Myth of Scarcity is one of the twelve pressure points of modern living which I explore in my in-progress work, To Do Your Work. Like all the pressure points, this one in particular is entwined with the other eleven at a level that, until we look, is buried deep and out of sight.
The Myth of Scarcity is built on the belief that personal autonomy is endangered. Therefore, there is only ever enough for the chosen few.
When personal capacity to defend is absent or compromised, survival requires finding protection from a dominant authority. A dominant authority can provide protection either through informational guidance, physical strength, or wealth. The status conveyed through these is traded to those who comply with the requirements of the authority and thus reinforce the elevated position of the authority. Through the fear of Power-Over, authoritarian status is used to diminish the safety of personal choice and autonomy.
This leaves personal agency both suspect and stripped of personal power.
While there is a correlation between expanding status and protected group size, status is primarily maintained by being perceived a limited in quantity and only available to the select few who follow the required rules.
This inability to protect self establishes or reinforces an experience of unworthiness, questions personal power, and seeks to limit personal agency. The reinforced belief is I am incapable of protecting myself. I have no choice.
In its starkest, most vulnerable form, this is scarcity: failure to protect self, failure to establish self-worth, failure to act independently. Incapacity equals unworthy human being, dependent, incapable, and insignificant. If the most prized commodity, self-worth, is impeached, then life is limited by circumstances now perceived as natural and immutable.
This leads to behavior which combats scarcity by creating a power-over system which doles out approval and protection only to a chosen few.
Scarcity also becomes a factor to define the good people and the bad people. Having more than others attributes worth and elevates status. Being associated with someone of higher position elevates personal status. To maintain higher position, Power-Over manipulates standards of behavior which extol those so elevated.
Linear causation is also employed to defend elevated positions and demean anyone seen as less than and outside the circle of the chosen few. The causation chain of If I do XYZ then I will get ABC is used to determine worth and admittance to an exclusive group. Failure to produce the reward of the specified If-Then is seen as personal failure and a sign of unworthiness to be a group member.
The uncertainty which must be navigated in this scenario reinforces the push to defend self and prove self-worth by following the If-Then. The logic of the causation chain may challenge personal choice or may attempt to replace personal truth. This reinforces self-denial both as a defense posture and the only perceived way to prove worth by successfully following the popular-in-the-moment, status-guaranteed causation chain.
To attain an elevated position, following the external pressure to conform is deemed necessary while denying inner truth. Personal choice becomes focused on complying with the perpetuated beliefs of Power-Over and broadcasted through Mass Consciousness. Self-denial embraces this bias as personal and entrenches Power-Over and the division of those selected versus those excluded.
In self-denial, it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to understand that self-worth is intrinsic. Whereas, in the presence of self-worth, the entire house of cards upon which the notions of scarcity are built loose influence and fall apart.
In the static, linear view of the world, if scarcity is eliminated, abundance and prosperity for all will appear. This creates a challenge to releasing the myth of scarcity because the presence of limited natural resources is used to propagate and reinforce belief in scarcity in all forms in all situations.
However, within the deeper dynamic view, scarcity is about accepting that limits are mostly mental and emotional illusions. To move gracefully through the incredible shifts and changes which all of humanity is currently experiencing, releasing the effects of scarcity as fundamental to social organization and claiming personal choice, opens the door to understand the presence and the impact of the boundlessness of infinite possibility which forms the foundation of life on Earth.
To release the impact of the myth of scarcity and the associated poverty mentality, after learning to accept that your worth is intrinsic, the path forward becomes clear:
Move from self-denial to self-acceptance to claim personal agency.
Let’s explore this possibility at deeper levels.
My Experience with Scarcity
Let me be painfully honest.
Everything in this book is very real to me. I have experienced and lived it all many times over. Because that’s what the journey is about. The journey to do your work. The journey to be real, present, and loving of self despite and because of all the reasons you might think or believe you are not worthy.
However, bringing myself to write on this topic is the most difficulty I’ve had writing in a long time. I have literally put this section off for at least three months as I prioritized everything in my life ahead of trying to describe my experiences of scarcity.
