Fullness Still Remains
That idea of a closed system was also reinforced by Lindsay Roberts, who at the time was the new wife of Oral’s son, Richard Roberts (now the president of ORU). I heard her say once, while addressing a large conference at ORU’s stadium-sized auditorium, that she had “named and claimed” Richard Roberts the first time she laid eyes on him, and God answered her prayers: she married Richard. What she left out was the fact that Richard was already married at the time. For Lindsay to get what she “named and claimed” in prayer, Richard had to divorce his first wife. For Lindsay to “win,” someone else had to lose.
Coming out of that background I really appreciate the idea of fullness conveyed in the Invocation to the Isha Upanishad, which the WisdomReading group is currently reading:
All this is full. All that is full.
From fullness, fullness comes.
When fullness is taken from fullness,
Fullness still remains.
OM shanti shanti shanti
In his introduction to this Upanishad, translator Eknath Easwaran addresses the idea of a closed system:
. . . sounding more like an algebraic equation than a prayer, this brief utterance quietly contradicts the basis of modern civilization.
Our economic thought operates, as social historian Ivan Illich put it, “under a paradigm of scarcity.” The fundamental assumption is that there is not enough to go around; so we are doomed to fight one another (and an unwilling nature) for material, human, natural resources; each person or group for itself. That was evolution, and that is life.
No, says this Invocation, it isn’t. That is social darwinism, based on the economics of materialism. Spiritual economics begins not from the assumed scarcity of matter but from the verifiable infinity of consciousness. “Think of this One original source,” Plotinus said, “as a spring, self-generating, feeding all of itself to the rivers and yet not used up by them, ever at rest.”
~ from The Upanishads,
Translated for the Modern Reader by Eknath Easwaran
This idea of the One as a self-generating, self-renewing spring fits nicely with Meister Eckhart’s conception of God as “a vast underground river that no one can stop and no one can dam up.”
What I learned at ORU is wrong. For me to prosper – for me to have whatever abundance Spirit intends me to have – I do not have to take from others. Others do not need to lose so I can “win.” God is bigger than the closed systems we build around ourselves. When fullness is taken from fullness, fullness still remains.