What does it take for us to feel abundant?
I had a financial advisor tell me once that no matter what amount of money people have, they always feel like they don’t have enough. “I work with people who have tens of millions of dollars and still they worry they don’t have enough,” he said.
The truth is that no amount of material things can make us feel abundant. Abundance is not a dollar amount it is the sister feeling of gratitude.
There are many yoga teachings that speak to this.
The eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras include the yamas and niyamas, the basic things the teachings tell us we must do as well as the things we must refrain from doing if we want to live joyful, truly abundant lives.
The third niyama is “samtosa” – contentment…learning to be content with whatever is in our lives.
The fifth yama is “aparigraha” – non-possessiveness, non-greediness, non-grasping at things.
Learning to be content with what we have and who we are rather than constantly grasping at this thing and that accomplishment is an important practice that teaches us to see the abundance all around us.
Have you ever noticed the deep feeling of fullness you get when walking along in the quiet beauty of nature? Or the happiness you feel standing at the beach, soft sand between your toes, ocean waves gentle lapping at the shore and a breathtaking sunset setting the sky ablaze with colors so magnificent they take your breath away.
In those moments there is never a feeling of need, just a deep feeling of contentment and gratitude.
Parents are blessed with other precious moments, the sweet smell of our newborns as we cradle them close to our chests, tiny toddler arms that wrap around the back of our legs and trusting, adoring eyes that look at us and say “I love you.”
These moments won’t put money in the bank, but there is no bank balance big enough to compare with them.