Are Those Selling Abundance Spirituality Really Looking To Help You?

Hi friends,

I'm back with my periodic, unpopular, invitation to bring some skepticism to the ‘abundance spirituality’ that continues to rip it’s way through our current self help/self improvement/self actualization models.

I've written and spoken about this quite a bit already, and if you want to look into that you can check out:

Why The Abundance Teachings Aren't Spiritual Video

Why Hustle Culture Is Killing Us Video

Full Article

In the next three blogs, I'm going to again encourage all of us to take a step back from these teachings/teachers just to see if we can create a little space and clarity around what they're proposing to us, what they're telling us will lead us to fulfillment, the narratives they're creating around why what they are doing is 'spiritual' and with that space and clarity see if we still agree with what's being said.

Remember - there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with wanting to have enough to live a good, comfortable and pleasurable life. Just as there’s nothing wrong with wanting your career to centre around something you deeply value, and for your efforts to be matched with payment that again, supports a good life.

In fact, having enough so that you’re not constantly having to worry about where your next meal is coming from, how you’re going to keep a roof over your head, or how you’re going to find the time to REST and do the things that are required to maintain your physical/mental/emotional health, is fully SUPPORTIVE of any spiritual quest.

Having some stability, time where you don’t have to be working/in life maintenance mode, having relative safety - these are all excellent foundations for a devotion to spiritual practices.

Having a vocation where you find some meaning/purpose without making this your ENTIRE meaning/purpose also helps us to INTEGRATE a spiritual practice INTO life itself - so that they aren’t two separate containers in our existence, but that ALL of life is a place where we’re expanding and finding meaning.

These are all states that allow us to expand beyond simply thinking about how we are going to survive/provide for ourselves, making having a globally minded perspective easier.

At the same time, we must also acknowledge that even if you DON'T have the above things - if you're not someone who is currently able to make ends meet, if your not in a position to be stable and secure, or if the work you can do isn't something you feel is a 'purpose' or a 'calling' - this also doesn't in any way mean that you can't reach spiritual fulfillment. This doesn't mean you're doomed to a life of simply focusing on the material plane. This doesn't mean you CAN'T - and I feel it's incredibly important we acknowledge this. Some of us are going to have to find meaning in whatever we're in. There are going to be times and places where we will have to bring our spirituality to the mundane job we have. Or the job we're doing to survive. Some of us will never have the opportunity to create true security for ourselves because of the way the world is set up - and this doesn't mean we can't find purpose in life. Whether or not we're able to create a career that 'means' something to us, we all have access to spirituality. I hope that the abundance teachers/teachings never erase that from our awareness. You can have fulfillment and spiritual connection no matter what circumstances you're in. Greater reality is always there to be connected with. Any life can be the medium through which this is achieved. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I feel it's important to acknowledge this right off the bat, so that none of us start off with the wrong idea - that spiritual fulfillment is ONLY possible when our vocation matches some soul calling. This is a lovely thing - but it's not a requirement by any stretch of the imagination. YES we all want to self actualize - and what we do in the world will be a part of that self actualization - but it doesn't have to look any particular way. If we bring ourselves to what we're doing to survive, if we bring ourselves to our circumstances and allow ourselves to expand in whatever ways we CAN in the moment - we're doing it. We won't all have access to the ideal conditions, and not all of us are 'meant' to have a career that's unique/shiny/special in some way. We are all on our path, and our journeys are going to be different. There's no right way to earn a living and there's no one way to spirituality.

Your life is yours, and whatever circumstances you're in, you can find spirituality.

Of course we can have spirituality, and some may argue deep spirituality, without these basic necessities - but they do HELP when forming practices and ways of life that serve to expand us.

There's a balance here.

There are a multitude of different ways to find spiritual fulfillment.

What you do for sustenance doesn't define you.

What you do to survive doesn't have to be anything in particular in order to be 'spiritual' so long as you bring your spirituality to it.

There are also many more issues I see with this 'abundance gospel'.

I want to explore 6 of them today and next week.

Let's start with point one and two, and finish the final four next week.


Where I see the ‘abundance is spiritual’ going off the rails is in a few key areas.

#1. It’s generally just consumerist capitalism dressed up as spirituality: There’s nothing inherently spiritual about having way more than you need.

