I want to talk about collective abundance.
One of the criticisms people put forward for seeing abundance as a mindset, on an individual level, is that not everyone has the same opportunities in life. Some people say, “Hey, it’s easy for you. You had more opportunities growing up.”
And that may be true. As Dr Sherry Buffington, who was featured in The Abundance Code film, says: “Collective abundance precedes individual abundance”.
What does she mean by that?
Firstly, our collective abundance mindset influences our individual abundance opportunity set. In this way, abundance is something we do together. And, secondly, it’s a mindset that is both collective and individual in nature – the collective affects the individual, and vice versa.
Take women’s rights for example. One hundred years ago women couldn’t vote in most countries around the world, they were not being educated as much as boys, and there were only certain jobs that they were encouraged or allowed to do like being nurses, household helpers, nannies or governesses. Generally speaking, back then, even if they had jobs they were expected to give them up when they got married to become a wife and mother.
In that context, women did not have the same opportunities as men. Period. It’s still like that in some countries today.
So, that’s what Sherry means when she says: collective abundance precedes individual abundance. Our ability to take advantage of opportunities depends not only on ourselves, but on the collective opportunity set.
That’s not a reason to give up, though. Because abundance is also a mindset. Whether we’re talking about individual abundance or collective abundance, it’s a mindset. It can feel a bit unrealistic to say that everyone has the same chance or opportunity for abundance. It is easier for some. No doubt about it. But I also know that making the internal shift to abundant thinking, no matter what your situation, is never wasted.
Let’s come back to the example of women (and this is just an example… the example could equally be people of colour, ethnic minorities, people of non-hetero sexual orientations or non-cis gender identifications… and the list goes on).
Women had to fight to get the vote, and they had to fight hard. Some gave their lives. There were many in society who were vehemently and violently against it. And yet, as more and more women shifted their own mindset to say, “No! You will not hold back our right to freedom and inclusion!”, there came a tipping point in society. A collective change in consciousness. A shift.
These days, in most developed countries, few question whether women should have the right to vote. It seems obvious that they should. Few question whether women should be able to have careers in whatever field they choose, as well as families if they choose, and contribute to the collective decision-making in both business and society. The collective mindset has shifted. And it all started with a small group of women staying true to something they believed in.
That act of staying true to what you believe in is never wasted. Even if, from your limited perspective of the bubble of time in which you live, it can seem like the effort is futile, it isn’t. Everything you say and do when you are staying true to what you believe in has a ripple effect, whether you can see that ripple or not.
We are right now struggling under a collective delusion that is based on fear, competition, measurement and comparison. We’re constantly being told to be afraid. Our differences are highlighted and we’re encouraged to be suspicious and wary of ‘others’.
At the same time we’re bombarded with messages that say we’re somehow broken… that we need to improve, to strive, to be something other than what we are because what we are is somehow not good enough. We should be thinner or more educated or more entrepreneurial or better negotiators or… even… more empowered. Gasp.
Why? Because this fuels demand for the products that are designed to solve our ‘problems’. And meanwhile, in our fear-based approach to things, our problems multiply.
Conflicts. Wars. Bloodshed and fear.
And what does that lead to? The desire to escape, or to retreat into a bubble of unreality, because that sh*t is terrible! It’s horrific. So of course we seek some kind of distraction from it.
Obsessions. Consumerism. Narcissism. Addictions. A fixation on celebrity. Glorification of the fake.
And what’s causing all that?
Our mindset, a mindset that says, “Your problems are not my problems. We are not one. There’s me, and then there’s you… and we are in constant competition for scarce resources. If I’m going to win, you have to lose.”
What if that’s just not true? What if what we are is brothers and sisters? What if we could do so much more if we stopped fighting and worked together? What if the truth is: abundance breeds abundance, while lack breeds lack?
Who will start the collective consciousness tipping point that puts an end to all this fear, if not us? Who will believe in the power of our collective ingenuity, if not us? Who will believe that there is more than enough to go around if we truly work together, if not us? Who will recognise that it’s our mindset of ’otherness’ and separation that’s the real enemy, if not us?
There is no other enemy.
The great sage Ramana Maharshi was once asked, “How do we treat others?”, and he simply said, “There are no others.”
Now, you may ask: “how does this relate to my personal abundance?”
You can work on your own personal abundance. You can do the inner work to change your mindset and attract more wealth, love and opportunity into your life. Don’t do it because you’re broken, though. You’re not broken. You’re just under the delusion that we are not one – the delusion that you’re not okay and I’m not okay, and so we should both be afraid.
The work to wake up from that delusion is never wasted. Even when the ‘system’ of fear mongering is shouting ideas of otherness and separation in our faces, don’t give up. It’s easy to give up, but don’t.
Please don’t say, “I’m not going to do that inner work of abundance. I’m not going to try, because the collective I live in won’t allow me the opportunity to flourish.”
The only way that collective abundance gets chosen (collectively) is that enough people move into an abundant mindset so that the tipping point can happen. Your inner work will never be wasted.
Often, it will result in more personal abundance too. In fact, I’ve never seen it fail to bring greater abundance. But… even if it doesn’t… you can be sure that your own shift, your simple act of choosing of abundance in your own mindset, is adding in a positive way to the collective consciousness.
You’ll be living more abundantly and you’ll be demonstrating to others what it looks like, in terms of real actions in real life, to be a more abundant and less fearful person. You’ll help others shift by showing them your example. In this way you’ll help the collective consciousness to expand.
If you want that to happen, then the best thing you can do, is keep on doing your own inner abundance work. The very last sentence in The Abundance Code film was this: “YOU ARE ABUNDANCE.” It’s a profound statement, because the more you shift into that awareness, the more your world will change. And that change will ripple out and affect others.
Maybe it’s YOU? I mean: maybe you’ll be the one who brings the tipping point for the rest of us, simply by making the shift within yourself.
Wouldn’t that be amazing?
As always, let me know in the comments if this post helped you in any way.
To YOUR Abundance,
Julie Ann Cairns
(A version of this post first appeared in Living Now magazine: https://livingnow.com.au/collective-abundance-lets-do-together/ )