Much of the suffering in the world occurs as a result of the perceptions that we are not enough as we are, we do not have enough, we need more than someone else, we are judged by how much we have, or how little we have, and that having equals happiness.At times, we are also judged by what we have and how we don’t give it away.So contrived.
I feel a bit awkward in expressing this, but here goes.In the Bhagavad Gita, in the story of Krishna and Arjuna, Chapter Four:20-22, we learn about the suffering that occurs when we are attached to the outcome of our actions-we are attached to rewards for the result of our actions-our good deeds.This implies that the action itself is not enough.This implies that we don’t ‘do’ anything without being tied to and judged by the result.The proverb “It is better to give than to receive” confuses the real intent of just give.The Buddha became enlightened and shared this wonder with others.Mother Teresa was the embodiment of giving.Gandhi and Christ gave their lives.Literature and written oral history are filled with the stories of the ultimate sacrifice.These all lived knowing that the life we experience here is just part of the journey, and were not attached to this life.They lived within our cultural morays, but also lived with the universal inner truth that when we live out our experiences here expecting nothing for gain, we are responding to the responsibility for our actions, and letting go of the attachment to the fruits of our actions.
When I first began the yogic journey, the limbs of yoga fascinated me, and the yama (first limb) aparigraha-non attachment, has been the most intriguing.In the reading this week, especially timed for the holidays and the practice of gift giving as advertised in stores and on the airwaves, there can be an implication of giving and taking, expectations, and judgments.While this is the human experience, the Self-the Watcher has a different lesson for us.We are not separate.We do not exist independent of others or of the earth that sustains us or of the plants, animals, and minerals within this existence that we share this experience with.This lesson is so expansive we who live within the thinking mind have a hard time wrapping our thoughts around this.We are here to share.We are here for the relationships we experience.We are here to give of our ‘gifts’, our life’s purpose.
How can we cultivate giving as a way of being?When we are nourished, as the old woman was nourished, by the lives of the ants and how we care for them, giving of what we have, then we are connected to the act of being.Eckhart Tolle says, ‘You are here to assist the unfolding of the universe-this is how important you are!’Thich Nhat Hanh: “People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” And, “The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.”Aristotle:“Friendship is one soul occupying two bodies.”Howard Thurman:“Don’t ask what the world needs.Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”Sylvia Rosetti:"Genuine kindness is no ordinary act, but a gift of rare beauty."Gandhi:“I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides.I honor the place in you of light, love, truth, peace, and wisdom.I honor the place in you where, when you are in that place and I am in that place, there’s only one of us.”Christ:"My brothers, what use is it for a man to say he has faith when he does nothing to show it? Can that faith save him? Suppose a brother or a sister is in rags with not enough food for the day, and one of you says, 'Good luck to you, keep yourselves warm, and have plenty to eat', but does nothing to supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So with faith; if it does not lead to action, it is in itself a lifeless thing."An Islam tale:A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation.The traveler left, rejoicing his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious: Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone .”Namaste…