Do you ever think to yourself that there has to be another way to live life?
I have always had this strong sense that there has to be something more to life than working to make money to buy things that ultimately have no value. I have always felt that there has to be a better way to relate to one another instead of with a lot of frustration, judgment, and bickering. I have always felt that there has to be deeper meaning and purpose to this experience we call life.
I still don’t have it figured out, but I catch glimpse now and then of little things that I can do to change the way I live my life and experience the world. It feels as though our culture emphasizes the experience of suffering. We are basted in a language and culture of judgments and perceptions that we adopt as our truth and reality. We are focused on what we can get and what we have. We are focused on ourselves and getting ahead in life. We are focused on the idealized individual.
We experience suffering because of our perception of life – not because of the circumstances of life. A Course in Miracles talks about how we must “engage in a reversal of thinking.” If we can catch ourselves in those moments when we are identified with the ego, with cultural attitudes, with our individual needs, and with the things we have and the things we want, we can create an opening to change our perception of reality. We can shift from our perceived suffering into joyous expression.
Part of that process, for me, has been to detach from my cultural attachment to material things and status. We think that if we have things we will be happy. If we could just get enough stuff it will fill up that longing inside of us. We think that a certain position in life will sooth our insecurity and fear. The opposite is true. The attachment to things and status will fuel your fear because they are born of fear.
“To have, give all to all” (ACIM). That is the answer. Whatever you give away strengthens what you receive. You can give endlessly through your love and kindness. In return, that is what you will receive and it can never be taken from you. Through giving – not hoarding – you will heal the fear. Rather than remaining invested in the suffering that is caused by your fear, opinions, and judgments you have an opportunity to do something different. All it takes is the willingness to listen to the subtle stirrings in your heart rather than the obnoxious bantering of the ego. Become aware of the moments that you can make a perceptional U-turn.
Practice giving every day. You don’t have to give money – you could give a smile, a wild flower, a cookie, a listening ear, a hug, a compliment, a wink, a high five – the possibilities are endless. Have a creative idea of how to give?