Pathway 21 – Al Karim – Abundant Expression
“When you are guided to this pathway, take the opportunity to feel yourself as part of Allah’s continual, creative expression, which carves out new realities each instant through an abundance of forms.” The Sufi Book of Life, Neil Douglas-Klotz.
The first idea that I want to focus on is that you can create something from nothing. Many of us have, again and again sometimes. The pathways always mirror what is happening in the healing room and often we see someone come in who has lost everything and has the perception that they have nothing. From this “nothing” is how a future, a path and a direction is created. We have no choice but to create or co-create our lives and this is the crux of the pathway for me.
It is an understanding that new realities can be carved out, created, changed in a range of different ways from a space where there is apparently nothing. There is always a way towards what you are seeking because it is always seeking you. It’s the void, the lack, the absence of something that makes us pursue its creation and co-creation. It makes us understand the power of Creator and how this is expressed through our reality in each moment. Where it appears there is nothing left, given time something always comes through. It allows for your current circumstances to take on a new form and this is the abundant expression that I associate with this pathway. This ever changing form is abundant expression that leads to new realities.
When I reflect, my deepest spiritual awakenings have come from times in my life where I lost everything and had to start again from scratch. It goes to show you can start over financially, emotionally, physically on all levels from ground zero. You can build it up and lose it and still do the same again. This is abundance although it may not appear to be on the surface of it. It’s important then that we challenge what abundance means and the form it takes as well as how we express it in our daily lives.
This leads us to explore the nature of abundance in all its forms. From this, we can see that it isn’t something that we acquire. It is something that we already hold within us and that it can be expressed in a number of ways. It is through this abundance that everything is created or co-created. The “nothingness” is the abundance itself even though it appears in a material reality to be an emptiness or a void where nothing exists.
The book talks about this inner sense of abundance and relates it to this idea of wealth. It talks about wealth being regarded with suspicion because the self can easily get lost in the personal power and freedom that wealth seems to purchase. It suggests the remedy to be giving away what’s surplus to our requirements. I had to look at this more deeply while I explored this pathway.
This idea that we regard wealth with suspicion is an interesting one because often it’s this perception of wealth in an almost negative sense that prevents us from being abundant. Eg. All rich people happily step over others to get there and I don’t want to be like that. Yet also there is the idea that when we have wealth, we can be tested with it. Eg. If I’m not responsible for what I have, I will lose it.
If we feel that being wealthy is inherently wrong, we are reluctant to pursue it creating a block to this feeling of abundance yet at the same time, we all want that wealth because we also crave the power and freedom that comes with it. Essentially we are seeking the inner feeling of abundance itself, the feeling of being enough within not necessarily always the material reality. Although the material reality is of course appealing too!
There is a delicate balance to be struck here. The book talks about giving away what you do not need and this is one of the ways that we stay in equilibrium. I came at this as an empath and as someone who can relate to lack more than abundance given my journey and personal circumstances yet still there was plenty to learn in terms of addressing the feelings of both lack and abundance. And we have to look at both aspects to attain a fuller understanding of what this pathway teaches.
In a dualistic universe where we are taught it’s either one or the other, we can’t raise the question of abundance without also considering it’s opposite – Lack. There are many lessons to this pathway, one of the strongest being that where there is lack on the face of it, whether we choose to focus on the lack or the abundance is a choice that we ultimately make. I’ve certainly learnt that when things are taken away suddenly, they are always replaced with something better even if we can’t see it at the time. This relates to the previous pathway on completion where we are only seeing that particular part of the picture and seeing beyond can be really helpful to how we perceive abundance.
Let’s first take this feeling that there is not enough. This is only a reflection of our inner world. We can feel lack financially, in our relationships and in our work. The one thing all those things have in common is ourselves. The lack is feeling that you are lacking, that you are not enough and you feel this deep within. It’s reflected in your outer circumstances because that’s how the Universe works. I am not enough, I am not deserving or worthy.
Abundance takes a different form. It looks at what “is” rather than what “is not.” This acknowledgement begins to fill the void. We are trained to look towards the material rewards in life to reflect a measure of our abundance however we know that sometimes even the wealthiest of people are not necessarily the happiest. It isn’t anything to do with what you have. Rather it’s more a form of who you are and how that is expressed. It’s that feeling within that we’re seeking. The inner form of abundance and the more we focus on that, the more we see can see Creator within our reality.
In order to be abundant within and in order to be able to give of yourself, your time, your energy, your money, your love, freely and abundantly, we must feel that there is enough of it for ourselves before we can even begin to give any of it away.
