Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Why Poverty Consciousness Is Good

First I want to thank each of you for your wisdom and courage sharing your thoughts on this extremely loaded topic. This is NOT easy stuff to talk about.

We are bombarded daily by a culture that puts competitive consuming as the highest value.  And it is a culture that, from Puritanism to some of the New Age ideas, equates material wealth with spiritual attainment.

No wonder we are exhausted and confused and sometimes profoundly wounded in our spirits.

So as is my habit on weekends, today I share the views of another visionary. In this case, a man I admire as much as just about anyone around.  His name is Mark Silver and, among many hats he wears,  he is a business coach, Sufi master, and dad of young twins. Not necessarily in that order.

He recently wrote:
“Many people have come to [his business coaching services]
Heart of Business worn and frustrated by New Age abundance theories. They’ve invested sincere energy into practicing these teachings only to end up exhausted and depleted…

“So many good people with good hearts and great intentions are practicing and teaching these abundance techniques, which seem to work for some yet for many others not at all.

“Manifestation, co-creating, making yourself attractive; whatever you call it, there has been a great deal of hubbub in the last few years about whether or not you can draw in ‘untold riches,’ or whatever it is that you are wanting. The promise of attraction techniques is simple and powerful: if you can think it, you can have it.

“Yet this hasn’t proven true for many. The disappointment and disillusionment I’ve witnessed has disturbed me enough to want to understand what’s going on and hopefully bring some clarity to this issue.”

So with that as a bit of background, I offer this post of his, that he wrote several years ago. Lots to think about and discuss, especially in light of the many profound comments you all have made here in the last couple of days.

(ps: I know this is pretty long, but it is a complex topic we could spend months on!  Thanks for sharing your time with us here.)

Why Poverty Consciousness is More Effective Than Abundance Thinking

by Mark Silver

Abundance consciousness is all the rage these days. And why shouldn’t it be? Of course you want your business to be abundant with cash for the security it gives you. And, because generosity feels so good, you want to be abundant in your giving as well.

It’s always painful to me watching folks trying to reeeaaaacccchhhhh for an “abundance consciousness” and repeatedly fall short of it. What is this “abundance consciousness” anyway?

The most common ways I’ve seen people try to reach for abundance, is through various techniques that usually boil down to trying to force yourself to believe that you really are okay. Except that you don’t feel okay. You don’t feel abundant. You don’t feel happy, or confident, or sure.

If that’s your experience, I urge you to leave ‘abundance consciousness’ in the dustbin, and settle back into the only thing that I’ve seen work consistently: cultivating a healthy poverty consciousness.

A healthy poverty consciousness(!?)

Have you ever noticed that the miracles usually come through when you’ve finally been forced onto your knees? The cavalry comes over the hill at the last possible moment? That you are saved from what you are sure is going to be certain disaster in the knick of time?

This is a universal human experience. Everyone I’ve met has experienced this. So, what’s going on, and can it be reliably repeated?

What’s happening in these circumstances is an example of the effects of a healthy poverty consciousness. If you think about it, it just makes sense.

When someone is handing you something very special, say a rare crystal vase, or a newborn infant, it is critical that you have your hands empty, and also that you are ready to receive what’s coming. Otherwise, the precious bundle coming to you will either go dashing to the ground (if the other person isn’t watching), or it won’t get handed over at all.

To make this work in your business, apply a magnet, which is your authentic neediness, aka “poverty.” And hold it under your empty hands, aka your humility and a willingness to take responsibility for whatever is handed to you.

Combine these in an authentic, sincere way, and you have just used your poverty as a powerful magnetic attractor, much more powerful than any sense of false abundance you’ve been trying to muster.

How do you cultivate these so you can call the cavalry in when you need them?

Keys to a Healthy Poverty Consciousness

• Neediness: Being comfortable with an uncomfortable magnet.

Neediness is very uncomfortable. When we feel lack, we tend towards either collapsing in fear or sadness, or towards hyperactivity of pushing and trying to ‘make it happen.’

Instead, just stop. Stop. Now, what is it that’s not working for you right now? Allow yourself to feel your lack, your authentic neediness, and notice what that feels like. That’s right, it won’t kill you.

• Humility: Your empty cup waiting to be filled.

Jesus said, ‘The meek shall inherit the earth.’ I believe that meekness does not refer to spiritual or physical collapse, but rather to a humility where we know that some things are beyond us, and that we are willing to accept help.

Try on the idea that you aren’t superhuman. Brainstorm a list of ordinary things that you usually do alone. How could you ask for help in doing them? Not because you aren’t capable, but because you are humble enough to recognize your interdependence with others.

• Responsibility: Accepting stewardship for all that is put in your reach.

Response-ability– it’s really just a willingness to show up with what is, and what is coming. When combined with neediness and humility, you become the cup that is finally(!) emptied, so that you have some space to receive.

Allow your heart to run through all three: feeling the lack and neediness, bowing your head with humility at your inability to force an outcome, and then find the willingness in your heart to fully show up with what is, and whatever comes, without needing to know. What do you notice about how that feels?