For me, the resistance comes because the concept of scarcity encompasses so much of my entire life’s journey. To write about scarcity means that I must take a broad view of all the ups and downs, all the challenges, the choices, and the roads not taken. Problematic not because I grew up in poverty – actually quite the contrary. My childhood was richly endowed in all ways possible.
Instead, lack showed up within my mentality, in my approach to life – and not just a poverty mentality focused on lack. No. The awareness of scarcity showed up in my thoughts of myself as both too much and not enough. I had what I needed and everything I should want so why did I feel empty when I obviously had more than enough especially compared to the rest of the world?
These conflicting, ambiguous feelings were almost impossible to clearly decipher until I grew into my late 20s because that’s when I began to be more self-present and less judgmental.
However, more confusion entered as folks told me that the way to get over a belief in lack was to practice manifesting through the Law of Attraction. If I will just focus on what I want, I was instructed, and see this moving toward me, the universe will deliver whatever I desire. When my want didn’t show up as envisioned, I was reprimanded for not releasing interfering beliefs and thoughts of which, until that point, I was painfully unaware.
In dismay that I was incapable of manifestation and that I once again was at fault, Bible stories told to me as a young child bubbled up. Stories which clearly outlined the proper behavior for good girls to ensure receipt of the rewards of heaven. Clearly, I had not listened well enough because if I was better informed and behaving properly, I would be rewarded with manifestation of my desires. I was hampered by not enough belief in the system’s possibilities and again reminded that I had interfering limitations for which I was sole author.
In looking around for answers I came across this camp: desires are not good, lose their attachments, and you will live a life of spiritual bliss. The answer is do not want anything. I can see some logic here. If I don’t have wants, then there is nothing to manifest and no beliefs other than desire which interfere. Later I realized that this is, in part, taking poverty mentality and holding it up as proof of spiritual worth. But at the time of tangling with these instructions, again any lack of spiritual bliss was directly related to how I attempted, and failed, to live my life as the proscribed good life. Those arms of yoga made me feel clumsy and inept. Thus, any deficiencies along the way became the repeated excuse for me not attaining the promised reward.
Then one day, after another crying jag fueled by the frustration of not getting life right and not being good enough, I turned my doubt away from myself and thought long and hard about that which was purported to be spiritual truth. Shacks, secrets, devoutly channeled divine laws held authority and truth I was permitted to attempt yet also became the carrots I could never hope to catch.
However, when I pushed away blame and fear, here’s what I saw: systems which elevate a certain few as idolized examples of success and in the elevation, and in the self-comparison, made sure that I found myself at fault and outside the circle of the elect. Time after time, I was set up for failure which was always translated as me lacking in value, ability, and worth.
As I thought more, I decided that some of the initial concepts I had learned were at least partially reasonable and useful. Instead my inner dissonance came from the manipulation or interpretation of the ideas within an organization.
For example, the problem with attachments is not that you have desires. The problem is holding so tightly that you can’t see or accept alternatives when they appear. Attachment to a desire as the only possible successful outcome confuses the experience of the journey as destination. Instead, a desire is what helps begin the journey. Not attaining a specific desire is not a clear indication of failure. The what and the why of the experience is best addressed within the context of your journey and your awareness of the moment.
Here’s another example: Law of Attraction can be perverted into a standard of judgment and a method to over-value some and devalue others. While there is truth in the statement like attracts like – there is also a simplicity which attempts to deflect a more comprehensive, complex understanding. I began to see that what would be most helpful is an approach which embraces the ambiguous and the ambivalent instead of reducing thought and experience to tiny soundbites used to demean and deny personal truth and human value.
In doing my work, I found the challenge was avoiding the allure of the easy road. Nonetheless, how many times did I scream, “God please just give me the answer?” How many times did I beat myself for failure for not getting that answer? How many times was the success of others shown to validate the rightness of the process and my failure to properly implement the rightness?
Instead, the deepest rewards held within the beauty and truth of my mind, body, heart, and soul came in what I think of as the deep road – the journey which helps you process the beautiful complexities of life’s inherently ambiguous richness. This awareness came to me when I realized that the answers I sought were within me. The epiphany: I am that which I seek. The answer doesn’t need to come from some outside source because the answer is within me.
