Perceptions Of Lack

The Perception of Lack

By Katrina Taylor

Jesse Jackson, Jr. did not grow up poor. He grew up during a previous transformative era, surrounded by dignitaries & politicians. Though he tasted the bitterness of lowly beginnings, he grew up exposed to external opulence. When given the chance to make his mark in the world, he completely lost his mind and blew it. Big time.

I’ve been there. Well, not there, actually — I was never so inclined towards fur-lined capes & famous peoples’ hats — but I do understand what happens when one has carried a sense of lack and suddenly finds themselves with access to power, even in small amounts. I was a teenager, given my own credit card for the first time. I went mad with power at the mall … for a day, since that’s how long it took for my father to rescind his premature choice and snatch the card back from my irresponsible hands.

Ok, they’re not quite the same thing but the point is external conditions have little to do with this visceral sense of not having (or being) enough. As noted with Mr. Jackson and many others who have been given the best of everything and still find themselves facing criminal charges for what most would perceive as unnecessary and ridiculous behavior, lack stems from within and cannot be satisfied by any external thing.

Whatever happens to a person when they go off on such delirious emotional sprees such as Jesse Jackson, Jr. did, a decision that cost him any chance in the future to hold public office and will likely send him to jail, could only stem from a deep sense that one is unable to legitimately achieve their goals. It’s more than just a desire for stuff. That’s just a symptom of the core issue that drives such reckless behavior.

And it’s not that one caught up in the throes of such abandon are unaware that what they’re doing is wrong. It’s just that the wrongness of it is completely lost in the high of satisfying, however momentarily, the perpetual background noise of self-loathing. That dark place that constantly nags at the edges of  knowing. The rush is worth the price or at least seems so at the time though I’m sure Jesse wishes he had done things differently now.

Lack cannot sustain us and no matter how many hoops we jump through to fill the emptiness inside, until we face the demons hiding in our psyches, we will suffer. And so will those we say we love who support us.

We’ve all heard stories of people who live in impoverished conditions yet their contentment with life is undeniable. These folks have no desire for the yachts or mansions, status means nothing to them when engaging with another human being. They have a sense of aliveness, a love for life that can’t be bought or sold. The happiness that comes from a self-aware heart and a sense of connection to the world around you.

Forbes did a study of the “happiest people in the world” and found that there was little difference in percentages of contentment between the richest and most affluent and the average person living in the slums of Calcutta.

Since lack exists nowhere in the universe except in the human mind — indeed, the law of the universe is overabundance — the suffering we see in the world due to this fabricated condition is one completely in our power to eradicate. It starts, as with anything else, by taking a good look within and dumping what doesn’t work for you, no matter how long you’ve held onto it.

I don’t mean to pick on Jesse Jackson, Jr. He is only one in a million who happened to get caught. Politicians are notorious for scandalous behavior, a greed that comes from a severe sense of lack, in my view. It’s a culture of scandal and it takes a secure, self-aware individual to navigate through the quagmire and remain ethically in tact. It’s not that different from life and the same kinds of emotions that drive politicians, drives the average person to do similar self-destructive things.

But I do use him as an example in this instance since it’s such a glaring display of an overwhelming sense of lack. And not that I feel there’s anything wrong with living a comfortable life. It’s hard to help people when you’re cash-strapped.  But when the possessor becomes possessed by the possessions, then it’s a problem. I think it’s worthy of a good, hard look in today’s “Cribs life” mentality. The never-ending, insatiable quest for more stuff is, not only not satisfying a deeper need, but it’s undermining our basic humanity, detaching us from the things that really matter. The things that give life meaning like compassion, joy, sharing, and love. You get laughed at for saying things like that in the face of a status-driven society but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The results of this experiment are clear. This urge to possess things in order to feel better has taken us away from what we truly want. The world now suffers a preponderance of “third-world” conditions that cover the globe where they didn’t exist before, global conflicts, wars, land-grabs, greedy banksters controlling the well-being of the people, the destruction of the only planet we have for profit, all within a few hundred years — has proven to be neither a working nor sustainable model. The ravenous pursuit of material has left us bankrupt, bereft of heart and sick with the burden of self-imposed consequences. The dark spectre of lack looms over a world that exists in an infinite, bountiful universe.

The big secret to remedy this is, like most big secrets, very simple. Many of us get caught up in its simplicity, overwhelmed by the flashy & shiny things distracting us from the only thing that can bring true satisfaction. A light heart, free from the burdens of unkept promises, missed opportunities & unfulfilled dreams, is the key that releases us from suffering. Lack comes when we surrender our own knowing in favor of another’s and deny the still small voice within.

No two paths are the same but many do lead to the top of the mountain. Each time we ignore the voice inside that whispers ever-so-quietly, guiding us towards our personal bliss, a little piece of our real self dies, deprived of the personal integrity that always knows what we’re actually about no matter outward appearances. Some of the most miserable people look really good, galavanting about in fashion and with flare. But no matter where you go, there you are and you can’t run away from yourself. If you feel like nothing deep down, then nothing is all you’ll see, even if it’s disguised in big, glossy packages. Lack will pursue you as relentlessly as you pursue the next best thing in your attempts to fill the hole in your soul.

And, also like most simple secrets, this one isn’t so simple and pulling it off requires some fortitude. And indomitable will is necessary  to face the painful reasons we avoid looking at ourselves and continue to create lack in our lives. The truth is that we are seldom as bad as we think we are and these dark illusions hover around in the backs of our minds, monsters in the closets holding our deepest fears. Opening the door to face them rather than running away to the distractions that keep us in lack, returns false beliefs to the nothingness of the past where they came from.

Our hearts can now begin to heal, freed from years of distractions and replenished with the substance and truth of the present moment. From here we are able to look back and see that we’ve come through tremendous odds. We can take stock of what we’re really about, be grateful for the abundance that got us this far and figure out what choices do and do not, work.

From this place is the choice to live in lack, the pursuit of empty endeavors or to relax into the flow of abundance, contribution and purpose that is our birthright and available in every choice we make.


~ by katrinataylor44 on March 11, 2013.

2 Responses to “Perceptions Of Lack”

  1. I could not resist commenting. Well written!

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