Meditations on Kindness, Part 1: What is Spiritual Wealth?

img_2089Wherever we are in the world nowadays, we have watched our city streets fatten with light. We all find it so beautiful, and it is. Something of this festive illumination landscape we communally create can speak to us at a soul level no matter we feel close to a faith or not. Perhaps it’s an effusive joy in appreciating each other’s better humanity that serves to connect us more deeply to the well of kindness we each carry within. Yes, holiday time can certainly affirm what we most cherish as values—— the sensation of togetherness and laughter and fellow appreciation and happy nourishing. Yet, how can we illuminate this center point of good feeling for ourselves into each day of our year at all times?

Come January, we soon get set on resolutions, new deadlines, in place of making a significant change of awareness in how we can more greatly preserve the happiness and openness to the day upon a more peaceful light that we so valued and craved over the holiday season. About mid-January, many of us may feel a bit rested and yet, somewhere still, many of us are still feeling lost in translation just the same. We sense how the holiday charge of cheer through loving and giving somehow seems to disband about and around us. Our energies to soar can lower. By January’s end, we also tend to get back to the old habit of looking for outside posts of accomplishment or recognition that say we have arrived, almost to the point of forgetting what we did to light our way to then.

So what is it that we are so missing?

As I write, something in my spirit remains dumbfounded in the digestion of the perennial repeat imagery I tend to see around the holiday time period on the news: stampedes of people in line for hours and then running to attain the next best acquisition, ironically one day after so much giving and receiving, and after months of trying to figure out the next best thing to show or to feel of love. What acquisition or best buy, I wonder, can so fulfill? And what acquisition can often merit being so entirely remiss of being kind to others in the getting to there? Is it that we are connected or disconnected to the spirit of giving in our deep?

img_2090That human hunger reemerging in us to quell the feeling of not ever having enough and of our in someway not ever being enough pervades us near year round. If after going to the mall and receiving gifts and if focusing on earning so we can be accumulating more material possession or opportunity hasn’t given us what we really want, wouldn’t it be a good time to get something else? What if we got away from confusing our hearts with the fleeting comforts of a material wealth and all its trimmings that come with the holiday cheer and flew even but a bit more steadfastly towards a true richness of an abiding spiritual wealth in an everyday practice of kindness?

What is spiritual wealth exactly? A peaceful heart knows this: It’s knowing you are rich when you never need more than you have.

I enjoyed some conversation with someone recently who had reflected deeply on her blessings of the year. She came up with this beautiful adage: “We may not have everything all together. But altogether, we have everything.” My heart lit up and expanded into a wide ocean of calm to receive such a beautiful summation of what I know to be true. The life point that her awareness bejeweled is as strong as the gentle humility that is evident in every glistening sky star.

It isn’t that material wealth isn’t synonymous with spiritual wealth. There are many well-to-do people who do beautiful things with their blessing and many who do not. And I, likely like you, have seen many impoverished people without any material power who have incredible spiritual wealth and are the more powerful force of the two. What makes that so?

img_2091An adolescent I met in the favela of Rocinha in Rio de Janiero comes to mind. Marcela’s outpouring of kindness to anyone around illuminated her whereabouts and her optimistic grit in the face of her challenges masterfully outstripped the bare essentials she could not take for granted. Another wise teacher comes from thirteen-year-old poet and philosopher Mattie Stepanek, sadly now departed. In facing a life threatening congenital illness, he somehow figured out rather quickly that to enjoy what had been given, it was better to ask his day “Why not me?” over any anxious else. This alone gave his life meaning, a creative energy to grow on, and a suffusion of limitless love to carry his way. Spiritual wealth over a material wealth is also why a homeless person can be the greatest teacher above any gilded king.

True wealth, you see, is to be immersed in an undiluted gratitude for what is already. It’s quite a mystery that we know it and that we can simultaneously constantly lose it as a value necessary of belonging only to the simpleton or the Fool. Gratitude is more acutely there when you appreciate and know that within this given moment you never need more than you have. True wealth is to also know that within this experience being offered to you that you are who you are and that this is enough on its own for anyone to be loved. The rich pocketbook is one in which not much else can really come in between. A rich pocketbook is also one in which a heart’s openness to a discipline of kindness filters the throughway constantly to more appreciatively hold open the life door.

img_2092So how rich are you?

Were we to hold to this kindness wealth as our compass, many of the resolutions we desire would also more likely succeed. I say this because most hard-won successes we most desire come through from our appreciating a deeper self-love within; and, were we to hold on to this compass, the very resolution of practicing a daily kindness into our doings and our beingness would so infuse us that our new year resolutions would become a stronger secondary means of success.

What if to start 2017 and what if to begin the simple blessing of being able to wake up to our breath each day we then grew upon this awareness? And what if we focused on what being rich in life as a daily recourse is truly all about? What if we took stock of what true power and wealth comprises within when we go back to our everyday human hat January routines and took enough care to own and nourish it every giving day of the year?

I believe if we did, we would all get far less lost in the translation between material and spiritual wealth no matter the calls of the many status posts out there that can bombard us within a year. We would also likely envy less feeling so rich on our kindnesses alone. And I guess to accomplish that, we would need better sort what it means to be inviolably wealthy to begin and to investigate a new process for happiness and expand our point of view.

signaturePhotography by Marina Mashaal

Showing 2 comments
  • Laurie

    Beautiful piece! Thanks for the reminder on how to live richly!

    • myheartspeak

      Thank you! And thank you for sharing. Hope you enjoy visiting again.

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