If I truly want to do my work, I don’t release desire. Instead, I see that desire is multifaceted and can both hold me back as expectation and denial, while also propelling me forward through intention and choice.
If you are looking for simplified, easy answers from me, I will surely disappoint. In part because, the way I have learned to deal with scarcity and all its fabulous triggers is to transmute its essence within me in unexpected ways. I challenge myself to understand the complexities and to never dismiss the ambiguities. In the raw, real, hard bits is where I find the jewels which satisfy and harness lasting changes, resolution, and heart-felt personal satisfaction. I can feel the tough bits and how the jewels resolve and blend into my life, even though I know my views of exactly what my life will be are limited. If I get out of my way and open to the unexpected, what transpires is always more than I can envision.
Often, I think I know exactly what I want, and in the process of doing my work, I find that what I truly want is beyond my imagination, beyond my ability to perceive. I think of this opening to the unknown as the Up Choice.
Standing at a crossroads in life, typically the available options are considered to be left, right, or straight. However, the best option often comes outside of expectation and personal definition. Up. The direction you don’t usually consider or expect. Up represents the unknown, the edges of the unknowable, and the multidimensional path of infinite possibility.
Thus, the urging to release attachments is not a dispensing with desire – instead, the insight is not hanging on so tightly that you exclude that which you can’t conceive of in the moment of creating your desire.
The spiritual push of. Manifestation leaves a bad taste in my mouth and digs the pain of disappointment in my heart. When manifesting becomes a yard stick to measure the value of my spiritual nature, I rebel. For the measure is taken of what I may or may not produce for show and tell – for proof of my value.
The miracle in manifestation is not in the expectation that the universe will deliver exactly what is requested as some universal act of random kindness. Nope! The miracle is what happens inside of you when you let go of persistent self-judgment, the ill effects of external criticism, and your perceived failure within a system designed to elevate only a few. The miracle of manifestation is you and how you choose life. In doing your work, the miracle is in what you make real within your body, mind, heart, and soul.
In the release of holding tight in the fear of more failure comes the space and the peace of mind to accept self worthy as is. Not that you don’t have any learning left to do. Instead, you’ve come to the realization that to do your work is not a path of perfection to prove worth. Despite the ambiguity and the unknown, to do your work is a journey of self-acceptance which opens you to the deep powerful road of your deepest being and becoming. In the self-acceptance comes the inner freedom of independent action and free personal choice.
This path of self-acceptance brings you – and me – to the powerful perspective that scarcity is a myth perpetuated to instill a constant sense of failure and unworthiness.
Underlying the fear of scarcity is the possibility that the most precious commodity needed to do your work is what is and perceived to be forever scarce: self-worth.
At its foundation, the myth of scarcity wants to convince you that self-worth is limited to just a chosen few. No matter what you do, because you will never be able to prove your worth, you will live in scarcity, cut off from the possibilities of the rich, amazing world in which we all live.
Until I became comfortable with myself and began my work of self-acceptance, scarcity paralyzed me. I lived in anxiety, doubt, and fear – even in the face of having so much.
Like I have already mentioned, one day, I said enough! I will not buy these falsehoods any longer.
That’s the day I made my first steps into self-acceptance and the unexpected comfort of infinite possibility.
Plus – just so we are clear – that is not the day trouble in my life went away. But it is the day I changed my approach and response to the unexpected and the disappointing. It’s the day I saw scarcity as illusion for the first time.
Fallacy of Scarcity
Just for a moment, put aside awareness of the limited nature of some physical items. Whether it’s limited natural resources, a shortage of the latest kid’s toy, or empty shelves in the toilet paper aisle at the grocery store – right now when I talk about scarcity, I am not addressing physical insufficiencies.
Instead, I am referring to the mental, emotional and, spiritual nature of limits, missing elements, and deficient experiences. Scarcity as it is perceived and experienced in heart and mind.
This scarcity shows up in the feelings of I am not enough something – fill in the blank. The sense of failing to achieve. Or in the worry that failure is certain or imminent.
