When the California lottery began in 1985, it conjured up visions of instant richness for many, myself being one of the many. Naively I would purchase a ticket at the local 7/11 and then wait for the good news. While waiting the few days before winners were announced, I would spend a good bit of time imagining how I would spend my millions. A fully paid for new house, car, etc., but that still left huge amounts to be spent. (At the time saving was not a priority!) As I began to plan how I would spend the money, I realized how truly delightful it was to imagine my sister's face when I gave her a bundle. Then I remembered a friend who was in trouble financially, and with pleasure knew I could resolve that aspect of her problems. The list began to grow as I added favorite organizations, charities, movements, individuals I admired but didn't know personally, and on and on.
Each Friday I would call the lottery message line and discover I had not won. As my world of illusion dissipated, my thoughts would go back to what I needed financially to get by, how I would get it, how much work it would take, and so on until my next lottery ticket purchase. Then the fantasies would begin again, and I would be in a kind of ecstatic bliss in the experience of having enough not only to not worry but also enough to give wherever and to whomever I felt like giving.
After a certain number of these repeating cycles I woke up. First, that the odds of my winning the lottery were absurdly small and that by counting on something so unlikely was wasting my time and energy that could be used more productively. More importantly, however, I realized that I was counting on an excess of money to give me the means to be as generous as I could imagine. I realized that the periods of fantasy of giving away what I had filled me with a wonderful joy. When I discovered that I didn't have the funds promised by lottery dreams, I saw that the lottery dream was really only a pointer to the joy of giving. I recognized that waiting to have something to give (money) was falsely keeping me from giving what I had. It was a true epiphany!
That realization changed my entire outlook. In an instant I went from what is called "scarcity consciousness" to bounty. I didn't have any more money, but I was rich! I realized that however I judged the amount of money I did have, I had enough to give some away. I saw I could give my attention, I could give my support, I could give my best wishes, I could give my good will, and I could give love. And I saw that unlike my fantasy lottery take, the more I gave the more I got back!
I saw I didn't have to wait for some future "good luck" to live a fulfilled life. I saw that I could freely tell the truth about what I wanted in my life and what I didn't want. I didn't have to wait to own a certain amount of material goods to be responsible for my own generosity or my own happiness.
Did you read this blog hoping it would tell you how to win the lottery?
It did! You have won!
You can collect your winnings by simply stopping the trail of thoughts that starts with "If only I had..."and notice, "What do I have". When you stop trying to get or even attract "more," you can realize what you have that can be freely given away. When you give freely, which is very different from giving because you should, how does it feel? Do you have less or more?
What do you have to give?
Does anything really stop you?
Gangaji will hold her next public meeting in Ashland, Oregon, August 16th. She will be in Boston for a public meeting September 12th, and in Woodstock for a public meeting September 14. She will hold a seven day retreat at Garrison Institute, NY, beginning September 16th. Read more about Gangaji's events and catalog of books and videos online.