Although sometimes, it’s the opposite and you feel like it’s all too much. The overwhelm that comes with abundance can be equally challenging to work with. We may feel when we gain a little that in comparison to the lack, it’s a lot so we give it away, and keep giving it away. This way we don’t hold the abundance and if we don’t hold it, we can’t build on it. Sometimes it is as soon as something good happens we want to share it and give it away. A lot of people do this especially if they have come from nothing.
It’s important to learn how to hold abundance and with this comes an ability to hold what you have received for yourself. I’m talking about how you hold it not how you share it or give it away. Are you able to keep things for yourself? Do you automatically feel that you have to share and give? It’s not just physical things I’m talking about here. We can extend this to receiving good news or achieving something special. How does it feel to keep it to yourself rather than sharing it with others? How does it feel to hold back on giving?
This is a difficult and challenging pathway and on a personal level it made me realise how quick I am to give things away in all respects. It made me realise that holding abundance is about practicing discernment in what you keep and what you give away. It’s going within to challenge what you are keeping for yourself and how much of it you can hold. It’s about knowing what full means for you so that when you do give, you’re not drained. It’s also about facing up to the shadow aspect of how it feels not to share and give everything away and dealing with the guilt that sometimes comes with it.
The pathway also talks about giving away and says that giving away means you’re filling up. We only have to think about how good it feels to give to understand the feeling of filling up that it creates. This feeling good is associated with abundance but it is also a trust in this feeling of there being enough. Giving from full feels different to giving from empty. It’s trial and error working out what full means to you and as you work this out, full can sometimes feel like selfish but it’s about pushing your own boundaries and comfort zones when it comes to yourself and what you hold.
As an empath, I found this pathway challenging because I’ve spent years learning how to feel enough, to feel worthy, to fill up and to not give on empty. On first glance, it felt like it was at odds with this. I stand by learning to cultivate and hold abundance as it’s necessary to ensure that I don’t feel drained and therefore resentful. Whilst living this pathway and meditating on it, I thought “hang on a minute…am I meant to be giving it all away?!” It isn’t as clear cut as that.
If there’s one thing that helped me whilst living this pathway it’s this story. There’s a saying from the teachings of the Prophet that says, “Tie your camel.”
This saying, as relayed by the scholar Al-Tirmidhi, is an ancient Arab phrase attributed to the prophet Mohammed who, when one day he saw a Bedouin leaving his camel without tethering it, questioned him as to why he was doing this. The Bedouin replied that he was placing his trust in Allah and had no need to tie the camel. The prophet Mohammed then replied, “Tie your camel first and then place your trust in Allah.”
This gives us a really strong indication of being responsible for ourselves and our own actions first and foremost. It takes us away from the passive whatever will be will be and into a more active responsibility for ourselves before we place our trust in Creator. This is as it should be if we are co-creating our reality. It’s important we make arrangements for our own provisions rather than leaving it all to chance or all up to the Universe. Whatever will be will be takes you out of the co-creation and therefore places you with very little responsibility for your own actions and therefore your own inner sense of abundance. If we go back to the feelings of personal power and freedom that we associated with abundance, then “whatever will be will be” becomes passive and leaves everything to chance. We need to tie our camels before we place our trust.
In terms of abundance, holding abundance and creating more of it in our lives, this pathway teaches us to look very closely at what we actually have and be responsible for how we use it. We have to look closely at what we have and how we use that for us to be able to discern what is kept and what is given away. We make our own arrangements for our own provision first before we can evaluate what is surplus that we can give away.
Ultimately, we are responsible for tying our camels. We are responsible for what we keep and what we give away. An inner sense of abundance comes from this inner audit that takes stock of everything we have. We do this in order to feel personal power, freedom and acknowledge that abundance is already within.
The first step is an acknowledgement of all the resources that we have at our disposal. This in itself helps us to overcome the feeling of lack. There is plenty that we have that we can be grateful for. On the surface, it appears we have nothing but once we do the stocktake, we realise that “nothing” is actually a whole lot from which to create more.
The second step is to look at how we are using what we have at our disposal in order to discern what we keep and what we give away. By looking at what we have, we can make arrangements for our own provision, we can meet our own needs and we can see what is surplus and we can choose where and how to give.
The third step is the giving itself. There are always to give and share that don’t involve making a big noise. Just as Creator works behind the scenes, so can we in the way that we give and share. There is no need to make it known that we are giving and actually in terms of abundance, this helps us hold it in a more self-assured way.
As long as we are in this cycle of acknowledgement, discernment and action, we are continuously filling and creating an inner sense of abundance.