May 17, 2014
One way or another, most of us are beggars, feel good junkies, addicted to the world to make us happy…
“They are but beggars that can’t count their own worth.”
― with apologies to William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.
Thorough records are kept for poverty. For example, the US poverty level for 2014 was set at $23,850 (total yearly income) for a family of four. More than 16% of the population live below the poverty line,including almost 20% of American children.
However another epidemic is sweeping the nation: inner poverty. There is no way of gauging how serious this epidemic is, but according to some estimates, more than 90% of the population lives below the inner poverty line.
Inner poverty is a spiritual vacuum at the core of our being. Its symptoms are sense of emptiness, meaninglessness and lack of direction. It’s like our soul has gone AWOL.
How do we know if we are spiritually impoverished? Here are some indicators:
- Stinginess. Why are so many rich people so stingy? They feel poor.
- Schadenfreude. We derive some satisfaction or comfort from the misfortune of others.
- We desperately seek recognition to feel good. This encouragement may take the form of “likes,” followers,” “smiles,’ or hits. We have been programmed to look outside ourselves to feel good. We are like beggars in this respect. One young friend was despondent because he texted three girls about “hanging out” and none replied.
- Money makes us euphoric or sad. We measure our day in terms of how much money we made or lost. Another friend was burned up because he made presentations to potential clients but they were waffling. He had done work on spec for a client who wasn’t even answering his emails.
One way or another, most of us are beggars, feel good junkies, addicted to the world to make us happy.
As a result, we feel like beggars. How can we stop?
How to Stop Feeling Like a Beggar
Beggar behavior is habitual; habits are very difficult to change.
The key to not feeling like a beggar is to stop acting like one. Check your stocks just once a day instead of every five minutes. If you can’t do this, sell them all. Thoreau said, we are rich in the number of things we can let alone.
Give. People in beggar mode never give. Giving destroys that programming.
Mortify yourself to the world. In religious terms, this means you wean yourself off the world. You refuse to gain happiness from anything by God, i.e. your soul.
You become indifferent to praise or blame except for your own. It’s funny that we place some much value on other people’s opinions of us, and so little on our own. We make so much effort earning respect from others, and so little earning our own. Instead of looking to the world to make us feel good, we need to do the things that have this effect.
We have been programmed to deny our selves and conform to others. We need to reprogram ourselves, whether by constant prayer, meditation or by repeating affirmations. The mind is like a steering wheel. If we don’t take control of it, it will veer aimlessly or someone or something else will.
The key is subsuming mind to soul. Soul is Self. We need to be Self-centered. Self-controlled. Self-directed. Self-motivated. Self-sufficient.
Admittedly this is an outline, and I look to readers to help fill it in.