Friday, July 25, 2008

Enlightened Living Through Giving


A deeply devoted Zen monk slowly climbed the mountain path. He took even breaths as the air thinned above him. Steadily he made his way to the summit. There he rested. The peace that transcends time, space, religion, and being surrounded him.

If you’re like me and think with your “western” ideas the preceding may be the one of the images your mind conjures when you think of enlightenment. Too often our ideas on consciousness or enlightenment are centered on a mystical almost forbidden impression or religion. This is particularly harmful because it causes us to shun the world within and look for answers in the world without. Great power must come from somewhere, and we have found that it can only be found by reaching within.

Meditation has long been the most direct method of getting in touch with the “other” self. Peace comes through silence and stillness. The Old Testament states it most simply, “Be Still and Know that I Am God (book of Psalms 46:10).” Through silence one comes in contact with the Infinite. God being eternal, omnipotent, and omnipresent exists in the silent cracks of reality. Through the physical process of slowing down the brain waves and being still it is said one can become closer to knowing God.

I have found that living consciously can be accomplished through indirect means as well. Through the act of giving the embodiment of living infinitely can be found. Let me demonstrate how.

Giving comes in many forms it can be physical, monetary, emotional, and expressive. For example giving can be in the form of lending someone your shoulder to cry upon as in an emotional giving situation or as in giving sincere appreciation for a job well done in an expressive giving experience. Many philosophers and intellectuals have correctly identified much of the giving (and perhaps all) is essentially motivated by selfish desires. For example one may give all their possessions to the poor, yet they are doing so to make themselves feel better and imagine they are a helpful person.

Simultaneously, along with our selfish desire being fulfilled, a much greater occurrence takes place! To a varying degree, the giving individual steps outside them self to become conscious to the needs of another. No matter how selfish the “giving” this must occur. The less selfish the act of giving the more one is able to become conscious of the fact that the two seemly separate entities share the same relationship with the Infinite. Once this truth is recognized the idea of giving and receiving clearly shows that both separate parties’ benefit as much as the whole.

The act of giving allows individuals to access a greater power within themselves! Salesmen, great statesmen, and leaders have known this for years. The best salesmen so identify with the desire of their clients they can actually anticipate the need before it happens. Great leaders that identify with their followers put their followers needs before themselves earning the respect and loyalty of the masses. Living a spiritual life does not always entail climbing the mountain of Zen or making a Holy Pilgrimage but can exist in the everyday activities and interactions of our lives.

Beautiful photo by Jerrold

15 comments:

Swubird said...

Sherer:

Your words are so true. For whatever reason, I think us Westerners have become self centered. Maybe it's because we were founded on the bases of individualism. Therefore, what's good for the one is good for the many. Your proposition of what's good for the many is good for the one is more humane, and by extension, more fulfilling.

Wonderfully written, thought-provoking post.

Happy trails.

Sherer said...

Thank you swubird. I appreciate the fine comments and could not agree with your more. As a society we have based our lives on individualism - and look to the world around us for answers or for someone or something to fulfill us. It will never be found that way. Thanks again

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

What another beautiful post. I have a hard time meditating but find the best moments and those that are the most rewarding to me are helping those who can't help themselves which is why I do animal rescue. I agree completely as it is at these moments I feel whole.

The Supplicant said...

As a society we have based our lives on individualism - and look to the world around us for answers or for someone or something to fulfill us.
So true. Look at Mother Tersesa and Gandhi, to name a few. Can you imagine if Jesus had been an individualist?
Another excellent post my friend.

Sherer said...

HealthNut- Thanks for coming by. I appreciate your input as always- meditation is like sleeping - you cant try to do it. In fact anything we "attempt" to do is not what living consciously is all about - funny thing.

Sherer said...

I couldnt agree with you more JD. How else could Mother Teresa, Gandhi and the like have made such a huge impact?

mscherrylane said...

hello...thanks for your comment! I was just thinking the essence of your post last night after my meditative qigong class :)

I also thought...so many people wouldn't have so many problems if they just connected with their innerself more via mediatation, qigong, yoga etc...a lot of modern life isn't conducive to peaceful minds!

Sherer said...

Interesting point you make - modern life is not conducive to peaceful minds. In fact that is a unfortunate state of being. No matter how much success or "busyness" you accomplish it is wasteful for if you are not a peace. Thanks for the comment

Bob Johnson said...

Again, very wise words Jesse. I find giving to be the hardest thing to do, don't get me wrong, I love to give my time, expertise, money, to some extent,lol, just wish I could do it more happily, hey and we can't live apart from this world, we have to live in it, but balance it with the right amount of apartness, make sense?

Sherer said...

You know your right Bob, and i think that point needs to be made - Often these guys talk about being completely self-less however, balance needs to be hand. A complete balance between body, mind, and soul. All need satisfaction for the fulfilled life in my opinion. Otherwise why would we be here? Maybe my next post will be on that

Amyg5923@csu.fullerton.edu said...

Jess,
Great job...you are so right. I completely agree when you state, "Too often our ideas on consciousness or enlightenment are centered on a mystical almost forbidden impression or religion." I love your idea of looking for answers within...and using mediation as the means to accomplish this power. Very well done.

Sherer said...

Thanks for stopping by amy. I appreciate the comment. Its too bad that our society has created this grand rift between the mystics and the practical. I think however, that our society is becoming increasingly interested in the spiritual and that is a good thing indeed.

Healingstones said...

It's true - meditation is experiential - you have to do it to understand what it brings. Your thoughts on a life of giving are true too. I think many people have got a little lost thinking that they can be fulfilled by what they own - but it's just a con manufactured by advertisers to make you buy more stuff that you don't need. And the way to freedom is a life of service to others.(I think the Dalai Lama said that).

Sherer said...

Healing Stones,

Your words are very true and speak much wisdom. However, I believe that society it beginning to become more conscious its "unconsciousness" and we are headed in the right direction

Tabby @ ♥I Choose Bliss♥ said...

I truly loved reading this. I have been on the path of helping others most of my life and your words moved me deeply.