Updated: Nov 5, 2021
In our modern market-driven society, we are constantly fed with reminders of “more”. Scrolling through the internet reveals data-mined ads that leave us longing for more material goods and experiences.
Socializing online can evoke deep-seated longings for more outings, connections, and even love. Living out our work-centric daily routine often leaves us wanting more rest, more time, more space.
Because systemic structures manipulate the way we perceive the world, this insidious, constant push for “more” tends to make its way into our consciousness. Without realizing it, our mindsets become geared towards wanting more and not having enough.
Such omnipresent assumptions quickly turn into beliefs, and our beliefs breed behaviors that ultimately create our collective reality. In other words, we recreate the conditions of the world that we consume. Therefore, when we act from a mindset of scarcity, we create scarcity.
Scarcity fits our immense cognitive worlds into small, stifling boxes. It leads us to believe that there is simply not enough of anything in the world for us and, by extension, that we must compete for what little amount of resources there actually exists.
We are all playing a zero-sum game; when one player wins, the other player loses. The world is one big pie that somehow does not have enough pieces to go around.
When we operate from a place of scarcity, our minds become effectively oriented around that which we do not have, rather than noticing that which we do. Psychologists hold that scarcity thinking actually shapes the way the brain processes information and makes decisions.
We become so preoccupied with lack that we are constantly chasing what is out there, what is beyond us. This can take the form of feeling dissatisfied with our physical form, feeling constant pressure to live an extraordinary life, and/or feeling like we are never quite fulfilled by our present-day conditions.
Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, tells us that pervasive money culture, or the institution of consumerism, creates three core, societally-held, mythical beliefs:
I cannot help others until I have enough resources.
More is always better.
This is the way the world works, and I cannot change it.
However, a scarcity mindset is just that: a set of the mind’s creations. Though scarcity is often the unconscious mind’s default setting in a world of persistent pressures from systemic forces, we can choose to become conscious to a world of abundance.
In contrast to scarcity, abundance harnesses the power of sufficiency, noticing, and generosity to be With the world.
Abundance mindsets endow us with the perspective of embracing all the beauty in our world. No longer are we predisposed to tunnel vision-ing ourselves into anxiety-driven lack; we are motivated to appreciate the abundant nature of our reality. We become occupied with gratitude for the time we do have, the love we do experience, the spaces that do hold us.
Because our cognitive worlds become aligned with non-competitive sufficiency for all, our hearts open up to sharing and letting abundance flow. In other words, there is no need to hoard our resources out of fear and shame; we have the capacity to give knowing we will always have enough.
Our greatest teacher of abundance is ecology. In the springtime, once-dormant grasslands awaken with the sounds of pollinators who come together, multiply, and propagate new life in the form of flowers and fruit. A garden whose soil has been gifted an ideal balance of nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium will produce a bounty of vegetables enough to feed an entire village.
Forest trees work with underground fungal networks to share nutrient resources that assure ever-growing ecosystems. In short, the earth demonstrates how powerful and life-giving it is to relate to others from a place of abundance, generosity, and interdependence.
Abundance does not imply leaning into complacency and accepting our social-political conditions as is. As abundance-oriented humans, we believe that there are enough resources for everyone, and that we must create resilient networks of mutual aid and solidarity to address this reality. It is our responsibility to assure that every being lives abundantly with sufficient material resources.
Contemporary capitalist views of environmental sustainability hold that humans are inherently anti-nature. To mitigate climate change, it is thought, we must reduce our environmental impact and even sacrifice what we need to live a life of sufficiency.
Abundance-oriented sustainability, meanwhile, is about returning to the earth and actively investing in her future by restoring, regenerating, and renewing the abundant life she breeds.
As members of our greater ecosystems, we mobilize our abundant power to take direct environmental action instead of letting fear-based tactics convince us that reducing consumption is all we can do. We have all the time, power, and resources we need to take care of the earth in active, intentional ways.
All together, living as humans for abundance means building a limitless movement centered on endlessly nourishing the ecosystems and people that nourish us. We stand for responsible abundance that generates life, joy, and sharing with one another.
We commit to unlearning scarcity thinking so that our actions breed abundance for all.