Freedom, Fear, and a Dog Named Happy
When I was a child, my family had a pet dog named Happy. This dog mostly stayed in the backyard. Like most other dogs, she would bark at strangers and cats that she could see walking around outside the yard. On a rare occasion, we would put our dog on a leash and let her go for a walk in the neighborhood. However, when we tried to take off her leash, and put her back in the yard, she would start to growl and even try to bite us. Apparently, our dog associated the leash with freedom. The dog did not know that she would have been really free if she had had no leash at all. For then she could have gone wherever she wanted.
Why am I telling you about my pet dog? I am telling you because I think the dog’s behavior is relevant to our lives. We are like the dog in that we believe that our freedom comes from things that limit us. In particular, we believe that if we have a lot of money, we will be freer to do what we want. However, as with the leash, money provides us with only a partial freedom. If we could live without money, we would be much freer.
Most civilizations in the world have been using money for thousands of years. The people in these societies have learned of the importance of money from an early age. We are told to work hard for money and to save money so that we will have some in the future. However, when we examine the world of money, we find out that it is based on the belief in scarcity. We expect things to be limited in amount, so we try to get our share by working hard or by some other legal or illegal way. We believe that if we don’t have money, which we use to buy food, shelter, and clothing, we will get sick or die. The fear of starvation and death motivates us to provide for ourselves, but many of the things we do to provide for ourselves are not things that we like to do. In essence, we have become a society of prostitutes. We do what we don’t like, for money that we think we need, because we are afraid of death.
Is there a better way to live? I believe that, in the future, the world will be ruled by the belief in abundance rather than the belief in scarcity. One reason that we believe in scarcity is because we believe that our work can give our lives value and worth. We believe that hard work can overcome our inner sense of inferiority. But no matter how much work we do, we still feel that there is something basically inferior or wrong with ourselves. In the end, our work cannot make us feel like people of worth. On the contrary, our activities cannot be truly effective and meaningful until we accept ourselves as we are.
When we accept ourselves as we are, and learn that we are really powerful spiritual beings of love, then all good things become possible. When Jesus was on the earth, he did many miracles–he turned water into wine at a wedding, he turned the little food that was present into an abundance of food, he healed many people of their sicknesses, and he brought dead people back to life. Jesus has shown us what is possible. And Jesus told his followers that they would one day do even greater things. But miracles are not the point. They are not the most important thing. Knowing ourselves as love is the ultimate goal. Miracles are merely some benefits of this knowledge.
The time will come when we give up fear and the belief in scarcity. Then we will know true abundance. However, if we hold on to old ways of life, as my dog fought to keep her leash, then we will miss out on true freedom. It takes faith to do something that we have not done before, but all of heaven will support us if we let go of our fear. We might not understand how everything will work out, but our faith will allow us to create a new world. Even economists don’t know exactly how all the details of the money economy work together. It is not our job to know how all the details will work together, but it is our job to listen to our inner guidance and to do the small part that our faith allows us to do. Each of us, doing our small part, will help transform the world of fear and scarcity into a world of love and abundance. Then we will know true freedom and happiness.