About luxury.

About ‘abundance’ as the Western World likes to define it.

There’s nothing natural about it, nor is there anything righteous about it.

In nature, anything that’s taking that much more than they require is considered a parasite. In almost all other natural contexts something that is living in a way that requires it has SO MUCH MORE than it needs, inherently means that it’s TAKING from something else. To be clear - having ENOUGH is not parasitic - and enough is more than bare bones. I'm not saying the only way to live in harmony with nature/reality is to be the most extreme minimalist possible. There's enough in nature for ENOUGH - and enough includes enjoyment. Relaxation. Fun. The occasional indulgence. There are TIMES of abundance in nature. There are seasons. This is reality. But extreme resource consumption all year round? Nothing in nature does that and thrives.

I don't see the spiritual connection here.

There’s no spiritual doctrine in all of history that shows us that having excess is a way to knowing God or reality better - and in fact *most* traditions all throughout history have warned AGAINST the temptations and distractions that come with living to excess. Intentional poverty/minimalism has been a KEY tool for awakening since the beginning of time, throughout all different practices and theologies.

This makes sense.

The less attached we are to the ‘material’ world, the less our energy and time is going towards acquiring, maintaining and enjoying the pleasures of the flesh, the more energy and time we have left for the pursuits of deeper things. More fulfilling things.

So again I ask - where's the spiritual connection between having so much more than we need and God? Greater reality? The deeper truths of life? How does having so much more than we need expand us beyond the 3D? Not to say that the 3D ISN'T a PART of spirituality, isn't a PART of all that is - but again, it's not everything. 

I can understand that having enough helps calm our nervous systems to a degree that we can connect with something outside of our fear of death - but beyond this, I see no evidence for 'abundance' being a direct line to God.

This idea that ‘the universe wants you to have abundance’ in the Western sense of the word makes no logical sense. Nothing in nature lives to excess as we do. No spiritual tradition uses excess as a tool for awakening. The time, energy and dedication required to acquire such wealth and then to maintain it requires that we sacrifice spending our energies in other areas.

Now again don’t go black and white with this. Having ENOUGH so that we have time for spiritual pursuits is a real thing. Having SO MUCH that we have to be constantly working/maintaining what we have, not so much. Having so much that the earth/world around us can’t sustain us without sacrificing something also isn’t a spiritual thing.

There’s a balance.

And while I do see a time and a place for experiencing minimalism and even choosing to live with the bare minimum for a while (which is a privilege to be able to ‘choose’) - I feel most of us will find a real connection when we have enough. It looks to me like this ‘abundance spirituality’ is really just another way the capitalist machine is hooking spiritual identifying people into its web.

Identify as spiritually abundant - not regular rich, that’s for normies.

#2 The world is being crushed under the weight of Western Abundance: The reality is - the world cannot, under any circumstances, hold the number of people we have, hold the number of other living species that need space, resources and energy to survive and continue to be a place with an environment that life can inhabit if everyone were to suddenly come into the Western definition of abundance.

There’s simply not enough land.

Not enough resources.

The amount of waste and pollution that’s generated by ‘abundance’ as we define it is destroying the planet.

Unless we want to see the human population drop by a significant percentage, this abundance is only for the very few. Even IF we dramatically shift all of our systems of production and consumption to more sustainable models - we still will NEVER be able to keep up with the demand that's currently fueling Wester Abundance without destruction of people, land and resources.

What's spiritual about that?

It all comes at a cost.

Those who live in Western abundance do require that others - peoples, plants, animals, the land - go without, or are harmed in some way long term or short term.

The destruction required to continue to produce and maintain the lifestyles of the abundant is astronomical.

Again I see nothing at all spiritual about this.

It requires slave labor. It requires exploitation. It requires massive environmental destruction. It requires that we are ok with taking more for ourselves and knowing that this IS coming at a cost. It requires that we don’t pay attention to our greater impact. The earth, multiple people groups and a plethora of other species have been being broken for centuries in the name of abundance. I don’t personally see how this translates to spirituality.

Suffering is being created at a massive scale.

It requires that we are at BEST ignorant to this, and at worst actively participating.

When we REALLY get honest about what it takes to keep the rich rich, we will see that this isn't a spiritual act.


Let's pause here and digest this.

More next week.




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