Inner Reflections
April 12, 2021
Episode 6


To be abundant is to have more than enough, to be overflowing in something. Many of us desire abundance because it represents freedom where we can live a truly limitless life. If you’re interested in this theme of abundance and living an abundant life then let’s get started.

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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of “Dare to Awaken Podcast.”]

Welcome to episode number six, “Abundance” of the Dare to Awaken podcast. This is Travis Elliot, and it’s an honor to have you with us this week. So what does abundance look like for you? Does it look like living in your dream home? Driving in your dream car? Going to your dream job? Or maybe it looks like traveling all around the world having life-changing adventures? Or perhaps it’s more about deep, meaningful relationships? Maybe it’s about having your needs met so that you can donate your time and your energy of being of service to others, and exploring deeply your spiritual path without having to worry about paying your bills. If you’re like me, it might be like, “Yes, please. I’ll take all of the above.”

You know sometimes at night I pinch myself because I can hardly believe the life that I’ve been able to create. I live in this amazing home with an amazing family. I get to teach yoga and meditation as a career. I’ve been able to write books. I have this podcast where I get to create. I get to travel around the world to the most beautiful places, hosting yoga retreats. Such a dynamic, beautiful community. I have Inner Dimension TV. I mean, it’s just amazing. It’s a dream come true. And I can’t help but sometimes ask myself, “How did I get here? How did all of this happen? How did I create this?” And part of it is really my parents who instilled in me that all things are possible. And part of it was also exploring and taking a deeper dive into actually how abundance works. What I learned is, is that we as human beings are made of magnetic energy. And whatever this magnetic energy is attuned to is what we create or what we attract in our lives through people, places, experiences and things. And this magnetic energy is directly influenced by our thoughts, our feelings and our emotions. When you feel abundant, you attract abundance from the universe. And because the universe is infinite, there is no end to the amount of abundance you can attract.

There’s an old Daoist saying that says, “The dao is like a well; used but never used up.” It is like the eternal void filled with infinite possibilities. The dao is called the great mother; empty, yet inexhaustible. It gives birth to infinite worlds. It is always present within you. You can use it any way you want. Living a life of abundance is a human birthright. But it also requires the right mindset. It’s not like most of us are learning about abundance and how that works within the school system. We might learn about English and math and science, but very often we don’t learn about the way that the mind works and the way that the heart works. But we are starting to see a greater emergence of some of these wisdom traditions and mindfulness beginning to penetrate and pervade throughout our school system, which is a really beautiful thing.

Paul Zaiter said, “There is a natural law of abundance which pervades the entire universe, but it will not flow through a doorway of belief in lack and limitation.” Now, this was something that I had to reconcile early on in my career, and that is, the only thing stopping me from living a life of abundance and realizing my potential was me. I couldn’t blame it on anything else. I had to take responsibility. I had to take radical responsibility that I was in my life because of all the choices and decisions that I had made. One of the greatest lessons that yoga taught me was that true abundance is really found in every moment, the present moment. And in the present moment, we already have everything that we could ever want. As Lao Tzu said, “When you realize that nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” By embracing the present moment, feeling its unlimited potential and then giving gratitude to it, we begin to amplify that magnetic energy. Giving gratitude accelerates bringing more abundance into our lives, even giving gratitude when we are in the midst of adverse conditions.

This was a letter that I received from one of my students in the Maine State Prison inmate by the name of Steve Clark, who writes, “Last week, I was denied my appeal that we have been working on for nine years. My family, lawyers and friends all anticipated a positive outcome. There was so much hope and so much love put into this appeal. I was planning what my life would look like free. I was hoping to finally spend time with the woman I love and be of service in the community with my eyes open, able to see. The decision broke my heart, and made me feel numb at first. But then everything I have been practicing kicked in. The love I feel in my heart and soul immediately rejuvenated my focus and goal. My dream of helping men who are leaving prison, and my dream of being with the one person who feels the immensity of space with love, provided me the foundation to move forward. It was an opportunity to practice not grasping, contentment and acceptance. I realize it is not my time and I have more work to do here in prison. The amazing gifts yoga in my spiritual path has given me is the ability to be grateful for the experience. There is no desire to use drugs or alcohol. There was no desire to act out. Instead, there was a big thank you that came up during a meditation that was a result of the entire experience. I believe in my heart, when the universal spirit is ready, I will have the chance to experience society again. Now is the time to expand on my practice and move forward with my education. Now is the time to maintain presence and be there for the men around me who are suffering.”

