Jan - Feb 2003
can only be
enjoyed by them
not at all
to lose them.
-- Jer. Taylor.
Everyone has his or her own idea about prosperity. The dictionary defines prosperity as: “ The condition of being prosperous.” And prosperous is defined as: “Having success; flourishing.” With the extreme fear and concern about the economy right now I decided to focus this article on Prosperity Consciousness. Here is what my research found.
A FIFTH of the world's population lives on a dollar a day. More than a third are illiterate, and more than a hundred million have no access to basic health care, sanitation, or education. They make up a worldwide underclass whose continued deprivation defies the global rush toward prosperity that has otherwise defined much of this century. Today in the West and in parts of Asia living standards are at unprecedented high levels, but for 80 percent of the world's people, that prosperity remains elusive: they continue to earn less than 20 percent of the world's income.
Perhaps hope is to be found in a small state 24,000 square miles, on the southwest coast of India --one of the poorest countries in the world. That state, Kerala, is poor even by Indian standards. The gross domestic product per capita is just $1,000 a year -- some $200 less than the Indian average, and about one twenty-sixth of the American figure. Houses in Kerala are small; clothes are simple and unadorned. For most of Kerala's 33 million citizens life appears to be governed by the narrow circumscriptions of agriculture. Yet consider the following:
1) Life expectancy in Kerala is seventy-two years, which is closer to the American average of seventy-six than to the Indian average of sixty-one.
2) The infant-mortality rate in Kerala is among the lowest in the developing world -- roughly half that in China, and lower than that in far richer countries such as Argentina and Bahrain.
3) Population, too, is under control in Kerala. The fertility rate is just 1.7 births per woman -- lower even than Sweden's or America's.
What is perhaps most impressive is that 90 percent of Keralites are literate -- a figure that puts the state in a league with Singapore and Spain. Children in Kerala are likely to beg for pens, not money. Schools -- their classrooms clean, well maintained, and filled with students in brightly colored uniforms -- are found seemingly every few miles throughout the state.
Amartya Sen, a leading economist who has drawn attention to Kerala, has argued that the success and failure of development efforts cannot be judged merely in terms of income and output. "What ultimately matters," he has written, "is the nature of the lives people can or cannot lead."
Prosperity is a state of awareness of honoring what you have and finding value in the things in life that are the most important to you. In Kerala they are family and education. For myself I have always valued Consciousness. Being conscious has always maintained its value regardless of my material prosperity. It is truly something that I can own and what I know can never be taken away from me. If you are truly concerned about your own prosperity find ways to broaden the understanding of your life and the world around you. Take a class, read an inspiring book or magazine, etc. OR have your astrological chart done to understand how you are or are not connected to your own prosperity. Whatever you do, I hope that you have a fabulous New Year filled with Success and Prosperity.