Tag: Giving

An Abundant Heart: How Do I Learn to Give?

When you grow up poor, never having enough for yourself, your family, even enough to fill your small belly at dinnertime, you sometimes forget how different others feel about giving. Perhaps, wealthy philanthropists are simply expected to give a certain amount of their money as a tax break. Some who have become rich after a life of poverty give more easily. Some people growing up used to the idea that a tithe if expected of God to the church. I walked to Catholic church myself, most Sundays. Perhaps, a neighbor would drive me. I watched as people put offerings in the basket, but I never quite found the place in my heart that became committed to the idea that there was a God-figure out there in the Universe expecting a payback from anything I received. I tried many times to simply tithe blindly or plan to give in certain ways. Every time, I felt empty and as if was an organic act. For me, it seems that my heart had to learn to let go of the insecurity of not having enough to learn to give generously.

We forget that generosity is a learned behavior. Often times, generosity is halted by old beliefs that you will never have enough—that you must hold on tightly to what you have, so that you will never feel poor again. I get it. I’ve been there. Here is a meditation that respects this mindset and offers a prayer and treatment for a change of heart. (continue reading below…)

Video of the Meditation Below:

 

There was a time in my life when I quit my job in New York to study the scriptures. I was on a completely Christian path then. I remember praying about my needs. During a fast, I received a vision to go to the Actor’s Equity Building. On the 16th floor was a receptionist’s office that had a list of perspective jobs for out-of-work actors. I was told in the vision to apply for the third job in the stack of jobs. The vision was very specific.

I listened to the angels or spirit that was encouraging and leading my heart into my calling, my perfect place on this Earth. I immediately saw that this job was a part-time job that paid $8 an hour. Certainly this was not enough to even pay for my expenses in NYC let alone classes. But, I didn’t pay attention to my brain. I listened to the guidance I received—for the first time in my life. I wanted to live by faith alone.

The job had already been taken by the time I applied, but the owner interviewed me anyway. He was so impressed with me that he called the other person and told him that he wouldn’t need his services. This same man, my boss, was also the owner of a recording studio. It was from the generosity of this same man that I recorded my first Spiritual Demo of music that I had written.

This is a simple story, but a powerful example of changing the course of how you are led. When you release and let go of that which no longer serves you, you make room for Spirit to begin filling your life with what matters. I even was allowed to use the studios that I rented out to people to teach privately, voice and piano, which made me more money than I had had in many months living in the city.

Your prosperity and Spirit’s leading in your life may take a few years of planting seeds and nurturing them for the substance of your prayers to manifest, but it will happen. Trust me. I am living proof of this.

This meditation is an extension of this belief. I hope you enjoy it and encourage friends to join our meditation group.

 

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A Pocket Full of Change

As I have gotten older, when I receive change at a store from using cash—which isn’t very often—I usually put it in this cleverly disguised piece of pottery on my desk. I keep the coins there until the container is almost full and then give it to my mother. The look on Mom’s face is always worth the wait. She loves collecting change, packing it in those coin slips, and taking her treasure to the bank. I had a best friend who would save way more change than I had ever dreamed of having and would give it to Mom on Christmas and her birthday. Again, she had the same wide eyes, like children on holidays. He enjoyed her gasps more than I did.

Change brings me back to the story in the bible about the woman who brought all of her few pennies to the altar and offered it up as her gift to the church and to God. God saw her offering as special because she gave almost all that she had, as opposed to the people who gave large offerings of only a very small portion of their wealth.

I have given in both ways. When I gave all that I had, the offering was more a gift of faith. I believed in my heart that, as I gave and left my coffers empty that God would, indeed, fill it with more than I could imagine. Sometimes this miracle happened in unexpected ways, sometimes not.

I’ve, also, given a tithe (a tenth) of what I had received from working as a gift to the church or to the poor. I did this for many years and did see that I rarely ever noticed that my bank account had less in it than I needed. But, one day, I was giving in that same manner and my finances began to crash. I didn’t seem to have enough to get through the month without stressing. I stopped believing in the reciprocity of God, became resentful of my tithe, and decided that I should stop giving until I was not resentful. I remembered the scripture in Matthew 5:24 that says just leave your offering at the altar and go be reconciled to your brother. I figured that meant giving without forgiveness, even to God, was not a good thing. For many months I put nothing in the basket.

After many years of wondering just what Spirit expected of me about giving, I decided that my entire life is a gift, if I let it be. If I am a conduit of God, a place where spirit can manifest any and all to the earth as Itself through me, then I have given the greatest gift I can give to God and to the earth. Money won’t be an object, giving will be a matter of what I have, when I have it, and will be there for whatever I need it to be.

In this way, I have acted for quite some time. Some days, I feel the church really needs money. Some days I feel as if my sister or mother of friend might need the majority of my money a lot more. However, I do consider that if I very easily will spend thirty dollars on a fun dinner with a friend or a drink, I should, also, consider that supporting my church for sitting there, the electricity, the payment of the staff.

Working at a church for most of my life or being a volunteer, I realize that churches are businesses ,too. They need money to function. Most people who sit in the pews don’t really understand how that works. They will drop 100 dollars at a live concert and get a modicum of joy from it, but then sit in church every Sunday expecting to get undergirded with peace and good thoughts, but not place any of their finances toward that very important aspect of their lives. So, if I have a prosperous week, I make sure I have supported the many ways life had supported me—the church is definitely one of those.

I have nothing and no one to force me to write this message, as I’m not a church. So, you can see, I have nothing to gain by sharing this message, so don’t take it as a resentful ploy to get your money. I’m simply sharing a truth. The universe has laws—big laws. Two of them are the love of sowing and reaping, and the law of prosperity. Both require that you place your energy and money as seeds into the universe, so that even your own finances will grow as your give. Money is not meant to store away for all of eternity. I have had friends who have done that and kept waiting to retire to enjoy it. They never got the chance to use it because of untimely deaths.

Even if it’s just the change you collect from week, start to give. I don’t really care whom you give to, but give it. You’ll notice a change in your attitude and certainly in the idea of abundance in your life.

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Giving Improves Self Worth

The second Noble Truth in Buddhist teaches that the inability to be content with what we have or who we are comes when our minds are filled with greed or desire. Suffering of all types automatically follows. This attitude of selfishness and greediness is the primary cause of dissatisfaction in life, eventually robbing us of our peace of mind.

I think of this truth often as I pursue life and pursue it more abundantly. What exactly is prosperity in my life if it expresses as anxiety? When something stymies my joy, I automatically refer to the ancient Buddhist idea that all in the human path is suffering. To be released from suffering, I must liberate myself from Self-ishness or the Ego’s insufferable need to have more, be more, eat more and covet more.

In the process of releasing the ego, I recognize that it is in the giving to the world that true happiness comes. I made a pact with Spirit long ago that as I am a giver to life and of my abundance, I will be taken care of according to the riches of God in heaven. As I have believed completely in this prayer, I have never been remiss of the money or the food or the clothes or the dwelling I would need to live a completely comfortable life.

A vast difference comes between creating and working for money and creating and working from a deep place in the soul that wants to be a conduit for good. The exact amount of money, business, people, clients, friends, and love comes to your life automatically because of understanding this one Noble Truth: It is not with taking we find joy, but with giving from the human condition as a funnel for God’s good, that we experience peace beyond all understanding.

If you have found that your life is void of love, joy, prosperity, or peace; you need not worry any longer. One simple solution to all of the above is giving of your self. When you do this, every part of your being feels peace and joy. With this, you develop a sense of purpose to life. With purpose automatically comes self worth.

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