The Story of Nothing and Everything

Again and again, as I sit to write this article, the story of the Buddha comes to me. I’ve resisted the impulse to write about this story for many days. I tell myself that I know nothing about Buddha or his connection to Abundance. But today, as I release my attachment to writing the “perfect” article, these words flow out of me.

Buddha was born a prince, but became disillusioned when he discovered that the riches and pomp that surrounded him were an elaborate ruse to hide the inevitable truth, that we age and we die. He decided to renounce all his possessions, titles, and land, and to leave the palace, his parents, wife and young son and to seek the truth and to see if there was a greater meaning to our lives. 

For years he meditated, ate little, slept little and neglected his body almost to the point of death. This still did not bring him the peace he desired. Eventually he learned to walk the middle path of non attachment. He was asked by a follower: “What have you gained in your search?”, and he replied, “I have gained nothing, but I have lost depression, anxiety, the fear of dying and the fear of living. 

The Buddha had mastered the material world.  And it is no coincidence that he was born, attained enlightenment and died during the month of May, when we feel the fullness of Spring and the abundance of the earth’s riches around us.  

I am not Buddha-like, I’m not even a Buddhist. 

But I resonate with being drawn to the material world and, at the same time, wanting nothing to do with it. To me the word Abundance is alive, especially the “dance” part of the word. I move back and forth between desiring possessions, money, and security and at the same time craving the peace that comes from having fewer possessions. 

As I write this, I realize that a part of me is caught in a paradox — possessions or no possessions. Possessions are the central force and focus; having or not having them seem to be the only available options. So, I can understand why Buddha’s idea of having possessions, but not assigning value to them was revolutionary.  

I was brought up in a middle class family, by parents who had struggled with food security and having their basic needs of life met. My parents and grandparents had survived losing every possession they had, literally. The fear of loss, of gain and losing it again were very much alive in my family psyche and it was “the air I breathed” growing up. It is no wonder that I dance with wanting; having what I want, losing what I want and not wanting to want what I want! I remember railing against my family’s fears and their seeming obsession with “not having enough”, wishing them to be different. 

In this moment I have deep compassion for my grandparents for their difficulties, for my parents who were traumatized, and for myself, as their collective challenges impacted me deeply. I feel compassion for the little girl in me who needed, love, understanding and connection, and thought that an abundance of books and clothes would make up for the needs that weren’t met.

Writing and acknowledging all of this brings me peace.

I wish for you, dear reader, an abundance of whatever it is that you want right now. I know that need is real and I also know that you are on a journey, like me, back to nothing and to everything. 

Holding Space in the World for more Self Compassion and Love.


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