In my own personal search for meaning and the deepening of my capacity for human compassion and understanding, I find myself drawn to reading books from many different perspectives, cultures, philosophies and belief systems. I have spent the past three enjoyable weeks reading The Tao of Abundance: Eight Ancient Principles for Abundant Living by Laurence Boldt. I say ‘enjoyable’ because every page of this book has been a pleasure to read. Boldt’s style of writing is both professional and competent. He demonstrates a thorough understanding of Taoism and invites the reader to reinterpret modern economics and Western beliefs on ‘abundance’, ‘time’, ‘leisure’ and ‘beauty’ through this Taoist lens.
The book is written in eight chapters and begins by providing a basic introduction to Taoism for readers who are new to this ancient philosophy. Boldt then explores the theme of abundance in its many forms, for example, The Nature of Abundance, The Flow of Abundance, The Power of Abundance, The Harmony of Abundance, The Beauty of Abundance, and so on. Boldt draws heavily on the wisdom of Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu and also includes insights from the Bible, Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Albert Einstien and Carl Jung, among others.
In his writing, Boldt expresses his concern regarding the common Western view of abundance and the real sense of scarcity and lack that many people feel in their lives today. Boldt writes:
In a world that defines abundance in terms of scarce resources and economic abstractions, the Taoist philosophy defines abundance in human terms and sees the world as a naturally abundant place. In a do-oriented society that puts faith in future progress, it reminds us to be, and that here and now is the only place we live. In a world caught up in glamour and obsessed with consumption, the Taoist perspective offers and appreciation of leisure and beauty in the simple things in life. In a society that values the cerebral and abstract, the Taoist remind us to trust our intuitions and to recognize the power of the unconscious intelligence. In an increasing narcissistic and artificial society, Taoist philosophy values humility, naturalness, and spontaneity.
A very helpful feature of the book is the workbook found in the back, where Boldt has created a series of exercises to help readers identify and explore their own deeply held beliefs about wealth, abundance and prosperity. I was astonished at some of the limiting beliefs I was able to identify in my own mind, beliefs that first formed as a child growing up in a world where money was scarce, hard to earn, and even harder to keep. Re-examining my old beliefs and replacing them with a more accurate and positive framework has helped me experience the world in a fresh new way. Through his clear writing, Boldt has also given me a solid introduction to the Tao and the immeasurable joy and fulfillment that comes from living in the Tao.
…as you give your gifts and express your inmost nature in the outer world, you attract to yourself the people, circumstances, and resources you will need to fulfill your destiny. You enter a field of experience that, from a conventional perspective, seems magical, but in fact is only the natural state of your being. Spontaneous, creative action and synchronicity in relationships and events become the order of the day. You’ll find yourself being in the right place at the right time. It is not anything you are consciously doing; you are simply allowing your own nature to move you into the flow of the Tao.
Boldt writes competently and communicates his ideas clearly. There is also an intimate quality… he writes as a friend, sitting at the table with you discussing the Tao of Abundance over a cup of jasmine tea… Other works written by Boldt include Zen and the Art of Making a Living and How to Find the Work you Love. He conducts workshops and offers career coaching via his website www.empoweryou.com. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Taoism or creating a new economic paradigm in these highly turbulent times. As Ghandi once said, “There is enough for everyone’s need, but not their greed.”
Boldt, L. (1999). The Tao of Abundance: Eight Ancient Principles for Abundant Living. New York: Arkana.