Perhaps the Best Gift We Can Give Ourselves: To Go Without

Dedicated to the Highest Good of All…Amen!

What’s the #1 illusion and delusion we suffer from?…
The idea that happiness is something outside of ourselves.

I project my happiness upon so many conditions – and only if all of these conditions are perfectly met – only then can I experience a moment of happiness; but as soon as these conditions are not met, then unhappiness follows.

What kind of life is that?

Some people like to talk about how powerful the mind is, and if you think about something hard enough for long enough, surely it will come to pass. What we think about tends to manifest. So it goes.

So people utilize the power of their mind to think of about money and fame and relationships and cars and houses and whatever else, but those same people forget to look past the material for what really leads to a sense of lasting happiness.

Essentially, lasting happiness in life comes from being of service. To be of service to another is the ultimate gem. And yet it doesn’t have to look like tangible service, e.g. feeding a person or helping another person is not necessarily what it is all about. Rather, any action – even any moment – can be offered in a spirit of service to one and to all, and thereby one’s entire life can be in service to one and to all, even if it looks no different than sequestering in one’s home for months while a plague passes through. Just because there is no physical contact with others, or even mental/emotional contact with others, that does not mean that we cannot be of abundant service. Truly — this might be a big leap of faith — but the greatest service we offer to humanity and to the entire Creation is in our Being, not in our doing. By virtue of how we are moment to moment, e.g. are we generous or are we greedy? – that quality of awareness/consciousness impacts all of humanity, for better or for worse. So each moment is a great opportunity and a great responsibility, becomes every moment impacts the all — all is connected.

Hence, religion is not to be compartmentalized. Our service to humanity is not to be compartmentalized. Life is an integrated whole, and no moment goes unaccounted for. The universe is just indeed, and no hair on our head goes uncounted. So…be vigilant! Love is all-powerful.

And, true confessions – after just tonight watching ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ for probably the 3rd or 4th time in my life, I was struck by the amount of suffering that Chris goes through on his journey to greatness. So much sacrifice, so much perseverance, so much dedication. And so much hardship!

As I sat watching it, I was thinking how hard it was for me to relate to what he was going through. And also considering his story of hardship is likely similar to the story of so many others…how could I not relate?

So then I remembered – I too voluntarily put myself through some trying circumstances for several months – and the reward for those several months of sacrifice and ‘going without’ far exceeded the cost. For about 6 months I lived without spending a single cent — essentially living in faith and as a beneficiary of the goodwill of humanity. And, throughout the course of those 6 months, I was practicing ‘living without money’ with the notion that I was continuing it indefinitely — so there really was no end in sight.

Those 6 months were challenging and yet immensely rewarding, and I’d say they mark the greatest of my life experience. From spending 6 months of going without using a single cent (having previously given away what money I did have) — I emerged with great faith, confidence, and conviction. Moreover, fearless.

Nowadays, I’d say I’ve been somewhat hooked back into the dramas of the worldly and even seduced a bit by the dollar and material comforts, and yet when I can reconnect with those 6 months of living without money – I remember the fearlessness and the beauty of such an integrated and dedicated life.

The details of our lives are not what matter so much — but the values by which we live by and exemplify — those mark us more than anything else.

Currently, I’d say I’m living a dedicated life, specifically in service to an elderly woman who has no family to take care of her.

Of all the virtues and values that I could live by…for me right now I’d say there is none that seems more powerful than non-greed. To abstain from greedy behavior is to live in service to others, and that is a divine life and a beautiful life. To give, give, give, with no thought of receiving – that is beauty.

And perhaps another gem from the 6 months of living without any money: to see beyond the illusion of the world. It is not a source of happiness. Rather, happiness is an inside job. The Kingdom of God is Within, Jesus says. So then, if that Kingdom is Within, then whatever is external must be only secondary to that at best. I mean…honestly…what could be better than the Kingdom of God?

So…with a trust in God, or with a sense for the Kingdom of God Within, there comes a fearlessness which is the result of seeing that nothing external can bring true and lasting happiness, and thereby it is fruitless to attach oneself (either physically, mentally, or emotionally) to anything in the material world. Then, unattached, all outcomes become acceptable, and there is nothing wrong. If I get a peanut butter sandwich for dinner or nothing at all, it really doesn’t matter. Why? Because there is an awareness that everything is okay either way — even that everything is perfect as is! And perhaps there is a trust in God, knowing that each moment provides perfectly.

