Occasionally it is important to recalibrate your baseline.
Actually, the more often you can do this, the better.
Abundance and poverty have nothing to do with the size of a bank account. If you feel like you don’t have enough, then you are poor. Getting out of poverty has everything to do with adjusting your baseline.
By baseline, I mean the conditions that you consider normal. The conditions that you expect each day. Baseline for someone growing up in Uganda is going to be much different than someone growing up in in Long Island.
Baseline is significant because it is the vacillations around baseline that determine so much of our stress & emotions. If you are served breakfast in bed by a butler every day of your life, it could feel like a horrific tragedy if you woke one morning and discovered there was no fresh orange juice. Whereas someone in Uganda might consider it a stellar morning if they had access to a drinkable glass of water.
This is not to say you should focus on others’ suffering. It simply means you should practice lowering your baseline so that you take fewer and fewer things for granted.
For most of human history, and around most of the planet, a shower would be a miracle. Not only does clean, drinkable water flow out of our walls, but we can even adjust the temperature so as to make our DAILY bathing more pleasurable.
The majority of the world is struggling to find a glass of water to drink and we urinate into bowls of drinkable water every day. Wow.
Again, this is not an exercise in feeling guilty. It is a practice of feeling blessed.
When you can remind yourself of your blessings, then gratitude just flows effortlessly. And gratitude is the foundation for joy and abundance.
If your baseline is out of wack, then you take amazing things for granted. You get angry about a flight delay and disregard the fact that you are traveling across country is less than a day. A few generations ago, the same trip would take months. (check out Louis CK’s amazing comedy routine “Everything’s amazing, nobody’s happy”)
But this attitude of gratitude can extend far deeper than modern comforts. What happens when you look at your existence in comparison to other species on the planet? Or other chunks of matter?
From this perspective, the baseline shifts dramatically. Suddenly consciousness itself is a gift. Every physical sensation is a treasure. Every song, every smell, every taste, and every color that we perceive is a miracle.
We stop judging the quality of things and start being appreciative that they exist at all. Of all the matter in the Cosmos, being a collection of cells that has coalesced in a way that allows for physical perception AND a consciousness mind that is aware of the colorful world around us!?!? Well, that is something to celebrate.
When baseline can be reset to this level of gratitude, then each moment of existence is cause for joy. Everything is amazing. And when everything is miraculous, it is much easier to avoid the cultural trap of acquisition and wanting. The motivation to get and hoard dissolves when existence itself is a treasure. With this depth of gratitude, The measuring stick of wealth fades away and all you can see is love.
I try to adjust my baseline at every meal. I know that I’ll eat every day, so “grace” is a perfect opportunity for daily recalibration. I learned this from my grandpa.
My grace is never exactly the same, but it always includes some version of the following:
“Dear Universe, help me to see the miracles in every moment, help me focus on all that is good in the world and to stay aware of the gifts that surround me. Help me be a vessel of Love in the world.
p.s. I am so grateful for the ability to communicate. For the tools to express. For the technology to share. Thank you for your presence and patience in receiving these words. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.