If you’ve given yourself enough space for this process, you are probably feeling a lot more connected and relaxed in your heart. It’s time to look back at the original situation: what does it look like now? And, what next step does your heart naturally want to take?

Notice what comes in … over the next day or so, and use it as a way to develop your healthy poverty consciousness.

This can be a pretty deep and challenging concept spiritually, but it provides real freedom. I look forward to hearing your comments.

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  • February 26, 2011, 12:20 pm Regina

    What a fantastic post! This makes so much sense! It reminds me of something astrologer Robert Wilkinson wrote: “A full glass can only be emptied, but an empty glass can be filled.”

    I think a lot of this is also about trust – You have to trust the Universe to fill your glass when it’s empty. And yeah, that can be hard! I’m definitely going to meditate on this. Thank you for posting this, Beth!

  • February 26, 2011, 1:06 pm judy

    There are some good ideas in there if you can get past his unfortunate choice of words. I, personally, am turned off by words like neediness and poverty consciousness just as much as by notions of reeaacchhing and forcing.

  • February 26, 2011, 3:39 pm Arie

    Humm, I don’t quite agree with this view.
    It can be a two edged sword.
    Of course when you reach the bottom you can only go up.
    But why wait until “you’ve finally been forced onto your knees?”
    Many times in that position you may never be able to get up.
    “Need creates new organs of perception. Increase your need to increase your perception”. Rumi (a translation from a translation).
    Long ago one of my teachers came up with the “Target strategy”
    F.A.I. Focus, Action, Inspiration.
    When I have a target in my minds eye and take every day a small step towards this target, then I reach it. It involves passion, motivation, patience, action, inspiration and focus.
    Another way to look at this would be the “Warrior Pentacle”.
    Commitment, Honor, Truth, Strength And Compassion.

  • February 26, 2011, 7:06 pm Maria

    I saw something different in the article than you did, Arie. It seems to me that the author is talking about a way to reliably repeat the “magic” (for lack of a better word) that often happens when you finally give up, but before you reach that point. To acknowledge your need, and the possibility that you can’t fill the need through your own power, and then being willing to jump on opportunities you will attract. Opportunites that may not be what you expected.

    Here is what I know: when I am in total control of my own life, I make a HUGE mess of it. When I say to the Goddess “I have no idea what I’m doing and I need help,” help comes — sometimes in the form of outside help or opportunity, sometimes in the form of an idea on how to proceed that had not occurred to me before. Personally, I like the idea of acknowledging I have a need that I may not be able to power through on my own and asking for help BEFORE I make a royal mess of everything. And up until this moment, I had not really realized that was an option. “Try on the idea that you’re not superhuman” — I SO needed to read that! Thanks, Beth!

  • February 27, 2011, 2:04 pm Regina

    I think I understood something different, too, in what Silver was saying, Maria. I would have to agree that the actual phrase “poverty consciousness” is distressing. Perhaps he should have come up with a different phrase. (Although it’s good marketing – it catches your attention.)

    Anyway, the concept that came through to me was the idea of keeping the channels of abundance flowing. Room has to be made for the “goodness” to flow in. If you kept hoarding it and never let any of it out, you’d block up the flow. So sometimes, you have to have an empty glass, and then trust the Universe to fill it.

  • February 28, 2011, 11:31 am Arie

    Maria I think we are more or less on the same page.
    When I ask for HELP I’m ACTING, focusing on a positive result, like prosperity.
    It is quite diffrent than to do nothing and to wait for a miracle.
    Regina, in my opinion there is a difference between emptying your glass by being aware of it and waking up unintentionally with an empty glass.

  • March 2, 2011, 5:09 am Susannah

    Thank you for sharing this. It always helps to read new ways of looking at things. I want to share with you, Beth, (and anyone else who happens to read this comment) a book that I just read (devoured, actually) this past weekend. It’s called “Behaving As If the God in All Life Mattered” by Machaelle Small Wright. The woman is a spiritual pioneer, if you ask me. Have you heard of her and/or this book that she wrote? 🙂 Thank you again! xoxoxo Susannah

  • March 2, 2011, 12:01 pm Beth

    Susannah! I absolutely LOVE this book..Isn’t it the most wonderful and amazing story? Machaelle Small Wright has influenced me in so many ways. In fact, her later Perelandra Gardening books are a huge part of how I myself work with plant devas and how I teach my herbal magick classes. Thanks for mentioning this fantastic resource.

  • March 3, 2011, 3:23 am Rena

    This is wonderful to see, Beth.
    One of the sadly destructive attitudes I’ve encountered in new age circles has been, “if you’re not affluent and healthy, you must be doing something very wrong spiritually.”
    I agree with Arie that sometimes the cavalry doesn’t come through. But more, no matter how magical we are, ultimately there’s no thinking that’s going to promise what we want. Good people get sick and even die. Upright, spiritual people are not always properous, even when poverty hurts.
    What I liked about what you shared is the sense of humility and compassion, without giving up the truth of our desires.