May 18, 2009
“Is the universe friendly?” The answer to this question, once posed by Albert Einstein, is the basis of the book “The Trance of Scarcity” by Victoria Castle.
If your answer to this question is “no”, Castle writes, “we feel alone, ashamed, permanently insufficient. We move through the world like dejected spectators; strained, isolated, telling ourselves story after story of our unworthiness and life’s unfairness. Feeding on a continual diet of despair and rejection, courtesy of the Trance of Scarcity, we desperately seek ways to go numb. Our life force is diminished to a whisper.”
If, on the other hand, your answer is “yes”, Castle says, “we show up at the party ready to greet old friends and meet new ones. We add our signature dish to the potluck and prepare to feast. We understand that partaking of the flow takes nothing away from anyone else. We freely partake of and freely contribute to the constant stream of resources and possibilities. Our belonging is undisputed … We create a life of meaning and fulfillment, absorbed in making the unique contribution to the human community that is ours to make.”
This prime message of The Trance of Scarcity really struck a chord with me. I could see that for much of my life I did see the universe as an unfriendly place, and that was reflected in my cautious approach to living. I still see the World that way at times. But I am gradually making a transformation to seeing the Universe as a friendly place, with signs of support all around (Castle defines this as life in “the Circle”). For anyone else making a similar transition, The Trance of Scarcity is an invaluable aide.
One way I live in “scarcity” is to replay in my mind painful incidents of the past, thinking how I could have acted differently or how unfair a particular situation was. “These (stories) keep replaying themselves as if they’re the Truth,” Castle writes, “unless we remember that they’re only Stories – a few of the many thousands we might have chosen to tell ourselves.” I am reminded of these words now each time my attention focuses to a regret of the past. What if my interpretation of events isn’t true? What if it really just is a “story” I am telling myself? I found Castle’s words freeing.
The Trance of Scarcity is full of valuable tips for living in the joy of the moment. Good actions, for example, flow naturally out of being connected to Life. This is a different orientation than “being good” because you are supposed to – motivated more by the fear of what others will think of you. “Society has put generosity on its righteous To Do list. Giving from a sense of obligation takes all the fun out of it,” Castle writes. “Being Generous because you “should” give takes it out of the realm of flow and into the realm of rules, regulation, and judgment.”
The Trance of Scarcity is one of the best books I have read this year. A book I will refer to often when my thoughts drift towards fear and lack. “You have extraordinary gifts to bring the world, and the world is counting on you to bring them,” Castle says. “The world needs you to release contraction a million times a day so that aliveness can flow freely in you, to not hold back who you are but give it freely.”
I doubt if anyone lives in “The Circle” 100% of the time, Victoria Castle included. But I believe reading her book will increase for you those moments of joy and connectedness to the wonderful life that is around each of us, as it did for me.