Want to Be Depressed? Win the Lottery

By Joeel A. Rivera, M.Ed.

Abundance terminology is now popular in many circles, regardless of a person’s spiritual belief system. However, we all have slightly different definitions. The most important question is, “What does abundance mean to you?” Does it mean having a lot of money, freedom, happiness, and/or anything else that you desire? The first thing that most people associate with abundance is money, and having a lot of it. The problem is that no matter how much money you have, you will never be abundant if money is your primary focus. For example, would you love to win the lottery? If yes, did you know that winning the lottery actually raises your likelihood of suffering from depression and even increases your chances of suicide? Yep, call me crazy, but that does not fit my definition of abundance.

Before I go on, let me clarify that you can win the lottery, feel abundant, and actually have it amplify your life in many positive ways. However, you must first win the spiritual, emotional, and cognitive lottery before you win the financial lottery if you want true abundance. Money is not the problem; the problem is that people believe that money will bring them happiness. Without already being happy and in a positive energetic state you’re not likely to receive money, and if you do you’re not likely to enjoy it much.

In fact, research has shown that the only time that money ever increases happiness is just when we get past the point of survival—when our basic needs go from having not been met to being met. When we are stressed out and not sure that you will be able to pay your rent, bills, or put food on the table, then your energy is focused on survival and survival can only create a certain amount of happiness. So, when we are able to get past this financial desperation point, it makes a huge difference in our happiness level, but any financial gain after that point doesn’t have a large impact on how happy we truly are.  Don’t get me wrong, we can be happy living in a cardboard box and eating scraps left by others if we can feel gratitude and abundance from life’s small blessings. In fact, many countries that have less than the top industrialized nations rank higher on happiness scales, as I mentioned before.

I want to share with you a personal story. I had an opportunity to go to a conference for heart-centered businesses in Las Vegas and at that conference the speaker offered her coaching services for $100,000 a year. Her price was mind-boggling to me, but the most amazing thing was how many people ran to the back of the room to sign the contracts to pay that amount, all so that she could try to help them create abundance.

Afterwards, I sat and watched people gambling (I don’t gamble) and was intrigued how people would spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on one hand that lasted only a couple minutes, all for the thrill of the chance to become more abundant. As I walked outside and reflected on my experience, which I tend to do, I came across a lady who was handing flyers out. I could clearly see that she was not comfortable with the content of the flyer, so I started to talk to her about her experience. I am intrigued by the human experience and the different realities that we all live in. As I talked to her, it was clear that while she may not necessarily love what she does, overall she had a great, positive attitude about it. As I was finishing our conversation, I asked her how much she made per hour. She looked at me with a look of pride and gratitude and said her company pays her four dollars an hour. She followed it by saying that it was not much, but she appreciated the opportunity to be able to buy food for her kids.

As I walked away I found myself with tears in my eyes. I turned around and I exchanged “green energy,” or what we like to call money, for her wisdom. As she took it we both looked at each other, without exchanging words, and just smiled with a deep knowing. You see, my exchange of green energy was not out of pity but out of gratitude for the teacher that she had been in my life. I had just been to a conference where people were willing to pay $100,000 to become abundant, without realizing that they already were! At the same time, those gamblers were spending thousands of dollars in hopes to becoming abundant without realizing that they were already abundant, too.  What they spent in 10 minutes was what the lady handing out flyers made in one month, or one year. The difference was that she was actually more grateful for what she had than they were because she focused on what she DID have. She was abundant.

I am not saying that either perspective is right or wrong, but I am presenting a case for the belief that abundance does not come from just a monetary perspective—abundance is relative and it depends on how we define it. What I have found from my experiences and research is that true abundance has different components, and these are:

The ability to be unattached to outcomes and things

The ability to be authentically you

The ability to appreciate life, including the smallest things

The ability to accept what IS in your current reality

The willingness to make the changes that will serve your highest good

If you can find these things within yourself you will feel abundant, and the financial abundance becomes easier to obtain and enjoy.  Remember, true freedom and abundance is knowing that even if your exterior world falls apart you can still find your inner peace.

Joeel A. Rivera, M.Ed.

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