of the distractions in life that keep us from knowing who we really are. I really did like the way you presented yourself in the workshop – peppering your wise teaching with humor and modesty. Onward and upward!
Ram: Appreciation is always appreciated, Marlene.
Marlene: I shared your comments about New Thought, which I guess The Secret is based on, in my Unity class. Because New Thought is completely into non-duality, they feel that we are God and God is everywhere, so how can there ever be any lack if we have a belief in abundance?
They feel it is an abundant world and there is enough to go around for everyone. Concsiousness is limitless. This is basically what Joel Goldsmith says as well. Can you help me to understand this more from a Vedanta view. If God is all, why is there any lack?
Ram: Vedanta agrees. The “lack” is caused by ignorance of the fullness of the self/God. If you pay attention to life and think about it carefully apart from what you want out of it, it is obvious that abundance is the fact and that scarcity is a belief born out of unexamined fear. Often when a person does not get what he or she wants, he or she thinks it is because the world is not abundant. But is this true? It takes care of seven billion people and counting. Usually the feeling of lack is based on disappointment resulting from unfulfilled desires.
This is based on the assumption that there is some good reason why the universe should give me what I want. But why should it? Was it set up just for me? When you think about it, you can clearly see that the intelligence that creates and sustains the universe looks after everything all at once. It is not focused on the individual. So the needs of the total come first. Everything in the universe is taken care of according to its nature and the actions that flow from them. This applies to plants and animals too. Other species do not have “abundance” issues, because they do not expect the universe to fulfill them. They just act out their natures and take what comes.
Marlene: They (Unity) also don’t believe in karma and feel that it can be transformed with positive thinking.
Ram: Well, this is a contradiction. If there is no karma, how can it be transformed? Our idea of karma is everything that moves and changes. It is clear that everything is in a state of constant flux. People suffer and enjoy according to the results of their actions, thoughts and feelings. They also suffer according to the results of others’ actions. I walk out on the street every day for thirty years, breathe polluted air and one day I get lung cancer. I find myself in Darfur and although I am a good person I get killed or raped or starve. God and karma are not things you “believe” in – unless you have not observed life. They are just facts.
Marlene: It was good to talk with you afterwards, even if everything was kept to a more superficial level. There are things I might have asked you about in regards to our past interactions and emails, but I just didn’t feel like it, so maybe they are better left in the past.
Ram: Yes, it was a good talk. I am happy to go deeper, Marlene. To which past interactions are you referring? The positive ones or the negative ones? By “deeper” I mean that you have to be willing to dispassionately address the assumptions that brought about the interactions, both positive and negative. If we relate to each other only according to our psychology there are going to be conflicts because we have different relative natures, although we have the same spiritual nature. If we relate from the self, then conflicts are easily resolvable.
If you have negative feelings and you are not willing to see whether or not they are projections, i.e. if you believe what you think and feel without deeply looking into what is behind them, then it is better to keep it superficial. In my experience, most conflicts are based on the belief that what one feels or thinks is reality. But maya causes human beings to project. Sometimes, however, the problem really does lie with the object. For instance, if I really am arrogant, then your feelings are justified. If I consistently treated you in an arrogant manner, then your idea that I am arrogant or conceited or whatever would not be a projection. It would be true. But if you misunderstood what I said – and this happens all the time between people – and your feelings were based on that misunderstanding, then they would not be justified.
On the psychological level – the horoscope – conflict is inevitable. And on that level both people are “right” insofar as they come to their conclusions honestly. Or their different charts have caused them to come to contradictory conclusions. So how do you resolve the conflicts? You have to be committed to truth. And to do that you have to always consider the possibility that what you think and feel may not be true. Thoughts and feelings are not reality. They do not remain the same. They change according to circumstances. They spring from unconscious energies. You cannot always rely on them. Sad to say, most people would rather identify with their feelings and be “right” rather than happy.
Marlene: As the Bible says, “Ask and it shall be given to you,” and, “I and my Father are one.” I don’t know what I think about any of this. I don’t really believe that I can manifest whatever I want in my world, but maybe it is my limiting belief that limits! Anyway, I am curious to hear your thoughts about this. No rush. I know you are busy settling into being in America right now, but would like to know when you have some time.
Ram: Well, the two statements have different meanings. The first one does not mean that if you ask for a Rolls Royce or a relationship with Brad Pitt God will give it to you. It means ask to know God and God will reveal itself to you.
The second statement is a statement of identity between a human being and God, the whole field of existence. It is pure Vedanta. Christ is saying that he is not just a limited little entity knocking about in the vastness of existence. He is saying that in his heart he feels an intimate kinship with everything. Unfortunately, the society had a different idea of God. They were all dualists. They had God tucked away somewhere else and they could not see the connection between us and our Creator. They thought the Creator stood outside the field of existence and that the creature was stuck within it, that the Creator was limitless and the creature was limited – and never the twain shall meet. It is true if you look at it from the dualistic point of view, but is not true if you see the identity between God and man, which is like the relationship between the wave and the ocean. At no time is the wave separate from the ocean. The ocean is H2O and the wave is H2O. The only difference is in the name and the form. On the non-essential level they are different. But on the essential level – the heart level – they are the same.
Marlene: I do hope all is well with you. I am glad we have let the negative aspects of the past go and can be friends again. I always did love your company!
~ Love, Ram