On Vows of Poverty
I think we humans are mostly generous creatures. Most of the time, if we can help those less fortunate than us, we do.
Don’t misunderstand me… I am aware of the incredible number of people suffering… and of the incredible number of people standing by & watching…. and perhaps I’m being overly generous here… perhaps, but that is not the point.
Many of us contribute money, materials, food, or time in some large or small, difficult or easy effort to aid those around us. At times we may wish we could do more, give more… be rich so we could donate more.
OK, let’s switch to a parallel track for a moment…
If we are to help anyone (at any time with anything — a “tool”), we must allow the ‘tool’ to move toward that person… we cannot hold on to (or hoard) that item, feeling, or helping hand. One example is Love. None can experience our Love if we hold onto, misdirect, deflect, or block it… in any way.
The same is true of money. If the coin does not move toward the one in need, that one will never receive it. I know, it sounds kind of simplistic and obvious when put that way… but bear with me for a bit, please.
Every single thing we own, all that stuff we surround ourselves with, originally cost and now is worth a certain number of coin… each coin is one that will not make it to the person in need… because it is not flowing toward that person… it is tied up and held in our possession.
Now I am not suggesting that we all give everything up and live naked in the trees. “Stuff” is necessary for our survival.
But I *am* suggesting that perhaps we think about just how much stuff we have and consume… (for the moment) think simply in terms of money… as if money is a river that flows around us… but we like to store (or keep) lots of it near us. Why do we want to always be wading in the river?
It seems to me that this is the principle physical truth behind the classic vow of poverty.
Yes, those who utter the vow strive for a spiritual focus instead of a worldly one and so commit to not being distracted by stuff. But in the vow, they also commit to not allowing a distraction to become a blocked flow.
Thus we have the spiritual version: a body, soul, and mind free of distraction… as well as a body, soul, and mind which does not block (or hoard) any of the blessings (spiritual & physical) which are flowing around or through us to another.
That $25 book I finished reading long ago is a good, hot meal or even 2-3 days worth of groceries for the homeless guy down by the river… just sitting on a shelf…