Why We Give
The Philosophy of Generosity
At Unity of Yucaipa we practice an abundance mindset. We also practice expressing an abundance mindset through the act of generosity and giving. Because, though similar, they are not the same. And this abundance practice can be broken down into a three step process:
You must have a belief in abundance. Unity teaches that abundance is the belief that God is the infinite source of all things. God is the source of all our good in every part of our lives; physical, emotional, and spiritual. Abundance (our good) is always available to us. However, if we are in a mindset of limitation, we limit the flow of good into our lives.
You must practice generosity. We believe God is the source of our good, and generosity is sharing that good with the world. However, if we worry we don’t have enough, that will limit what we are willing to share. If we are worried about sharing, this indicates that we don’t have faith in God being the source of our good. To practice true generosity, we must have faith in God as the source of our good. And then give a little more than we are comfortable giving, but not be irresponsible.
You must practice the physical action of giving. In giving we release something of value to us (usually money) in order to serve in a greater way. Our action of giving becomes a catalyst for transformation in our lives. This is why it is written that as we give, we also increase our own supply. It’s a cosmic law; God is the source of our good. In giving we step into the flow of the Law of Circulation, and our good is returned.
Right action must always follow our beliefs, because belief alone does not change our lives anymore than thinking about losing weight will cause us to lose weight. Right thinking directs our focus to the source of our good; God. And right action (giving) is what follows when we are focused on creating more good.
It's good to be back at Unity of Yucaipa.
Enjoy yourself; make friends, be encouraged, give encouragement, and do what your soul does best; shine!
I had never heard the term "spiritual shortcut,” until a few years ago.
Also known as "spiritual bypassing," it just means taking spiritual action without taking any physical action.
At first this didn't make sense to me, because wasn't it the spiritual action that made us more spiritual?
But imagine that you wanted to plan a birthday party for someone you loved. And so you briefly visualize this party in your imagination:
Would you serve food, or just snacks?
Would the balloons and streamers be blue or purple?
Would the birthday cake be red velvet or vanilla?
Would you invite just family, or friends too?
Would it be in the afternoon, or evening?
Imagine that you visualized this party with total clarity to the point where you felt happy and excited just thinking about it.
What would you do next? Create a vision board? Carry a crystal? Say an affirmation about how it was the best birthday party that ever happened on this planet, ever?
Maybe you would (I'd carry the crystal, for sure LOL). But would you stop there? Chances are you'd make a list of things that you needed to purchase, and you'd do some shopping. You'd make a list of attendees, pick a date, and send out invitations. And there's probably even more to do.
So this is why I believe that spiritual shortcuts can keep us stuck.
First off, you are already a spiritual being. In fact, on a soul level you are already in a state of perfect awareness and have the awareness of your perfect wholeness.
But your soul created this human life for a new experience; it’s really kind of a game - to call forth your divinity through your humanity, and all the things you can do in this life.
Now when you create the image of your "birthday party" in your imagination, you've made a blueprint. But without your participation in your physical life, that birthday party will stay in your imagination.
It's your physical actions; your choices, responses, and the way you participate with life that anchors your happy outcome into your life. Once it's anchored in, its manifestation in your life becomes highly probable.
So, as you've made all those plans for this birthday party, and purchased food, decorations, and sent out the invitations; all of that physical preparation (activity) made way for your happy outcome to become a physical event in your life.
Yes, our spiritual life matters. But it's our physical life (and all our activity) that opens the way for our spiritual self to express into our physical world. And to be of service; to be the heart and hands of God in this world, it’s not enough to sit home on our comfy meditation pillow and send out good vibes (though do that too). We have to be participating with Life, and interacting with the world.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said: You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.
Because that's how our soul gets to have all the new experiences IT desires.
I have been part of many spiritual and personal growth communities over the years; church groups, book clubs, Twelve Step Programs, spiritual centers, meet-ups, and masterminds.
I’ve also gone it alone; I’m an introvert, (surprise!) so I tend toward space and quiet.
So it used to be that I had mixed feelings about the power of community; after all, all that we need is available to us, through us, for us, via the indwelling Spirit, right?
A few months ago, at one of our Sundays in the garden, I was struggling with some pre-service tech issues. We’d recently moved, and I was really tired, so my resilience was way low, and the tech issues did me in. I became so frustrated, I even had angry tears (and I may have been yelling at my computer). I did, eventually, get it handled, so by talk time I was good. But I hadn’t done it alone.
Davey Lyons (Aani’s grandson) was in my office with me. I don’t even remember what he said to me, but I remember the look on his face; it was loving, compassionate, and kind. I think he may have been radiating an angel light at me! For real! I was able to breathe, and dive into the issues that needed my attention. Ten minutes later, I felt fine. In fact, I felt better than fine; I felt loved!
There is an African philosophy known as Ubuntu; I am because we are, which means it's being in relationship with others that gives us the opportunity to grow into the brightest version of ourselves. In relationship we remind each other of our light.
At an event not too long ago, we had a candle lighting ceremony outside. We had a single pillar candle that my team and I lit our candles from, and then we went out to the congregation to light their candles. What I hadn't taken into consideration was the breeze that picked up and challenged all our little flames. Soon we were all sheltering our little candles with our hands to keep our own flames lit. And as I'd light someone's candle, mine would go out, and I’d need to get mine re-lit. It took us a little more time than I'd planned, but we did eventually get our candles all lit at the same time. Even though some of us had to relight our candles over and over again.
I love to relive this event in my mind; not only does it bring a smile to my face, but it's the perfect metaphor for why community is invaluable to our own growth; in this world where sometimes our flame goes out, in community there's a very good possibility that someone else in that moment can share the light just when we need it.
Love teacher, Jesus the Christ, said that his greatest commandment was to love each other. And we get to practice that by being in community with each other.
So, can you grow without the support of spiritual communities? Only you can answer that. But for myself, I wouldn't want to. I see no better way to grow than growing together.
In the new thought philosophy, there is a lot of emphasis put on the importance of positive thinking instead of negative thinking. And we all know it feels better to be in a positive frame of mind as opposed to a negative one.
But we do live in a world filled with conditions that catch our attention (like potholes on the street), and :::gasp::: some of these conditions may cause a negative thought to cross your mind (dang potholes – I gotta be careful). Some negative thoughts may even come to you from other people (did you see all those potholes? They are terrible!).
But that negative thought does not matter – it, alone, will not spin your life out of control, and you won’t “attract” a bunch of bad stuff cuz of that one negative thought.
Because it’s not about the negative thought…. it’s about your “thoughts” about that negative thought.
Your thoughts about that negative thought are what cause all the mischief in your mind that can lead to a crisis in negative thinking.
We can have a negative thought, and choose not to entertain it (mischief managed), just like you may see a pothole and choose to just drive around it, and not worry about it the rest of the day.
It’s when we start getting indignant and dwelling on those negative thoughts that the quality of our life can become affected; worrying about the potholes you know about, and having anxiety about the ones you may not know about; fearing you may get swallowed up in one, and being indignant that they exist in the first place.
If you have a negative thought, you can just observe it without getting indignant or dwelling on it. Noticing that negative thought and then choosing not to entertain it can actually strengthen our mental positivity muscles.
The stronger our positivity muscles are, the greater our resilience, and the more open we become to inspired guidance and action.
Big, Big, Love,