Spirit of Giving
Perhaps I’ll never understand the reasons for senseless death. Through all my years of spiritual study, never have I found a meaning that satisfies my need to know how innocent children can be killed. Some say, we choose our paths before we are born. That we choose these hardships to know expansion. For instance, anyone who has every truly healed themselves from trauma, helped others heal, learned how to forgive… these people have a deeper capability to know love. Even a simple thing, like finally getting over a bad cold.. we feel freedom for a few days before we fall back into unawareness and take our health for granted. Sometimes, the deeper our sadnesses, the deeper our happiness on the other side. However, seeing the images of dead children, bloodied children in Aleppo, I don’t think the Dali Lama himself can explain these things in a way for my heart to comprehend.
And yet, the mind and heart are vast in their complexities. And so I can’t explain why some of us are taken in ways cruel and unfair.. I also know that we can affect our deaths. We can at least work on ourselves everyday so that we can go peacefully when the time comes. Through yoga, meditation, walks in nature, we can calm our minds. When we get diagnosed with diseases, fall off our horses, have mishaps with ice… we are given an opportunity to remember that life is short. We have a chance to ask ourselves how am I fulfilling my heart and spirit? For the people in the war torn hells in Earth, no I can’t fathom asking these questions when you are trying to simply survive,,, but then there are others who find themselves and wake up to their expanse of love by helping, and the deeper the need for help, the greater the reward of fulfillment from helping. We do not have to look far to find someone to help. And sometimes, we don’t have to do much to be helpful. I remember a homeless guy once told me thank you for lighting up his day with my smile. I didn’t even have any money to give him at the time.
For the empathetic soul, it can get overwhelming. Once you start seeing all the four leggeds, swimming and winged ones in need, it’s hard to even get past those atrocities to also find the compassion and time to help our fellow two leggeds. When we see the ocean being polluted and governments turning their backs, we want to throw our hands up and accept defeat. But if each one of us, chose one cause to fight for, whether through activism, time or money… so much could be done. Giving to local charities can be very rewarding because you can physically see the effect. But the world is also full of suffering and help is needed everywhere.
And no one says you can’t take a rest. While I couldn’t physically go to Standing Rock: I had prayer ceremonies, sent money, donated clothes gathered from community, cleaned about ten pounds of cedar to mail, and now.. I just need a break . I need a break from Aleppo news. For this week going into the lengthening of the light, I will not click on Donald Trump’s image. I need one week of positivity and love. I have seen some of my activist friends, burn out. I have an elder friend who is no longer with us, tell me a story about loosing his family after the Vietnam War, for spending so much time trying to speak out against it. Balance is key! And so for this week, I will gather with friends, be with family, eat well, and enjoy myself. We have to be good to ourselves too! Garner strength, rest, and then when you wake up one day in early January, choose one way to be of service. The holidays are wonderful because many people truly do inhabit the spirit of giving. But there are always people in need.And for those of us who become too preoccupied, or forgetful, or busy… like an oil change or dentist appointment, you find ways to make the time. And when you take care of maintenance, you realize things run better. This is more like spiritual maintenance. After volunteering, running for breast cancer, adopting a foster dog, donating to a cause… whatever it may be, the heart always alights. While the tragedies may never make sense around us, let’s all do what we can to effect the causes we can. Let’s make each day better than the next.
How will you donate to your own, another’s or the planets betterment? We never know when it will be ourselves needing the help. Maybe it starts with a little intention of today I will be kind to myself. I will not allow negative thoughts about myself enter my mind. Or if I find myself judging others, I will ask how am I different from that which I judge? How am I responsible? Perhaps, in the end,, there are no answers to what our true purpose here on Earth is. Maybe, just maybe, the idea is to keep searching for Love..and when it touches you for a second, a week, a year or a lifetime, give thanks.