And…to be at peace with all the comings and goings in the external world…it helps to abide with an attitude of humility: “I don’t know.” Sure, I can think one outcome is better than another, but really – I don’t know. How could I know? To truly know what’s best, I’d need to abide in omniscient awareness. Hence the saying – leave all judgment to God. So, that frees me not only from the burden of judging people, but also judging all the events in the world. It is not my responsibility to praise or condemn anything. Good or bad, who knows? Being aware of the totality of the history of earth and human history, as well as what that means for projections into the future for the next 10, 100, 1000, even 1,000,000 and beyond years, what would I make of today’s events? Well…they are probably perfect!

One of the great leaps of living without money — it is a total placing of trust in God and humanity. In a way, it is like throwing oneself totally at the mercy of others, or at the mercy of God. Which really – actually – sounds like a very safe bet and a good way to go! When left to my own devices, the chances I do something good are not all that great…but when I am voluntarily in service to others, the chances of doing good are much higher — and doing good pays way better than material wealth. The spiritual richness of doing good far exceeds anything the world offers. Similarly, what is the point of feeding the homeless if one does it with a poor attitude? Love, gratitude, goodwill — that is the real currency.

Someone today asked me what she could plant in her garden for me so that there would be food to eat in case all **** hits the fan, so to speak 😉
And to me…the question didn’t resonate – I think because if such circumstances ever came to that, I’m sure I would find myself in either a very active service role or living on a carrot a day or something like that. Basically to say – I’m fairly confident that I’d be one of the last people to ever compete for food with others. The key is…to be of service with no string attached. To offer selfless service to anyone, such a master would be a fool to not give the servant some sustenance – and if that is the case then so be it.

Then, throughout all this – how valuable it is to be at peace with death. One of the great mysteries – when will any of us die? Supposedly it is already set in stone — the time of death — but how it happens has yet to be written! So it is kind of exciting in one sense, and also a great relief that we don’t need to be concerned about living forever in these particular human bodies. I’ve heard the body described as like wearing any other piece of clothing — once the shirt is worn out, you throw it away and put on a new one — so it is with a human body. Of course, at some point we learn all the key lessons that there are learn in human form, and then we move on to the next phase.

So then – what are the key lessons to learn in human form?
Unconditional Love!
Yes…if one can learn to unconditionally love everyone and everything…I’d say that is a fantastically successful human life.
Or if one can learn the glories of selflessness and let every action be dedicated in service to the highest good of one and all — that is divine!
To desire to be of service to others more than any other desire…that’s a good way to go.
To want to know God, to serve God, to Love God, and everything else is second to that…that’s a good way to go.
Or as I’ve seen it said at the Abbey of Gethsemane, “God Alone.”
Which is like saying, “I’m putting God first in my life…so there is really no point of talking about what comes second or third or fourth.” God first; God Alone.
And, of course, God can be completely comprehensive and all-inclusive.
Saying “God Alone” is not like saying, “God is first in my life and screw the rest of you.”
No, it is like saying, “God alone is Real, and I am dedicating my Life to That. God is in you, in me, in all — God is All! And my life is dedicated to realizing that truth completely and living as an example and bearing witness to the glories of that truth.”

God Alone…what a great saying.
Like saying…there is nothing but God.
Thou Art That!

Another one of my favorite God sayings…
God the Obvious!
Like…yes God is everywhere you look, everything you can perceive — so blatantly and abundantly obvious!

God presents…
like the master puppeteer!
If only we could see all the strings being pulled at once, as well as all the strings that were pulled in the entire history of Creation, then maybe we could make some good sense out of what is happening 🙂
For now, acknowledging the string-puller, having faith, and to let your owns strings be pulled — and not resisting the way God pulls our strings to move us to ever greater Love and Service…then that’s the best!

When something ridiculous happens: “Really God? You really just pulled those strings that way? Hmmm…well you certainly know better than I do…since thou art omniscient! I do not claim omniscience…hence I yield to Thee!”

And, of course, it is operating in awareness of the Master Puppeteer and patiently waiting for all your strings to pulled in the most divinely beautiful way might not be everyone’s cup of tea as far as the context for day-to-day life…so when in doubt I’d say it is safe to say some divinely ordained activities include:
–> expressing gratitude and appreciation; giving thanks
–> praying
–> meditating
–> acts of charity, generosity, and giving
–> rendering selfless service
–> feeling compassion for the suffering of others and for the human condition
–> silently blessing people/things
–> any activity that increases your physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual health.

Perhaps to keep it even more simple…when in doubt…as a perfect act is defined in Yoga:
Harm None, Benefit at Least One
That is Perfection in Action!

So…as the Bible says…Be Perfect!

Infinite Love and Peace