I don’t know if this is purely an addict reality, as I have nothing to measure it against, but I can’t deny that the avenue to abundance lies in selfless action. In fact, worldly success seems directly proportional to my degree of self-preoccupation. The greatest abundance in my life has materialized when I’m focused on service and attempting to be unselfish or useful to others. For some reason, there is no direct avenue to worldly gain for me. There is only a by-product of gain from doing the right thing.
Perhaps this is because acting unselfishly runs so contrary to my previous character, and even to my current character to a lesser extent. But regardless of the mechanism, the more I focus on spiritual growth and helping others, the more abundance comes my way and vice versa. Whether direct or indirect, service is a recipe for inner peace and outer abundance whereas selfishness is a recipe for outer failure and inner chaos.
I suppose because addicts are the way they are. That is, because our sanity and well-being are directly tied to our moral character, it must be reciprocal. All of our success, whether spiritual, emotional, physical or financial, is directly tied to our degree of selfishness, to the tenor of our actions, to the integrity of our character, and to the accuracy of our moral compass. Granted, the absolute law of cause and effect applies to everybody, but I’ve certainly seen a great many non-addicts succeed based on nothing but self-will. For addicts, though, and perhaps for everybody to some degree, God doesn’t reward us when we get too obsessed with ourselves.
And why should it be otherwise?
It makes perfect sense that the addict who has spent his or her whole life being so self-centered should have to be actively other-centered to receive worldly gifts.
Full disclosure: I spend a great deal of time on business, research and work of all sorts… but it’s not so much a question of the fact that I’m working but rather how I’m doing it. What is my mindset? Self-gain or responsibility to family, etc.? As well, how do I spend my free time? Do I sit on the couch full of want and fantasy, full of self-worship or self-pity, full of ideas and ambition about where I’m going and why I’m not there yet? Or do I leave all of the self nonsense at home and go be useful to the world, to others, and most importantly, to God?
Fuller disclosure: I’m still plenty guilty of self-preoccupation, but when I snap out of it and the necessity of God or service comes to mind, I don’t ignore it. I just do what I have to do to be okay. And in doing so, I stay healthy enough to begin suffering when I become too focused on myself. Make sense?
God, help me to care more about my spiritual growth than personal ambition, that I may accept whatever comes my way, that I may accept Your will and live in peace…