Living Simple in Abundance

Lakshmi is the Goddess of abundance, good fortune and fertility. She also represents worldly and spiritual success, beauty, love, harmony and kindness. Upon her blessing you will be filled with her own qualities such as gratitude, forgiveness, generosity and healing. She is Vishnu’s wife and their marriage symbolizes the coming together of the masculine and feminine energy. Lakshmi’s energy is nourishing and cooling which balances the fiery energy of Kali and the blazing energy of Durga, all Shakti Goddesses.  Lakshmi is called upon for harmony in relationships, self-esteem issues, fertility issues and/or if you are struggling with a sense of lack in any area of your life. “Above all, she is inviting you to stop looking at the surface of life to see your beauty and success. She cries out to you to stop comparing yourself to others in a negative way, instead turn inside and connect with the magic and beauty already present.” Inspiring and clear words about Lakshmi from yoga teacher Sianna Sherman. She is the Goddess to encourage you to be grateful every day, especially for those ‘normal’ aspects and material in your life that we often take for granted: the house you are able to live in, the food you put in your body every day, the sun you feel on your skin, the clothes your wear, your ability to sense, feel, see, hear and smell, your physical body and all its abilities etc.

You could call upon Lakshmi for more worldly success in terms of money, fame and outward beauty. Though this can easily turn into a so called ‘shadow’ side of Lakshmi which can take form in attachments to material goods, corruption, greed, consumerism, enormous difference between the rich and poor. One of Lakshmi’s lessons is that what we really crave is not more stuff, but the inner experience of abundance and beauty. The sense of sufficiency or satisfaction is a key ingredient for happiness and can be seen as a primal Lakshmi feeling state or the felt sense of having enough. All Shakti Goddesses are an aspect of our life force or prana. Therefore the sense of sufficiency of abundance and beauty in our lives is already within us, it is ‘only’ a matter of connecting with this magical feeling. Lakshmi is inviting you to simply being present and putting our best and most authentic effort in whatever we do. (Source ‘Awakening Shakti, the transformative power of the Goddesses of Yoga’ by Sally Kempton).

This doesn’t mean we all have to turn into minimalists and live from the sun. Lakshmi reminds me of the niyama (observances within the yoga philosopy) santosha or contentment. One of my teachers once explained santosha as ‘living simple so that other people can live simple lives too.’  For me this is a beautiful yogic way of living, taking and having enough for you to fulfil your needs, so there is enough left for others to do the same. This is such a key and important message if we think of the climate crisis. At the moment I am reading a Dutch book about our earth and climate (‘Hoe gaan we dit uitleggen, onze toekomst op een steeds warmere aarde’, Jelmer Mommers) which talks a lot about our CO2 emissions and states that the 1% richest people on our planet are producing the same amount of CO2 emissions as the poorest 50%!! I hope this shocks you as much as it did me! For me this is a reminder that taking much more than you need is damaging your surroundings, all living beings, our planet AND I believe it doesn’t create any more internal abundance. Now more than ever it is the time to wake up and realize what your priorities are in life. Do we all need two cars, a big house and garden, holidays far away from home, the latest phones and ipads and new clothes and furniture according to the latest trends?

I have realized more and more what makes me connect with the primal Lakshmi feeling state of inner sufficiency: for me that is having the freedom to step on my pushbike and go into nature with my beautiful boys, being able to practice yoga and meditate, to have time to prepare healthy yummy food, to have time to bring my boys to school and put them to bed, to be able to spend quality time with my family and friends, to move my body every day and being able to have some time to myself to write this piece! At times I compare myself to college friends; most of them have well earning and well respected jobs. I have received a Master’s degree in International Public Health, though I have never had a well earning or well respected job! Though, I am happy to say that I am content and joyful with my life. I can’t and don’t want to join in the rat race of life and career that I see happening around me some times, also in the yoga world. What are we striving for? What are we trying to gain? Lately I have experienced that turning inward in form of meditation, pranayama, listening to a beautiful song or just sitting can fill my heart with contentment. I turn inward and connect with the abundance already there. What makes your heart sing?

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The Whangarei Falls, where the water flows abundantly

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