It is so easy to feel deprived – often in material terms – because of an underlying sense of entitlement.
Those of us who live in the affluent (by and large) West grow up with a feeling that we, in some weird way, deserve the house, the well-paid job, the two-point-four children, the Designer gear and all of the rest of the kit. The result of this covert, rarely examined with any kind of insight, assumption is this: Deprive us of anything and we do a Violet Elizabeth Bott – lie on the floor and kick our legs and scream!
We exaggerate, catastrophise, become bitter about the loss of a standard of life which many living in Third World countries could only ever dream of. We feel personally got at, cheated, if less money is coming in, if we have to contemplate moving to a much smaller, less beautiful, house, if we have to buy clothes without snob labels and food from the cheap section.
Why, though, do we have the gall, the arrogance, the lack of humanity, to call such trifling losses deprivation? Surely having food on the table, a roof over one’s head, clothes to wear shows that we are wealthy in real global terms, doesn’t it?
I know that I am lucky, privileged. I am not super-wealthy, but I have enough money to buy the basics. I will never own a mansion, but who the hell wants one anyway? A small house is all I want – and, let’s face it, would be an unattainable luxury to so many in our world.
But, let me move this post on from the level of possessions and money – because true deprivation, surely to God, derives from paucity of spirit, hope, generosity and love rather than the things we can use money to barter for.
Too many of us complain of material deprivation – and fail to see the enormous wealth we have when it comes to loyalty, support, warmth, friendship. Too many of us only feel rich when we have enough dosh, a huge house, the best furniture – but, that sense of things sufficing only lasts until the next must-have item catches our greedy, dissatisfied minds, at which point we feel deprived all over again!
Perhaps this obsessive filling up with things is covering up a much more fundamental lack in many of our lives. Perhaps, behind it, the real fear is being deprived of love, of nurture, of people.
I know that the next phase of my life will be seen, by some, as a step down, as a stupid and selfish acceptance of material deprivation. I know that some people think I am mad not to grab onto the status quo, with all its material benefits.
But I do not feel deprived at any level; in fact, I feel far wealthier than I have done for many a year! That is because the ‘deprivation’ of things (which, in world terms, is derisory!) has opened up my consciousness to the truth about friends, about loved ones, about the things which are of real value in my life.
Far from being deprived, I am very very wealthy in the ways that actually matter a jot.
Money cannot buy love. Possessions cannot guarantee happiness or peace of mind. A huge house cannot whisper the promise of safety from harm or loss.
Clinging to a sense of entitlement makes us mean. It tarnishes the spirit and damages the mind, blocking us from seeing that we are all in this together – and no one, in truth, is entitled to anything other than the breath of life they received at the moment of birth.
The sense of deprivation is an illusion, an illusion we feed and foster because we are greedy, because we always want more. The notion of scarcity is soul-pinching and sad, built on nothing more than the friable sand of what we think we deserve in life set against what we actually have!
We deserve NOTHING – and yet we receive gifts constantly. Gifts we fail to see because they cost nothing, because we are not sufficiently enlightened to see that we would be the poorer without them!