Praise Her

A Goddess for Invoking Abundance and Finding Your Purpose

Unlocking happiness with the Hindu goddess Lakshmi

Illustration: Cat Finnie

HHave you ever met someone who was totally at ease in the world? They seem to live effortlessly; they’re able to give and receive without a lot of drama. Their finances may fluctuate with the economy, but they always seem to have faith that the situation will improve. These people are content. Most importantly, they know they have enough.

People like this are in sync with Lakshmi, a Hindu goddess whose energies operate from a place of abundance. Some would call them “lucky” but really, they’re just thankful for what they have. They invite more good into their life as a result of this optimism.

The story of Lakshmi

Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of fortune, beauty, and love. She is often described as auspicious, favorable, promising, and optimistic. She’s the wife of Vishnu, one of the three gods in the Hindu triumvirate, and she provides him with the feminine energy (shakti) he needs to keep the world in balance. Without Lakshmi, the world would become barren. Crops and forests would die, the economy would halt, and happiness would fade. Similarly, a person’s life will feel depleted without Lakshmi energy.

Lakshmi is beautiful, gracious, and most importantly, generous. She bestows great fortune on those who follow her path. She is also quick to retract those blessings if we’re not grateful and appreciative, or if we fail to reciprocate with our own generosity. Lakshmi rewards hard work, devotion, and sincerity. In addition to providing worldly, tangible goods, she also provides inner wealth like peace of mind, health, spirituality, and love.

Lakshmi has four arms which represent the four goals of life in Hindu philosophy: kāma, artha, dharma, and moksha. Artha can be explained as the resources needed to create your ideal state (like a job, a home, and food). Kāma refers to pleasure and emotional fulfillment. Dharma is your life’s purpose; it’s the reason you get out of bed in the morning. Moksha is freedom or liberation in life. Moksha is the ultimate goal, while the other three are necessary to attain it. The first two represent qualities in the physical world, while the latter two represent one’s spiritual life. All four are needed to remain in balance for a happy existence.

How Lakshmi plays a role in modern society

There are people who have all the material possessions they could want, yet there’s always something missing. They think they need a bigger house, a better paying job, a new boat, or even a new partner. These people often judge their success by comparing themselves to others rather than looking within for what would truly make them happy. Additionally, they often act with a sense of entitlement and arrogance. While they appear to have more than most people, they still operate from a place of scarcity rather than abundance. Lakshmi will not stay long in this type of environment. Even if these people can hang on to their material goods (artha), Lakshmi will likely not bestow what they need to achieve kãma, dharma, and moksha. This results in a sense of dissatisfaction.

How Lakshmi works in my life

I had the opportunity to work with Lakshmi’s energy when I finalized my divorce. As the breadwinner of the family, I had to divide and share many of my financial assets. I don’t agree with current divorce laws or how assets should be calculated and redistributed, so the process was challenging for me. Anyone who’s been through a divorce knows the emotional and financial toll the process can take. The dissolution of a marriage is costly, and many couples are likely to stay in a marriage that no longer serves them just to avoid the financial hit they’ll take if they separate.

Staying together was not an option for me. I value my freedom and living authentically more than I value my money. And as we learn from Lakshmi, it’s important to balance all four goals in life if we want to be fulfilled. What I lost in artha (money), I gained in kāma (peace of mind) and dharma (life’s purpose). It wasn’t easy to find peace about giving up my tangible goods, but it helped when I remembered what I was gaining. I was creating balance. A friend once told me about a conversation he had with his mother. He was lamenting his divorce and how much it cost him. His mother replied, “Don’t worry, it’s only paper.” And I continue to reflect back on that advice when I’m feeling resentful. I remember all the other ways my life has improved since my divorce.

When you recognize what’s going well in your life, you operate from a place of abundance rather than scarcity.

Interestingly (though not surprisingly), it only took a couple of years for my 401(k) to return to its original value. My finances are now in much better order. Throughout my marriage, there always seemed to be some chaos regarding money. I was rarely clear on whether we had enough money. More often than not, our checking account was overdrawn and I had to figure out where the money had gone. Now I’m in control of how much I save and how much I spend. I am making thoughtful investment choices. I live within my means and have a positive relationship with my money.

Money is an energy. It fluctuates with time and circumstance. Lakshmi doesn’t want us to make decisions based on money alone. We need to look at all four aims in life when evaluating our choices and choosing a direction.

A ritual to help activate your Lakshmi energy

First, write down three things you’re grateful for every day. Shawn Achor, a positive psychologist and the author of The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life, states that writing three gratitudes each day can rewire your brain to reduce stress and increase happiness. Additionally, he suggests doing “conscious acts of kindness” every day, like sending someone a nice email or text. Lakshmi would consider this an example of generosity. Achor also provides data-driven research to support Lakshmi’s principles of living a balanced and happy life. When you recognize what’s going well in your life, you operate from a place of abundance rather than scarcity. Lakshmi will only visit you when she feels that you are appreciative and taking good care of the gifts she has already bestowed upon you. Each morning I write what I am grateful for while I have my cup of tea. It starts the day on a positive note and reminds me of all the fortunes I already possess.

Next, write down what you desire. Is it a more rewarding job? A passionate lover? A sunny beach house? Don’t stop there. Think about how you’ll feel once you get what you want. What is the feeling that will be invoked if you get what you desire? Are you looking for a lover purely for physical pleasure? Or do you really want the feeling of being cared for and desired? Spend some time thinking about why you desire the things you desire, and consider the feelings that obtaining your desires will create. Where do they show up in your body? Sit with the feelings for a bit and meditate on them. Cultivating those feelings will help you create and attract what you desire. Be on the lookout for blessings you receive that invoke the feeling you want. They might not come exactly as you imagined, but that’s okay. It’s the feeling you’re looking for, not a particular outcome.

Last, consider this question: What can you give to someone or something else? Lakshmi is very generous and wants you to be generous, too. Can you make dinner for a neighbor going through a tough time? Donate to a charity? Volunteer at a local homeless shelter? What about the people around you? Are you being generous with your attention and time? Lakshmi energy flows in both directions. In order to receive, you must also be ready to give. Lakshmi is kind, optimistic, generous, and helpful. The more you can emulate her, the more abundance you will see in your life.

To connect with Lakshmi and invoke abundance:

  • Write down three things you’re grateful for each day.
  • Write down what you desire, and why you desire it. What is the feeling it will invoke? Try cultivating that feeling before you have what you want. That will attract your desires to you.
  • Give. Whether it’s money, your time, or your service. Focus on what you can do for others.

We all have the ability to connect with Lakshmi. It takes effort — and Lakshmi values effort — but it can be done. Think about whether you’re in balance with Lakshmi. Keep your thoughts and actions in line with Lakshmi’s values to encourage her to visit and share her treasures.

I wish you love, light, and abundance on your journey.

Join my goddess training at www.facebook.com/groups/goddesswisdom1/ or find me at www.lisamarierankin.com.

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