Abundance and lack

BuddhaI’ve been thinking a lot lately about the hunger and suffering in this world of true abundance. We have, in this country, an obesity epidemic. In essence, people consume more calories than they burn off. I doubt anyone would argue, but if you don’t believe me, spend a few minutes in any Wal Mart and count the bloated bellies.

Meanwhile, others starve. The homeless, the poor, the forgotten millions in third-world countries. Clearly, there is enough food to go around. It’s just that not everyone gets to have it. Our country is built on personal responsibility. You want food, work for it. And I wouldn’t argue that. But there’s also an apparent selfishness seeing a portly person strut by a homeless man literally starving to death in the street.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution for you. Wealth and abundance helps you set up your family for future success. Earning money is good for your kids’ college funds. Driving a safe car is probably a good idea. Who could argue buying a comfortable house so your family won’t have to worry about having heat in the winter?

Still, there’s setting yourself up for success and then there’s excess. I’m not a religious person by any stretch, but I am reminded of this quote from the Bible: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

I’ve also been thumbing through the Bhagavad Gita lately and there are similar themes. “Work done with selfish motives is inferior by far to selfless service… Those who seek to enjoy the fruits of their work are, in reality, unhappy.”

Something the Bhagavad Gita advises, which I find interesting, is to give only to the deserving. Basically, do not take more than you need, but do not give the excess away frivolously. Hold on to that excess until you find someone who needs and deserves it. I’m not saying I follow this advice (yet), but the idea is admirable.

What to do next? Where do we go from here? How can we help the people who need and deserve it, while hopefully spreading the idea of selflessness?

One comment

  1. Pingback: What happens to homeless people in small towns? | The Churning

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