“Whatever thou doest unto the least of these thou doest unto Me.” A few weeks ago (mid-May) I found this quotation carved into the base of a tiny statue of Jesus, his right palm open and facing forward, his left hand with index finger pointing to his heart, at his feet a lamb, looking upward trustingly.
The statue faced me as I meditated in a little seclusion cabin at Ananda’s Meditation Retreat. In the stillness of my seclusion this simple object took on levels of meaning that would have eluded me in busier times. Here was the cycle of tithing – a flow outward when there is need, and a reciprocal inward flow into the heart of the giver.
Outward going to the Divine manifested in the world is balanced by an increasing joyful awareness of the Divine within one’s own heart.
In the same seclusion, I read again Swami Kriyananda’s beautiful parable, “The Shawl of Gold.” A little girl, desperately poor, dressed in rags, without home or work, is turned away scornfully by a complacent rich man about to enter a church filled (we assume) with similarly shallow and selfish churchgoers.
Walking forlornly down the street, she comes upon a little boy, cold and hungry, without shoes or jacket, shut out of shelter and warmth. With spontaneous compassion, the girl wraps the little boy in her threadbare shawl. At once giver and receiver are filled with warmth and comfort, and hear a tender, heavenly voice speaking:
“My daughter, I am here.
No more shall you weep without friends!
…My child, all men’s sorrows would turn to joy
If they knew that to share is no loss…
Worship means but love, and My love you’ve found
By your gift to Me here in the cold.”
And she saw their clothes were
now woolen and warm,
And the shawl was now spun of fine gold.
On May 19, Swamiji’s birthday, we had a celebratory all-community meditation, and this after a weekend devoted to groundbreaking ceremonies for the Moksha Mandir that so many of you have helped make possible. Early in the meditation, we listened to a recorded talk by Swami: love is giving and sharing, not taking for oneself.
From my corner seat in the very back of the temple, I realized that all during the three magical days, and culminating in this meditation, I had been witnessing Swami’s own spirit of giving and sharing being expressed through everyone involved.
I saw one of those gathered push his blanket toward someone who seemed cold. Another, someone I know to be very easily chilled, offered her blanket to the first. Everywhere was a vibration of kindness, consideration for others, little movements to make space for late arrivals, even subtler movements to create an aura of welcome.
Little things in themselves, but in concert, here was manifesting the truth of; “The Shawl of Gold,” and the truth of Swamiji’s own spirit of giving, now pouring so naturally and sweetly through the hearts and actions of all these good people who love God and who have dedicated their lives to serving God in all mankind.
In divine friendship,
For Ananda’s “Thank you, God” Tithing