Giving and receiving…something our hearts are literally experts at, is something our minds seem at times to wrestle with…caught in a kind of basic of disequilibrium. The great teachers are all around us…. in repetitive patience Earth teaches us again and again all we need to know about this sacred dynamic.
I have been captivated of late, by the idea of sacred economics. I surround myself with questions of how we might alter our ways with money to allow that system to actually support life on Earth. Yesterday, in a brief but generous email exchange, I was offered a quote that came from Lewis Hyde’s book, The Gift. My heart responded to it and wondered how this idea had become so foreign in much of our world:
- “The begging bowl of the Buddha, Thomas Merton has said, “represents the ultimate theological root of the belief, not just in the right to beg, but in the openness to the gifts of all beings as an expression of the interdependence of all beings…The whole idea of compassion, which is central to Mahayana Buddhism, is based on an awareness of the interdependence of all living beings…thus when the monk begs from the layman and receives a gift from the laymen, it is not as selfish person getting something from somebody else. He is simply opening himself to this interdependence.”
While the economic pendulum has swung far in one direction, supporting a top down, hierarchical system that cares little for the masses, the interdependence remains as a spiritual truth that cannot be denied if our eyes are open to the environmental world. Sacred reciprocity, respectful give and take, balanced movement of offer and ask, effort and release, are all laws within the Earth garden that mentors us. I wonder how quickly things would change if we all gave what we could, when we can, to things that inspire us, tug on our hearts, or that enliven our souls. Last week I donated what I could to creating an elephant sanctuary in Brazil, planting trees in the denuded rainforest, and to a seed saving project. This was a gift to me to be able to support these things. And when we cannot give, we ask for support. I did this too, last year …many of you generously gave what you could, from $5 - $1000. I was supported in my soulful and spiritual growth which has me here on the eve of a new verdant mentoring project now. I have experienced this magic.
So in the end, our hearts make the world of interdependence work. Because it so intimately knows that it MUST receive blood in order to give it back out, our spiritual heart somehow knows and can lead us in the give and take of a kind of spiritual economics…or let me call it environmental economics or maybe the economic ecosystem. When we call on people in our lives whom we love for support, suddenly we are gifted substantially, as are they, I believe, sometimes in unexpected ways. And when we give what we can to others in need, together we offer something of wholeness to the world.
“Saving one animal won’t change the world, but it will change the world for that animal!”