Scarcity is hard to deal with. No one likes the feeling of loss and disappointment, and we do a lot to minimize it. However, loss, like frustration, is not a simple thing. That is because, left to our own devices, we would naturally live low-loss lives. Right now, we are going through humungous changes, and it feels very uncomfortable. In fact, it feels like a very dangerous time, when it may be one of the best times we are living through. Let’s explore to see if we can make some shifts about this topic.
What Causes Loss And Scarcity?
Right now, the world we live in here in late 2023 is overwhelmed by losses of all kinds, environmental, social, cultural, health, etc. Problems are piling up, and fear is increasing as a result.
There is a feeling that many things we have relied on are not so reliable and also a sense that the supports we need to live well are eroding. So, the fear is palpable. It bears mentioning that our world is highly complex. Therefore, it can be difficult to discern where the problems and issues lie and the source of all of these feelings of precariousness that are causing such great feelings of vulnerability. It is not so easy to see what is going on and what to do about it. So, feelings of impending doom rise under these circumstances.
There are important reasons for the situation we are in and the feelings we have about it. There is good news – a lot of it if we get the perspective we need to see through the changes we are going through.
The Big Shift
I call these times the Big Shift because we are living through the most significant change in human life. For thousands of years, we humans have been struggling to survive. We started out on this journey not knowing how to do that, which means a lot of learning to get us this far. How do we create community? Tribes are masters at that. They also learned a lot about using plants to help us be healthy, bringing us Ayurveda. How do we organize ourselves? There have been lots of different cultural systems created to do that: empire, feudal, etc. How can we take adequate care of ourselves? Capitalism has provided basic necessities like indoor plumbing and eradicating many deadly diseases through better housing and other facilities and scientific advances. So, we have this long history of working to create a world where we can survive. The skills to survive have been developed. We have created what is needed. If we want, we can ensure that people on this earth have what they need to have basic quality of life. That mission has been achieved, but the benefits have not yet been made universal.
The Social Issue
Although we have developed the skills we need to make quality of life possible for many if not most of us, we humans still have our heads in the survival mindset. It is understandable – I am not criticizing. It is not always easy to discern when a change has reached a critical point when it will be inevitable.
If we have achieved the skills we need to make life much more comfortable for most people, poverty, disease, war, and all of the harrowing experiences of the journey to survival through thousands of years are not cemented in stone. They are not inevitable. And may even not be necessary any longer.
I recognize that the social side of human life carries a lot of unhappy baggage, so I am not minimizing it. But I am saying that whatever scarcity motivated hierarchy so that so many were left out or forced into slavery, that situation is not the reality any longer unless we make it that way.
Abundance is not just about money. You can have a lot of abundance without a lot of money. How abundant would you be if you had your needs met but also had most of your time to invest in whatever project would bring you joy: music, art, nature, etc? How wonderful to have that opportunity!
That is one of the benefits of this time we are living in. We will be able to reduce consumption and regain our time to use in beautiful new ways.
How A Joy Practice Helps
The good news is that joy practice, which is constructive, caring, and serves the common good, makes this shift so much easier by making it easier to be friends with ourselves, others, our communities, nature, and the common good. That is a big relief from our current high conflict and highly adversarial world. We all need more friendship, and a joy practice helps you bring more friendship into your life.