When we think of poverty the first thing that may come to mind is money. We use money-based statistics like the fact that over 3 billion people – almost half of the world population – live on less than $2.50 and the widening gap between rich and poor to express how prevalent and devastating monetary poverty.
Money, I believe, is simply one form and perhaps the most superficial form of poverty in our world. Money is of course the tool we use in order to purchase the items we need to live. When people do not have access to money, this often means they do not have access to water, food, shelter and other necessities of life. Yet, I believe money is simply the 10% tip of the iceberg masking the other 90% hidden beneath what we can see and measure.
Poverty is something which begins within the human heart and mind. Poverty exists within a heart that is focused on greed and gaining personal power over serving others. Poverty exists when allow our actions to be dictated by money, rather than what has true value. Poverty exists when we cut ourselves off from our relationship we share with every member of the human family; desiring to make ourselves stronger at the expense of others. When in truth, we are made stronger by making others stronger.
Life is a relationship. When we focus on our self and are own attainment, we disconnect ourselves from that relationship and the very happiness that comes from the free gift of life. However, when we fully invest ourselves into a life of service to others, we connect ourselves with the true wealth of resources this Earth provides that might enable all people to have their basic needs met.
It is for this reason that my first priority in all that I do is reconnect the human family with the truth of the relationship we share. I walk the world to connect and to listen and share ways we can give clean water, food and life’s necessities to those who currently do not have them. Yet, I realize that until each and every one of us come together; united to say it is time for poverty to come to an end, we will remain living in a world that is divided and the root of poverty will continue to exist with us.
Come together. That is the first step.