A real estate agent sent me a copy of the glamorous magazine, Luxury Homes. As I flipped through the pages I beheld lavish sprawling estates perched on hilltops and oceanfronts with spectacular Balinese furnishings and stunning sunset views. The price tags went up to $16 million. One home in particular caught my eye—not for the house, but for its tag line: In this elegant estate, all of your needs will be met.
I turned to Dee and said, “Look, honey, if we lived here, all of our needs would be met.” For a mere $12.5 million, all of our relationships would be fulfilling, we would be totally healthy, we would never worry about money or politics, we would recognize the presence of God in and around us, and we would live as an infinite, eternal beings. All just by buying that house. What a deal!
Dee looked through the magazine, closed it, and asked, “Would you rather live in any of these places than where we are?” I didn’t have to think for more than three seconds. “Not really,” I replied.
A few years ago we downsized. We had a very nice house, but we wanted more nature around us and space for our dogs to walk and play. So we traded our home for one half the size, with some land around us. Now our neighbors are birds, owls, horses, cows, gnarly but loveable feral pigs, and all kinds of National Geographic type critters. To a city dweller, this might not sound very appealing, but to us it is heaven. We find riches in the world as God created it rather than the ways man has attempted to improve it, but has in many ways ruined it. You can also find heaven in the city if you choose to look through heavenly eyes. Everything is choice and perspective.
That luxury home was called an “elegant estate.” Yet what is our true estate? When the elders of Israel demanded of Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” he replied, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Neither is ours. As spiritual beings, we carry our estate within us and we take it wherever we go. Heaven is not a place, but a state of consciousness. You cannot purchase it because you already own it. You simply need to claim and enjoy it.
A Course in Miracles tells us that the world we have manufactured through erroneous thinking is the complete opposite of reality. Like a weird-looking photographic negative, black becomes white and white becomes black, and nothing makes sense. “Real estate” applies to houses and land. But they are not our real estate. Our real estate is that of spirit.
We watched a documentary, Minimalism, about a number of folks who decided to let go of their material possessions and live light. One fellow had worked his way up the corporate ladder until he was offered a high-level partnership with a staggering salary and deep perks. Upon considering the job, he began to feel sick. He knew that he would be a slave to his company for the rest of his life. “I took the elevator down 28 floors, walked out of the building, and never went back,” he recounted. “I changed my entire lifestyle and now I am happier than I have ever been.”
One of the minimalists suggested two criteria to help you decide which stuff to keep and which to chuck: (1) Do I use this? and (2) Does this bring me true joy? If you get a “yes” to either or both questions, what you have is worth keeping. If not, it is dragging you down. Have the guts to release what doesn’t belong to you by virtue of your spirit.
As we enter this New Year, let’s consider how to get all of our needs met. If you attempt to get your needs met materially, for every need you fulfill, more will arise. Seeking material fulfillment is a vicious, exhausting treadmill. The only way to get all of your needs met is to recognize that all of your needs are already met. “The more you know, the less you need.” God has already given you everything you need to be happy. If you need something, it will come without struggle. If you have to struggle to get or keep it, you don’t need it. If you need to do something to get it, you will be guided and it will come.
A Course in Miracles makes this soothing promise: “When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer.”
I consider myself the richest person in the world. Not for my bank account, but for the blessings of nature, my partner, family, friends, work, and the love and grace of God. We can all be the richest person in the world if we recognize the riches we already own. My wish for you this bright new year is that you move into the elegant estate where all your needs are met.
Alan Cohen is the author the bestselling A Course in Miracles Made Easy: Mastering the Journey from Fear to Love. Become a certified professional life coach though Alan’s upcoming transformational Life Coach Training. For more information about this program, his books and videos, free daily inspirational quotes, online courses, and weekly radio show, visit www.alancohen.com.