What is poverty? What image comes to your mind when you hear the word poverty?
On the surface poverty may appear to be about money. The international poverty line, which is one way that global poverty is measured, is currently set at $1.90 per day. Since money is the predominant means that most of us use in order to purchase life’s necessities, it makes sense that it would be used as the basis of measuring just how many people on Planet Earth are living in extreme poverty.
However, poverty itself is something much deeper than simply having (or not having) money. Poverty, in the physical expression of lacking the means to procure the things we need, is a symptom of the lack we all have to some degree within our lives.
What do you want out of life? What is it you think if you had would make you happier or more fulfilled? It is precisely because we long for that which we do not already have, that we experience a poverty within ourselves. This poverty often has a disconnecting effect because of the insecurity it exposes that we have. It makes us want to earn more money, gain more power, and ultimately to distinguish ourselves as being in one group that is better over others which are worse.
Yet this poverty can also have a positive motivating effect. When we see that poverty is not only the problem of the world’s externally poor, but is actually something we all share at the deepest levels of who we are as human beings, it can be something which unifies us and sees the poverty in one another as something to heal through our connection.