Posts Tagged ‘consciousness’

Poverty consciousness

April 1, 2010

If you want to end poverty, you need to transcend the consciousness that creates poverty, the one that says: there is not enough for everyone or the one that says “I must have more than my fair share” as well as the one that says “I must have less than my fair share.”

Poverty consciousness plays on both sides of those who have enough and those who do not.

 A guy named Abraham Maslow created what he called the “Hierarchy of Needs.” At the bottom are biological needs like oxygen, food, and water. These are essential needs that must be fulfilled because without them, all of the other needs are irrelevant.

The next level consists of safety needs such as shelter and security. I think this is where a lot of people get stuck and begin the poverty consciousness. One might realize that wealth (money) can buy safety to a large extent. Others discover how they can survive in their limited world and choose to remain there because that is what they know and moving outside of that world threatens their safety needs. The push back from those who need wealth to feel safe probably starts here – they begin developing a consciousness that says “if I share my wealth with the others, I will have less and, thus, I will be less safe.” When someone with poverty consciousness tries to move outside of their world, they encounter this push back which feels threatening and often times is threatening. They retreat back to where they feel they belong.

The need for belonging, along with love and affection, is Maslow’s next level. Humans have the need to be with other people. While many people enjoy being alone, very few would want to feel lonely. We require connection. We want to love others and be loved. Once we have this love and feelings of belonging in our lives, we want to protect it. We want to keep it. These feelings can further isolate us within our poverty consciousness. As we begin to acquire wealth or remain in poverty, we draw to us and are drawn to those of the same status. When that boundary is threatened, we hug our status even tighter.

The need for esteem emerges from our need to be loved and accepted. We enjoy being respected by others. We require a sense of our own value and often base that value upon how others treat us. If we are where we and others feel that we belong, and there is the reinforcement of love and acceptance, we tend to stay there. Again, leaving that space, pushing that boundary aside, threatens everything we have come to know and rely upon.

Once all of these needs are met, Maslow says we are able to realize our need for self-actualization. Maslow describes it as discovering what a person was born to be, what he or she was born to do in the world. Sometimes, people make the mistake of believing that one must be wealthy or at least have enough money to relax to be able to undertake the journey of self-actualization. But even people who are in poverty who have had these needs met can take this journey. There are many who have.

People miss their chance for self-actualization because we, as a group, have not helped them meet their basic needs. We cannot impose fairness and equality on people. Fairness and equality have to come from within and we must come to agreement with each other as to exactly what defines fairness and equality. But I wonder what would happen to the world if we did level the playing field and worked to provide each person in the world with food, shelter, love, acceptance, and belonging.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass


Earth consciousness

March 31, 2010

If you want to help the earth, you need to develop an earth consciousness.

The Gaia hypothesis holds the belief that the earth is a living, breathing creature. Designed to support a diverse population of other living creatures, including humans, the earth can cleanse itself, feed itself, nurture itself, and protect itself. It also provides those same life-giving attributes to all that live here. To develop an earth consciousness, you need only adopt the role of nurturer and understand that if you fail to provide, those who are dependent upon you will fail to survive.

And there is no back-up earth to help out.

You have to construct flawless systems that are self-regulating.

You have to adjust and recalibrate those systems based upon the demands of an ever-growing population of creatures.

You don’t get to sleep. Only parts of you get to go dormant for 3 to 4 months out of the year.

You depend upon the creatures to willingly give back what they no longer need so you can recycle and use those resources again.

You have to be ready for them to give you back materials that have been so distorted you barely recognize what they were in their original form.

And, when those who depend upon you take so much that you have an insufficient supply to use for your needs, there is not much you can do about it.

Except, perhaps, pop an earthquake or two.

Send around a few hurricanes, cyclones, and tornadoes.

Rain endlessly so that rivers burst from their boundaries.

Just to let the creatures know that you will eventually reclaim it all, including them.

That is the way of things.

I believe we (the universal consciousness that we all are) designed the earth to be just as it is to help us learn, become more, and transcend our fear of being so temporarily human. Nothing we do here lasts forever except that which we learn and become.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

Transcending consciousness

March 30, 2010

In Albert Einstein’s quote “You cannot solve a problem from the same level of consciousness that created it,” note that he does not define the level of consciousness. The implication is that the level does not have to be higher or lower, just different. Some people might believe that they have to develop a “higher” consciousness to solve their problem, but I believe that one has only to transcend the level of consciousness that he or she was in when the problem was created.

Transcendence can mean to rise above something, but it also means to go beyond the limits. I have to start with self-awareness to begin my transcendence journeys. How am I limiting myself? Where am I at right now with the problem at hand? Am I still stuck in the same place emotionally, mentally, and spiritually as when the problem first appeared? Just because I am older, have more experience, and grown in other areas does not mean that I have transcended the consciousness that perpetuates the problem or situation. If I want to help myself, I need to develop a “me” consciousness, and it is not the “me” who created the problem in the first place. The “me” who needs to respond to my problems is the person who I am becoming.                                       

This is where purposeful thinking shows how creative and wonderful the mind can be. I ask myself the question: how many ways can I think differently about the situation? And I watch as my mind grasps this new challenge, analyzes it, and starts delivering options. I judge the options based on how they make me feel and the response of my eternal presence. From the various viewpoints my mind delivers, I can see the problem differently, and often realize solutions I had not thought of before. Sometimes, the solution is to do nothing because by taking a different viewpoint – thinking differently about the situation – the “problem” changes and is no longer a problem. When a solution requires action on my part, I ask: Is the solution good for everyone? If not, who does it harm? Is it the right solution?

 And the solution that I go with is the solution I can live with.

In his book, Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn writes: “There is an art to facing difficulties in ways that lead to effective solutions and to inner peace and harmony. When we are able to mobilize our inner resources to face our problems artfully, we can orient ourselves to use the pressure of the problem to propel us through it, like sailor using the wind to propel a boat.”

 ©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

Problem solving

March 27, 2010

“You cannot solve a problem from the same level of consciousness that created it.” ~Albert Einstein~
While I thought I was leaving a friend some words of wisdom and support on her blog, I read this quote. As it turns out, she was giving me words of wisdom. Ever since then, any time I have approached a situation in my life that has caused me any vexation at all, I have stopped and realized that I need to transcend whatever consciousness I was(am?) when I first entered the relationship with that situation before I can resolve it, and bing! suddenly I am in this balanced place . . . a place of sort of starting over, but with a whole lot more insight about myself.

In trying to keep things the same, we create stagnation and recreate the problem over and over and over. Transcendence requires change and when we change, we can see more, live more, and understand more.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass