Dear Friend,

“Why did God create the universe?” Swami Kriyananda was asked one day. “It is His nature to expand. He is a thought. Only through thought can we keep expanding the concept of something.”

Our level of consciousness, in a very real sense, determines our thoughts. Swami Kriyananda has often counseled us not to identify with negative definitions of ourselves. These negative thoughts, over time, can become our reality.

God, the essence of who we are, is pure bliss. We block this perception that is our birthright with countless veils of who we think we are. God’s joy is within you right now.

Swami Kriyananda has also said the joy is the solution, not just the goal. It’s almost impossible for the rational mind to understand this statement. Like all spiritual truths, you need to experience this transformative process to know its truth. Let’s face it, for most of us, our thought process is immersed in delusion.

Swami has sometimes said you have to “trick the mind.” Affirm that you feel God’s joy and that you are not your thoughts—you are joy. This takes perseverance, but you will begin to get glimpses of this joy. Hang onto those moments and try to lengthen them. Some day, you will live in God’s joy all the time. That is your true reality.

With this in mind, if you have any fear about money, and you think about it a lot, that will be part of your reality. If you think with fear around money, it can eventually turn into a “sense of lack.” This is where tithing can help.

Gratitude is one of the supreme virtues. When you receive any money, make your first thought about God and how grateful you are for all He has given you. If at first you don’t really feel grateful, pretend you are grateful. This seed thought will eventually become part of your reality.

Every time you tithe—even if you start out by giving 1 percent of your income, tell God: “Lord, I love you. You are behind everything I am given. I want to give back to you a portion of what you have given me.” Once again, if you persevere with this thought, the fear thought will eventually dissolve and you will feel your underlying reality—joy.

An individual recently wrote me, “I have tried to give to churches only to see the pastors squander the money on themselves with lavish trips and expensive cars. I think to myself, how is this helping God? I decided to instead to give money to places such as ‘Habitat for Humanity,’ or simply donate my time to someone in need.” Donating to worthy causes is a very good practice.

You can help shape a better world with donations. But in the truest sense, a donation is not necessarily a tithe. The difference between donating and tithing is your intention to offer your “first fruits” back to God. Tithing regularly, by including God in our giving, can change your consciousness and thereby influence the world on a level of consciousness.

Today I received the following comment from an individual who made an online gift to Ananda: “I feel loved and blessed and want to give where I get my spiritual food from.” This is the essence of tithing.

Joy to you!

Dave Bingham
“Thank You, God”

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