*Brian Wilcox. '1 + 1 = 1.' Flickr
A continuance of dialogues with a sage who did not see himself as a sage, but others did; from Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."
* * *
the gift of yourself by yourself
to the Giver of yourself
this is the ultimate gift
the root of the tree of
all spiritual religion
* * *
Sometimes, I feel I've little to give others. I would like to have more to share. Then I become sad. I see others more talented or who have more money, but I seem to have little to give.
Do not measure what you give; when you do this, you are measuring from what you did not give. You are speaking from the person, the person measures, compares. The person, even in spirituality, will look in terms of progress, profit, for others and self. Spirit does not measure, does not think more or less. All Spirit is is in a single act of kindness, even for one moment. That one moment is filled with the Universe, with God. I share a story.
I spoke at a series of religious meetings: we called them revivals. I was a preacher, in my twenties and with little income, going to graduate school, and a little was a lot to me financially. I recall near that time not being able to spend forty-five cents to purchase a drink. After sharing over a week nightly before this church, the last night the people blessed me with money and with what money cannot purchase, love. They had me stand in the front of the sanctuary. Each one there came by and shared love: well-wishing and hugging and expressing appreciation. It was wonderful! A shower of blessings raining down on me! They gave me a check to cash, also. Afterward, in my car, I opened the envelope to see over three-hundred dollars. I was gladdened, and this was a lot of money for me, a lot. This may, at that time, have been the most money I had held in my hands. Yet, it did not equal the sum in my heart of what one small boy blessed me with. Earlier, as the people came to bless me up front, this lad, about ten years of age, stood before me. Smiling, he reached out his hand. He placed something in it. It was a quarter, twenty-give cents. Some would say, a meager sum. Yet, this was not a small gift. This was a gift beyond measure. Do you see?
That meant as much to you as the gift from the whole church?
In the Gospel, Jesus was in the temple courts in Jerusalem. He looked up and saw wealthy people dropping offerings in the collection box. He saw a poor widow put in two copper coins, roughly equal to two pennies, or wages for one day of work for a common laborer then. He said that she had given by far the most, much more than the others. They, he observed, gave from their much, she gave from her little, in fact, gave all she had to give.
But I was brought up under the teaching that we owe God ten-percent, a tithe.
The Divine is not a cosmic calculator. Tithing by command is the way of law, of demand, of you should and you must. A gift is not something you owe. In love, even for God, owing anything dissolves in pure grace. In God, you owe God nothing, yet you can give God everything. It is ignorance when persons say the Supreme commands you to give money. It is foolishness when preachers say persons are living in grace, and their God demands a certain sum from them. They want grace and law, when it suits them.
Then, I need not to tithe?
Now, if you want to give a tithe, or less, or more as a gift, good. Religious and spiritual groups often need income to function. That is just part of the world we live in. And giving in return for how others give to you, that is a blessing, an honor, a sacred exchange. Money, as all goods, are meant to flow, that is the nature of life. Give to whatever or whomever you choose. Yet, you cannot walk in the Spirit and walk in the law at the same time. You cannot walk in should and should not and in freedom together, you cannot live in necessity and gracefulness at once. In the Christian Bible, the apostle Paul writes to the church in Galatia, one he helped found, for they had been taught, after he left, that they must obey religious law. Paul writes, saying, "O foolish Galatians, who has cast a spell on you?" The Authorized Version reads, "... who has bewitched you?" Interesting choice of words. Do not fall under the spell that you owe the Supreme Being, or anyone, anything. Then, you, like the boy who gifted me with a quarter, can freely give, and gracefully. And, note, the sense of owing arises from the person, not the Self. The Heart never feels it owes anyone anything, not even the Supreme. The Heart freely loves, and naturally, not from a sense of necessity. The Heart even gives love to the Supreme, not for the Supreme needs love or expects love, but for love is the nature of the Heart and loving the Supreme is the Heart loving Itself.
This helps me, for it also seems to apply to nonmonetary gifts, all my devotion to the Divine and others.
The Way of Grace is the Word, the Reason of the Universe. The Way applies equally in all and to all. What applies in giving and receiving money, applies in giving and receiving anything. Even if you smile to someone, it is freely given. You do not think, "I must smile." Who wants to be smiled at with a must-smile. No, the smile expresses your freedom, love. As you draw near Grace, you become more graceful in all you do, even how you communicate to others silently. The universal Self is constantly giving, without even giving thought to it. The sense of person becomes, then, the means of spontaneous giving, when joined with the universal Self. Giving just happens.
So, this applies to your frequent reference to surrender or to relax.
Yes, release the need to control what is received and given. Even meditation can be seen as a gift to the Beloved, and to your own true Heart. One, if following the path, is blessed to move beyond entering silence as something I ought to do or need to do, to something I want to do. The quality of want-to inspires one to enter silence to be with the Supreme Being, as gift, as loving. You are, then, meditating as prasad to the Beloved, you are offering yourself as prasad. There is no separation between what you give and yourself, it is a wholly-giving. You are putting yourself in the mouth of Grace, saying, "Consume me in Yourself."
What is prasad?
Prasad is, as Jesus taught, "Love the Supreme, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength." This he took from his own Jewish faith, meaning, "Love the All with all of you." In Indian religion prasad is a food offering to the God. In love you feed the Beloved. In self-offering you feed the Supreme Being with your own being. In this giving of self, the Self shines in love. You lose nothing, the Beloved you discover was and is the All. If the Beloved is All, is the All, you cannot have more or less, when you are had by the Beloved. So, the ultimate gift is to place yourself in the mouth of Grace, and say, "Eat me, so that I may become You." This, again, is the intimacy which I often refer to: so intimate, even intimate does not apply anymore. The gift of yourself to the Giver of yourself, this is the ultimate gift. This is wonderfully crazy, a beautiful craziness, a wild loving. There is a wise recklessness about this, in which is really no risk at all.
May we all live together, in Peace!
*Brian Wilcox. 'Bathed in the Light of Grace'. Flickr
(C)Brian K. Wilcox, 2019
The theme of "Lotus of the Heart" is 'Living in Love beyond Beliefs.' This work is presented by Brian K. Wilcox, of Maine, USA. You can order Brian's book An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, through major online booksellers.