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Question:

Hello Ekta,
In the field of Psychology, there is a concept of psychological poverty due to a lack of formative years of unconditional love. Is there something like spiritual poverty that could be a possibility in such individuals who suffer from psychological poverty?

 

Answer:

Yes and No. Let me elaborate on the same.

From the Psychology perspective:
Psychological poverty is simply a lack of a sense of security at an unconscious level in which the individual is unaware of the insecurity. It reflects in shaping the individual personality in many ways:
– insatiable greed,
– miserliness,
– lack of self-dignity,
– suspiciousness,
– inability to give unconditional love,
– inability to receive love,
– lack of faith in life,
– lack of gratitude, etc.

Because of the lack of unconditional love from the mother in the formative years [which is not remembered by the conscious mind of the infant that is 1-3 years old], the sense of insecurity is stored in the unconscious mind per Freudian theory.

This is all that I know about the psychological perspective. I am not an expert in psychoanalysis but what I have observed in spiritual seekers is that psychological poverty can bleed into the spiritual journey if it has not been taken care of before stepping into spirituality. If it has been recognized, acknowledged, and managed well before, then it does not reflect much on the spiritual journey but glimpses will still be visible to the mentor working in close contact with such individuals. Below are a few glimpses.

Spiritual poverty will reflect in the following ways on the spiritual path:
– A general lack of gratitude towards life and others, even on the spiritual path.
– Selfishness for receiving knowledge.
– Miserly seva or inability to do seva [give time/effort/charity/love/kindness] to others.
– Greed in receiving the knowledge for free without giving in return.
– Inability to receive/absorb and retain knowledge and covert to self-wisdom [paatrata].
– Inability to have faith in the possibility of the unknown.
– Inability to give oneself totally to the spiritual quest.
– Inability to recognize that one is Satchidananda himself [in other words ‘Love’ himself]
– Doubts relating to the spiritual path, spiritual teachers, and above all self-doubt or a lack of conviction in oneself to attain the highest truth.

The field of psychology might blame this on the lack of unconditional love in infant-hood but I have seen many spiritual seekers strengthen their minds in adulthood such that they overcome this psychological poverty that leaks into spiritual poverty.

Just to clarify, it was not that spirituality or religion healed them, it was their own effort in acknowledging the adversaries of life as simply a happening that must not be taken too seriously. They had a high intelligence quotient to recognize and respect the unknown aspects of life and acknowledge the lack of control over life. This recognition is a trophy in itself. This opens up the mind of the spiritual seeker to gather the courage to go beyond the known. This is the development of what I call a high ‘spiritual quotient’.

This spiritual quotient works like gravity for the one who is ready to fall into the unknown. It requires courage. This courage is an impossibility in the insecure mind of the one that is psychologically poor.

Hence, I conclude that psychological poverty is usually worked upon and overcome by those who come to the pure spiritual path. By pure spirituality, I mean that which is devoid of the divides of religion, god, organization, human worship, idol worship, rites, and rituals, etc.

Once the spiritual quotient of the individual propels him into pure spirituality, residual traces of spiritual poverty start vanishing completely. One who has overcome this completely is a Spiritual Zillionaire in my opinion because he exhibits the following qualities:
– Eternally grateful towards everything in life.
– Selflessness, generosity & magnanimity.
– The ability to give to others unconditionally [never gets tired of doing seva].
– The ability to receive love and joy from every moment.
– The ability to receive knowledge and convert it to self-wisdom almost instantly.
– Ultimate respect for the unknown. The unknown respects him back by revealing itself.
– The culmination of the spiritual quest into the recognition of oneself as Satchidananda.
– The recognition of being beyond God and beyond Not-God, beyond something and beyond nothing.
– The ultimate liberation from the poverty called ‘personhood’. He is truly spiritually rich, a spiritual zillionaire!

If there is any wealth that can give unconditional love and bliss, it is the wealth of the spiritual zillionaire!

May you be spiritually wealthy!

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