And I love how Steve talks about this notion of being of service, of helping others who are suffering. Because giving to others is a powerful way of growing our abundance, because it cements us, it connects us to this deeper dimension of who we are beyond the limitations of the ego, who we are beyond our own limited, narrow identities. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself, then I was prosperous.” We also have to ask ourselves, what does rich, what does being rich, what does being abundant, what does being prosperous actually even really mean?

There was a story about a multimillionaire rich father who wanted to teach his son what it was like being poor. So they left the city and they went out and stayed with a very kind family in this remote village in the countryside. And after their weekend trip, as they are heading back home, the father looked at his son and he asked, “So, son, what did you learn?” The son responded, “Well, we have one dog; they have four. We have a chlorinated pool; they have a river with fresh water. We eat food out of plastic; they grow their own from a garden. We live under city lights behind walls; they live under the stars surrounded by nature. So thanks, dad, for showing me that we are the ones who are actually poor.”

And this story illustrates so beautifully what we believe richness and abundance to mean, especially in our Western societies, where very often we think that abundance has everything to do with stuff, with materialism. But if you’re somebody who’s working 75 hours a week just grinding and grinding and grinding to accumulate a million dollars, and then finally you get that million dollars after years and years of grinding and grinding. But by the time you do that, you don’t have deep, meaningful relationships. Your health is deteriorated. You’re not happy. You’re jaded. There’s a lot of suffering. Is that really what being rich means? I think you know the answer. And the answer is that true abundance is really about spiritual abundance. There’s nothing wrong with having nice stuff. It only becomes wrong when our possessions begin to possess us and we lose that perspective as to what real, true richness means. And if you talk to anybody that’s at the end of their life or anyone who’s had a near-death experience, they’ll tell you at that moment when you’re about to die, you’re not thinking about how many followers you have on social media. You’re not thinking about how much money you have in your bank account. You’re thinking about the people that you love and your life and that have loved you. You’re thinking about your relationships. Those are the memories and the feelings that you experience as you encounter that threshold of moving on to the great beyond, beyond this mysterious, wild human incarnation.

So being rich, being truly rich, is about being rich in benevolent qualities; qualities such as kindness, compassion, goodness, generosity. And this creates a certain type of a mind state and a heart state and a reality within our life. There was a story of a great samurai who trekked to the very peak of a tall mountain. And when he finally ascended the top, he found the temple. And when he looked in the temple all the way back in the corner was a monk meditating. This samurai stampeded all the way across the floor. And as he approached the monk, he shouted out, “Monk, teach me about heaven and hell.” The monk very slowly opened up his eyes and he looked at this samurai towering above him. And he said, “You are a disgrace, the samurai class.” And the samurai, in an instant of rage, grabbed his sword, unsheathed it. And just as he was about to execute the monk, the monk looked at him and he said, “That is hell.” And the samurai realized that in that moment, the monk had put his life on the line to teach him to answer the very question that he had asked. So then he proceeded to put the sword back into its sheath. He dropped his knee to the ground. He bowed down in a gesture of gratitude to the monk. And the monk said, “That is heaven.”

We have this choice whether we create a richness and an abundance of heaven within our lives. And of course, the opposite is true. We can also have an abundance of suffering and misery and unhappiness and hell within our lives. It’s all about these qualities that we cultivate. It’s about whether we choose benevolence or malevolence. Now, another way that we can truly feel abundant, and you probably know this to be true, is to spend time in nature, where we connect back to the very pulse of nature. Gazing up at the stars on a dark night. Hiking to the top of a mountain range and just seeing mountains roll for infinity and beyond. Meditating on the beach at sunrise. These moments in nature can grow our abundance because nature herself, the great mother, as the tao would say, is abundant.

This is a poem from the great Mary Oliver called “When I Am Among the Trees”.

When I am among the trees, especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks and the pines, they give off such hints of goodness. I would almost say that they saved me, and daily. I am so distant from the hope of myself in which I have goodness, discernment, and never hurry through the world, but walk slowly and bow often. Around me, the trees stir in their leaves and call out, ‘Stay a while.’ The light flows from their branches. And then they call again, ‘It’s simple,’ they say, ‘and you, too, have come into this world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light and to shine.’

Abundance exists all around you, especially in nature. It also exists inside of you. It is part of who you are and there is no limit to what you can create in this lifetime.

Much health, much wealth, much love and much abundance to you. May we dare to awaken.