A Lack of Lack

I had the great good fortune last week to participate in a retreat with Brother David Steindl-Rast and other wonderful modern day spiritual teachers. In our early exploration of the topic of Gratefulness, Brother David wisely noted that one of the conditions which prevents us from experiencing Gratefulness today is the “lack of lack”. We have too much.

Our lives are filled with stuff – and not just an over abundance of material possessions, modern conveniences and unnecessary luxuries. We are also living lives so over extended, over scheduled and over taxed, that we have no space. No stillness. No silence.

From the material perspective we are like children on Christmas morning opening one present after another in rapid fire succession, never stopping to appreciate the one in the hand before tearing quickly into the next bigger, better, more entertaining gift. Or the next car, or house, or job, or relationship. All these modern possessions and conveniences – and even experiences – become distractions that seduce us into complacency, comfort and denial. We believe they provide us security. Something “out there” that will fill that empty space “in here”.

Even our spiritual lives are lived in a pursuit of more. We gobble up practices, experiences and teachings in order to “achieve” some spiritual realization. We seek clarity, insight, wisdom – – Enlightenment before breakfast! This is what Chogyam Trungpa aptly called, “Spiritual Materialism”. Our spiritual pathways become racetracks for the speedy collection of more spiritual goodies!

But Gratefulness (and probably all spiritual gifts we seek) naturally arise from the space created in silence and stillness. In Buddhism this space is called “emptiness”, but we are often misled into interpreting emptiness in the west as “empty”. But this emptiness, I am beginning to see, is full and expansive, like the sky or the ocean! From this open view, we see clearly there is no lack. This big sky contains the entire universe! From this spacious view, naturally, without effort, our hearts overflow with appreciation and a Great and Full Gratefulness!

How will you generate lack (or space) to experience Gratefulness?

Click on http://www.gratefulness.org/ to learn about Brother David’s “Practice of Grateful Living as a Global Ethic”.
And to explore the teachings of Chogyam Trungpa and the concept of Spiritual Materialism, visit http://www.shambhala.org/


One thought on “A Lack of Lack

  1. In a spiritual reality, nothing can be lost and therefore, nothing can be taken, but while we perceive this physical reality, the idea of losing when you give or gaining when you take, are inbred into the worlds thinking.”

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