Poverty and Honesty: We Are All One.
A good friend of mine told me about a project she was undertaking regarding poverty, and asked whether I would like to collaborate with her for an upcoming project.
She is one of those incredible people who have taken it upon themselves to find practical answers for the major issues that impact humanity. I thought the best way to contribute would be to not think. I have recently come to the understanding that thinking issues out can be exhausting, and so instead I decided to meditate on it.
At first I felt sad, then angry and then deeply peaceful.
And I realized, maybe this is the answer.
Many of us have been blessed with varying degrees of affluence, with the only refusals in our life coming from well-meaning parents or the reality of over-indulging on things we did not need. It can be hard to engage with poverty in a way that doesn’t involve pity and guilt, which manifest in doing the right thing, finishing your meal (especially when you do not want to), or paying charismatic charity hustlers.
There is an otherness that is brought up when I hear people speak of poverty. A close family member is a case in point — they do not want to see it, they do not want to feel bad for what they have.
Before we engage in this topic, I need to acknowledge the fundamental metaphysical principle that if we are all one, then nothing you are experiencing can be outside of you.
Your poverty may not be externally evident, but it will instead be in your internal life — not feeling good enough, not having enough — poverty in the experience of yourself and others. The poverty of spirit that we see in our communities, in the ones we love, on the television screens.
What is poverty? Poverty is lack, and lack has many forms. We commonly associate poverty as a lack of financial resources, home or food. It can also be a lack of emotional or mental clarity, of strength, of confidence, of conviction.
To engage with big world issues such as poverty, we need to make it both personal and impersonal. We need to stop seeing it as a state outside of ourselves, but one we contribute to and live. We need to stop pitying others and instead be honest with ourselves and those in our lives. Be honest: I am living in a state of lack too, and I do not want to live in poverty anymore!
Get angry, angry to affect change and seek universal justice. We are humanity, and this is a call for transformation! Making it personal is what will make change in the external world, not pity, not throwing change into a bucket, or licking your plate with that pang of guilt. We need to ride the energy of anger, the wrath of Kali, and make constructive changes in our lives to reflect this desire for freedom. And then…
… we need to let go.
We need compassion for the poverty in ourselves. The areas where things never seem to work out for us, or where we settle for a reality because it protects us from seeing our lack. The ways we cover our emptiness and keep it dormant, haunting the dreams of our sleep and our future.
Some of us are absorbed in our lack to the point we find it hard to get out of bed in the morning, and others in total denial. We let go when we confront our lack and realize that not only did it not kill us, but that it is an illusion. We, as humanity, created conditions for poverty to exist, but it is neither real, nor is it necessary. And it will not change until the majority of us change our relationship to it.
The move from believing yourself separate to an issue, to then taking it personally and then realizing the impersonal, is currently my conclusion on how we can transform the issue of poverty and any other experience that inhibits freedom. You can liken it to firstly believing in the devil, then realizing that the devil is fear, and then further realizing that fear is an illusion.
Our suffering is largely because we place biased meaning on inanimate objects, on relationships, on our feelings, and we also have the ability to take fruitless meanings away and realize that we are free. To reiterate, we need to make it personal and do the necessary actions to eliminate poverty from our life and our communities and then…
… let go.
The truth is, we all came into this world with nothing — naked, raw and blissfully alive. Much of our joy has come from being loved, kept warm, talked to, fed the right things allowing our bodies to develop to the point that we can see and read these words. We then die with nothing.
Our children (ours or humanity’s) fight over having or relinquishing responsibility for that we have accumulated and cannot take with us.
We forget that nothingness is freedom. Lack or poverty and having nothing are two different things. One assumes that others are better off than you and creates a hierarchy of worthiness, it is relativity. The other is our natural state which we cover up with things and identities. One is personal and the other impersonal. Which would you choose to influence your every decision?
Poverty is not the issue. Honesty and courage are the issue. Personally and collectively, it is time to ask ourselves: how did we let this become a reality? And furthermore, what new reality can we dream and harness to take its place? It is time to choose freedom for ourselves and others. We are all one after all.
Elise Beer is a Kiwi adventuress on the quest for living integration. She is passionate about the principles she has learnt through her studies of the lifestyle sciences of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Tantra. Elise is fascinated by the world of symbols and the language of nature and enjoys morning wake-up dancing, heart-y meals, ocean swims and cozy nooks.