Scarcity within personal nature expresses in worry, anxiety, and fear that you are not enough, or too much, or unable to hit the mark, or incapable of ever taking aim.
At its most pernicious, the mental and emotional concern of scarcity pushes under the surface, just at the edges of awareness, that failure must be expected.
Personally, scarcity exists because of the belief that getting to completion successfully, perfectly, expertly is not possible. What is needed is not accessible or available to you
Those who hit the bull’s-eye are perceived to be few and far between. Up the demand in the equation either in terms of more physical prowess or deeper financial capacity, and the stakes rise even higher and the perception is that the potential for success becomes even more scarce.
Economically, scarcity is described as limited resources to meet limitless demand.
Emotionally and spiritually, the demand for personal worth is unlimited. Everyone wants to live a happy life filled with the elements which bring them happiness – though these elements will differ from person to person. Most folks struggle feeling satisfied with the outcomes and chalk the deficiencies to personal inability or limits of exclusion.
Many, including Abraham Maslow, have spoken of a hierarchy of needs which must be addressed in order to successfully navigate the challenges of life. Instead of a hierarchy, let’s consider human need within interconnected, energetic spheres of influence.
In relationship to self, each person has two primary spheres of reference: self and other. That is to say, you have your energetic system and you interact with the energetic systems of others.
To do your work, human behavior is explained in the search for meaning. Purpose, goal, aim, objective all flow from this drive to understand the why of life. In this search, asking why shifts the unknown to the known and creates context to explain meaning or purpose.
The search for meaning is first explored in the need for subsistence, security, and survival. This isn’t just about adequate food and shelter, but also about the enjoyment which comes when there is a sense of peace and calm within the physical conditions of life.
At the same time, human need seeks to create, contribute, and connect with self and other. The initial response of the soul in its first awareness of All That Is is a desire to participate, to join, to enter into exchange. Expressed within the manifestation of human form, the search for meaning comes in the experience of life and in the exchange with and between self and other.
The nature of the exchange within self and with other receive influence from two opposing spheres of experience and expression: the sphere of disconnection or the sphere of transcendence.
The sphere of disconnection operates outside of personal agency and does not usually enhance exchange because under its influence, self attempts to elevate self by either reacting within aggrandizement or insignificance.
Blown up, full of the inflexibility and judgment of ego, and driven by the vanity of power-over conviction, the aggrandized self will demand, judge, and seek to elevate self above others. This behavior is motivated by the need that elevation over other will secure survival.
Believes unworthy and that personal agency is best exercised in favor of authority so place within the group of the chosen is secured.
Disconnection can also show up in insignificance. In this choice, behavior is guided by external beliefs of what is good, proper, and self-protective. Insignificance seeks to contribute meek behavior in support of power-over authority. In blinded reaction, insignificance is a reflection of the self’s belief that the self is without worth unless validated by authority.
Within disconnection, the self is driven by the EBFJs of human life. Expectation, blame, fear, and judgment tend to yield negative experience which reinforces the futility of positive self-considered response. Blindness to alternative uplifting possibility is either self-imposed or accepted in compliance and as standard behavior.
Oddly, within disconnection, connection is desired but only with those deemed to be part of your group or part of the group you desire to join.
In contrast, the sphere of transcendence elevates awareness beyond reaction and harsh judgment into open acceptance and a fierceness which support patience, attention, and compassion for self and others.
Here response enables self to find paths to rise above the blind ego of disconnection and the meanness which comes from elevating self above others because they are different are perceived to be less than.
With transcendence, self doesn’t worry about gaining power. Self is focusing the search for meaning toward the ancient prophecy of Know Thyself and doing so within the peace that comes from sharing connection with others.
Notice the difference in these two spheres is behavior.
Within disconnection, is reaction without thought based on the belief that free choice is suspect. Within disconnection human interaction is more likely to come through shared blame, shame, and rejection of those perceived to be different.
Within transcendence, free personal choice is highly respected and supported, and guided by thoughtful response – and it is this response which supports the arising energy of the search for meaning. Rather than the reaction which depresses and delays the ability to freely protect and create, to live and contribute, to find connection and love. Within transcendence, exchange comes in the appreciation and sharing of differences.
