Across time and cultures, humans have attempted to put the spiritual nature of life into a box that they could control. A box they could keep away from others who thought and lived differently than they did; a box that they could hide from themselves when it suited and take out again when they were ready; a box they could claim as theirs and theirs alone.
They even gave names to It. In some cultures It took on multiple names such as in Greek, Roman, Hindu and other cultures. In the 3 religions of the Book, monotheism came forth and it was named God.
Today we live in a world where we have discovered the vastness of the visible universe, the depths of the unseen ocean and microscopic worlds once unknown. And yet much of the world’s view on this spiritual aspect remains rooted in the ancient past.
Not that the past is all bad: we do well to remember the lessons of history. But using 4th, 10th or even 20th Century technology in 2017 would be looked upon as foolish – except in religion.
Take the beliefs around Prosperity prominent in many Christian and New Thought circles. If you follow closely the teachings in these areas (some you can find in earlier posts in this blog!), you’ll see a theme repeated: all you have to do is give to receive.
It seems simple enough. If you want more, give! But is it even simpler than we are making it? What if the act of giving was less an intentional act, and more our state of mind?
Of course, if we began to teach people to stop mindless giving/tithing and work on their inner world – their minds and hearts – many organizations may find themselves cash-short. But I think this is exactly where the evolution of Prosperity and giving is headed in the 21st century.
It is taught in many of these traditions and organizations that you can “learn how” to be prosperous. And it always involves giving 10% of all you make ($) to the teaching organization. The funny thing is, however; while people often experience little gains here and there, rarely do we see significant, life-changing results from the applied practice. And I think it’s because in typical human fashion, we’ve put spiritual Prosperity into a box, just as humankind has done to spirituality in general for eons.
Prosperity comes not when we give “10% to the person/entity where we receive spiritual food” – but when we live our lives with a default response that is generous, no matter what.
Life is generous with us when we are generous in all we do; our thoughts of goodwill, our actions, our time, our kindness and yes, our money. But being generous with our money may not have anything to do with a church or Center.
When someone needs our help, do we give or do we judge and then consider giving? Before we answer, we all need to look closest to home. If we cannot be generous with our family members, we have lessons to learn before we start throwing money into an offering basket and claiming we are provided!
Once we’ve mastered generosity within our family units, it’s time to look at the next circle: our close friends and associates, and this will include our church and spiritual affiliations. Beyond that, our giving to the community and world at large.
This is the lesson at the core of most spiritual traditions, and taught in biblical (& other) stories across time. Honor your father and mother; love your neighbor as yourself; visit the widow and orphan in their time of need.
So as we examine our relationship to prosperity, let’s move beyond the superstitious practices of earlier centuries where it was believed that the right percentages, prayers or practices brought wealth; and move fully into the 21st century, mind, body – and spirit.