The motion toward disconnection is fueled by the belief that opportunity is scarce and access limited to those who comply to the requirements of authority and status.
Whereas the motion toward transcendence is powered by the belief that access is open to all and the personal agency motivates and drives human interaction between self and other.
What, if anything is, scarce?
Awareness can be perceived as existing across a continuum. At one end is everything known, everything consciously available within awareness in this moment. At the other end is the unknowable – that which cannot be understood within current awareness. Between the two ends is the unknown – that which can be known but is not known in this moment.
Experience is how the unknown moves into the known. Yesterday something was learned which expanded capacity today. Thus, what is known today is more than what was known yesterday. Relative to the unknown and unknowable, there is a limit to what is known now.
Because of this nature of existence, from moment to moment, the known, the unknown, and unknowable in this moment are always expanding.
The key: the possibility of awareness is of unlimited supply. What an individual knows in any moment will be finite, while the possibility of what can be known in any moment is unlimited and always expanding. Unlimited awareness reflects the essential nature of our world which is beyond limitation, restriction, and boundary. Individual knowing and awareness is unlimited and capable of expansion through experience and learning.
Limitation physically, unlimited mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
However, the human experience of perceived scarcity has occupied awareness and pushed at every sense of personal safety and security.
A product of Power-Over and an expression of Mass Consciousness as Blind Production, scarcity is a belief which governs all human relationship. Political, social, cultural, and religious domination has perpetuated Power-Over by maintaining the myth of scarcity. Working hand-in-hand within the paralyzing effects of fear and insecurity, scarcity is the choice to explain challenge, exclusion, and failure.
Scarcity develops from the awareness within Blind Production and Mass Consciousness that safety is scarce, abundance absent, and death eminent. Essentially scarcity is limit, a lack of supply, and inability to obtain fulfillment.
However, as the ever-increasing awareness of known, unknown, and unknowable demonstrates, scarcity is not the foundation of human existence.
Instead, scarcity at best is a myth and worse a lie used to support Power-Over and propagate more fear.
What happens in rejecting scarcity as a necessity? Instead think of shifting perspective to this awareness:
Opportunity is available in any moment.
Yes, in the moment, all manner of scarce items can be named. However, this is not a discussion of specifics – this is a discussion of overall perception.
The need for control and certainty, which are byproducts of both Blind Production and Power-Over, exist more freely within scarce resource. The authoritarian ego wants the control implied by having a hold on limited supply. Thus, the benefit of the perception of scarcity as persistent life condition benefits the few and not the many.
This control interferes with the natural ebb and flow of abundance by trying to direct attention to only that which will be perceived to be limited – but only because of a scarce and limited declaration.
The importance of availability in any moment points to a new perspective:
In general, supply is related to moral value.
And is, thus, a matter of perspective and organization.
As the world shifts away from Power-Over, Power-With steps forward to usher a new awareness of how supply is falsely thwarted by control.
Feel within yourself for your awareness. Observe how what you know now is greatly expanded from last month, last year, or five years ago.
ALL shares common source with your awareness.
There is but one limit: the one installed by false belief. The myth of scarcity uses any absence, any shortage as proof of scarcity, as reason to deny self.
Instead, realize this misperception is about recognizing that the opposite of scarcity is not everyone gets everything all the time.
Releasing the reliance on scarcity as a manipulation tool opens the door for equals to organize a process which does not limit artificially but organizes access within the balance and harmony of ALL. Open to possibility and claiming inherent worth creates the foundation to acknowledge the beauty and power of inner connection and how acknowledging this connection makes way to feel outward connection without fear or the need to defend and protect.
Daily Life and the Myth of Scarcity
The fear of scarcity has given rise to the judgment on the lack of abundance.
If you’re not living in abundance, or so the belief goes, then somewhere you have failed either to accept abundance or create it or believe it.
Catherine appeared with a huge weight of judgment hanging from her as if she wore huge chains all ending in massive anchors. All of this judgment she hoisted on herself because she believed that her inability to have an abundant life was directly related to her self-worth.
Not quite a millionaire, Catherine perceived herself a failure spiritually because she was afraid.
She believed that if she was of value, then she would be able to do all things to let go of desires and attachments, be successful in a daily meditation practice, have time for all of her friends, her volunteer efforts, and her family including three children under the age of 12.
In other words, the key to living within the perfection of a fully spiritual life was being able to successfully manage everything perfectly. Catherine was lacking spiritual abundance because of own inner failure as demonstrated by all the things falling by the way side of her life.
The lack of attaining perfect spiritual abundance had her doubting everything and held her in a place where all her actions, reactions, and interactions were tinged with the fear of not enough, missing out, and lack on a fundamental level.
She believed the source of scarcity was her and her inability to be within the perfection of perceived spiritual action and belief.
Here’s the question which changed Catherine’s life:
How is the best of me connected with ALL?
Turning away from the repressive beliefs of perfected spiritual action proves worth, Catherine was able to connect with her inner awareness of her connection with ALL.
No longer living in constant punishment, Catherine saw her heart, felt her being, and joined self-awareness with the inherit abundance of ALL.
Not because, now magically everything she thought she wanted appeared like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow just for her. Instead, she was able to let go of judgment, of push, of pull all manipulated by outside demands for perfected value.
In the peace of release, Catherine found herself and found that nothing was missing, nothing could be withheld unless she gave herself up.
The belief of perfection on a spiritual level – on any level – was simply a myth.
And myth which no longer held Power-Over her – no longer could convince her of false belief.
Catherine connected with the depth of her, and truthfully felt the abundance of connection with in and between her and ALL.
Life lost fear as a motivator.
Life claimed connection so that personal truth could be trusted as a beacon within the inherent abundance of life.
Within the connection, scarcity had no basis to continue. Instead, trust supported motion forward, self-judgment melted, and her heart led within the steadiness that abundance is the basis of ascended living.
The awareness of limitation forms the foundation for self-denial. Self-denial perpetuates the belief that perfection and worth are impossible, and that self-punishment is necessary.
Scarcity paradoxically increases blindness to the validity of self, to the abundance of self-worth. Scarcity expands within the denigration of all.
Scarcity also manipulates the rational thought process by offering up examples of limited resources in mindless acceptance of this purported rationality. Self is caught in denial.
Scarcity denies self-worth, challenges self -choice, and diminishes self-truth. However, the release of scarcity has already begun within the work of releasing Blind Production, Mass Consciousness, and Power-Over. Belief in self-worth, acceptance of self-truth, and the path of self-choice are all necessary components in the release of scarcity as a limiting belief.
In self-presence, follow awareness of connection to people, to places to experiences. Think of past connection, good, bad, or indifferent. Think of what connection has brought to your life. Also consider that self-denial is the basis for the search for perfection. A lack of perfection invalidates self-worth, and, in return, reinforces the need for self-denial.
In a world distorted by the need to prove worth, scarcity becomes excuse and explanation, and self-denial becomes path to possibly attaining perfection.
Are you without flaws? The search for self-worth perpetuates fragmentation within self. Little bits of self are evaluated and found wanting. If only this or that was better perfected. Disconnection grows as does disappointment in self. This is a nasty feedback loop, which is lost in the misconception of scarcity.
Connection is not scarce. Connection is not just for the perfected. Connection is not a reward only for the spiritually gifted.
For truly what is a flaw or an imperfection or a less than bit. Within self-denial, flaw is failure. Flaw is a signal of irretrievable worth. Or, at least what all that outside noise wants you to believe. Instead, flaw is opportunity to learn, to grow, to find balance. Flaws aren’t signs of that which can’t be changed. Flaws are indicators of where growth and new understanding can come in this moment.
Flaws stand at the threshold between the known. and the unknown and unknowable. Flaws point to the possibility of connection within and without. Flaws point to the abundance inherent within connection.
I have spent much of my life in self-judgment and self-denial because early on I absorbed beliefs that I was not good enough, pretty enough or smart enough.
To learn more about the concepts within To Do Your Work, begin with this article: The Spiritual Practice of Personal Power.