UNIVERSAL LAWS, proper perspective
The power of giving in our lives
The Day Pope John Paul met Ronald McDonald
by Shawn Stoner
We all desire to be giving people. In the current awareness of our society there is an idea that one cannot give of something until they have it within themselves. One way I have heard this idea expressed is that one can not love another person until they learn to love themselves. Yet as Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, “Thy utterances have a wise sound, but yet, express only the outer wisdom, and fail to show the flower of the inner doctrine of the wise. They are true and yet not wholly true — the half truth is apparent — but the missing half is the deeper portion.” The deeper truth is that in order to know what we have we must give it. By loving others I learn about love, including love of the Self. By learning to embrace you, I learn to embrace my own Self.
Love, just like any other quality or expression that I would want to give, is not a separate experience that I must first have within myself before I can share it with you. By giving of ourselves beyond the physical sense of the word, by using every opportunity to cultivate an attitude of giving, we become aware of what we have to offer.
Many experiences have brought my awareness of the power of giving to this place. Recently, a student of mine and I went to the Ronald McDonald house to give a donation to one of the families there. If you have never been to one of these houses, I strongly suggest that you go. The lady who we had made the arrangements through gave us a tour showing us the building and all of the facilities that they have available. The houses are completely run on donations, from the bricks used to construct them, to the toys in the children’s playroom. They are available to families whose children are in long-term treatment for illness. Families can come and stay as long as they need to for only $10 a night, however the houses never turn someone away. If there are no rooms available, the houses will pay for the family to stay in a hotel nearby until a room is available.
As Meredith was telling us all of this and showing us their facility, tears kept welling up in my eyes – I could feel the love in every space of the building. It was a palpable presence in the air. And the building was beautiful. I could tell that the individuals who volunteered their time and materials had given their best – not their leftovers of the things that they did not want or have a need for. The whole building had an air of sumptuous comfort, very much like a well-to-do family’s home.
The furniture was beautiful, the art hanging on the walls was inspiring, and the kitchen was huge. Meredith told us that they provide three meals a day for the families and that almost all of the food comes from volunteer groups. They have two kitchens, a communal kitchen for group meals and a private kitchen if families want to prepare and keep their own food. By the time it came for us to give the money to the family, I was struggling a bit to maintain my composure. We walked into the room where they were sitting, watching TV. Meredith announced us by saying that she had some friends who wanted to give them something. We gave the money to the daughter who was there for treatment. An eighteen-year-old girl, she had been born with no arms or legs. When she saw that the envelope that she had been given was full of money, she kept asking, “Why?” Several times I repeated in answer to her, “Just because.” And echoing in my mind, “I love you just because you are.”
We left soon afterwards and I was struck by many things that evening as I drove home. First and foremost I was inspired by the quality of what had been given. Those who had donated to the house had given their best. They had given out of the pure desire to be of service and help. I felt a bit humbled that evening and I knew that I had learned some important lessons.
Early on in my studies with the School of Metaphysics, soon after I moved into the school in Oklahoma City and began teaching a course in Applied Metaphysics, I reached a new point of giving in my life. I was becoming aware of attitudes that previously I ignored. I had always thought of myself as a very giving person, always willing to go the extra mile, always willing to lend a helping hand. But as the old adage says, the proof is in the pudding, and the new ways that I was giving in my life were bringing to light attitudes that I didn’t particularly like. I was reacting to the new time constraints I felt had been placed on my life (as if I wasn’t the one who had made the choices!).
One day as I was driving down the road, I was thinking about all of this, and said to myself, “When am I going to have time for me? When am I going to have time for the things that I like to do?”
Suddenly, I heard a voice very clearly in my mind, “This is not about you. This is not about whether you are emotionally comfortable or temporarily ‘happy’ or whether you even get what you think you have to have to be happy. This is about the people whose lives you have the opportunity to touch. You’ve said for years that you wanted to be a channel for God’s truth – well, now’s the time to start living it.”
At that moment I realized that the voice was right. This was not about me and what I thought that I had to have – this was about serving God. Although I would come across more limitations within myself over the next year, this experience served to remind me of the purpose for the choices that I had made for my life.
And the voice was right, for years I had held within my mind the ideal of living my life as a channel for the truth of God’s love and power in our lives. And now I did have the opportunity to start living it in a way that had not been present in my life up until that point. I was beginning to manifest the image that I had held for myself.
About a year later, I was again driving in my car, this time to the School of Metaphysics World Headquarters, to attend the monthly Directors meetings. By this time I had moved to Dallas, the city of my birth, in large part due to the advice of an intuitive report. In the Past Life Profile that I received at Lesson 30 of my studies it advised,
|“Would suggest to this one to place the Self in positions of responsibility, in positions where this one is accountable to other people. For we see that this one is motivated by this and this would create the conditions in this one’s life where this one would continually move forward rather than staying within what this one might see as a comfort zone, although this one experiences discomfort there. It’s more that this is familiar to this one. Would suggest that this one be willing to put the Self on the line. This is most important at this time.” (9499CAA3)|
So I had swallowed my fear, put my Self on the line and said that I wanted to move to Dallas to direct the School of Metaphysics there.
There I was, driving to Windyville for our monthly meeting, and I was listening to a biography of the Pope on tape. The whole story was very moving and I was caught up in the images of WWII Poland and the Krakow of the 50’s and 60’s. Pope John Paul II had served as the Archbishop of Krakow during the time in history when Poland was still an Eastern Bloc Country and under Communist leadership. The focus of his ministry from the start had always been on the people he was being led to serve. The government would not give the Church building permits. He would have his priests go out among the people and the cities that did not have churches, build a congregation and then ask the government for a permit for a building.
The story was being told of a priest who worked for ten years to build a parish. When he first moved to the city that he served in, he built a small wooden hut in the middle of a field and officiated mass from this hut. Over the years he built a strong following of people within this city, but suffered under constant harassment from the local government and police officers. He was frequently thrown in jail and interrogated. Over time the strain of this was too much, and he died of a nervous disorder.
As I listened to this story, tears welled up in my eyes at the purity of this man’s love toward the people he served and his dedication to what he saw as his duty to God. I had a very powerful image appear in my mind of this man and almost as if it was superimposed in his place, I saw myself. Once again, I heard a voice say to me, “It is you. Would you be willing to do the same?” Now I was sobbing, as the power of the experience moved through me. I saw images of those things in my life that I thought I had to have in order to be happy and fulfilled. I saw my family, I saw my job, I saw my car, my friends in the school, my teachers, the future that I so wanted, and to all of this I said, “Yes, I would give this all up to be a servant of the Lord, to be a teacher of God’s truth and power and love.”
The images continued and to all of them I replied inwardly, “Yes, this too I would give up.” I saw my comfortable lifestyle — all the material things that I take for granted as an American. I saw the beloved face of my fiance Adam and the future that we have planned together as teachers, students, and parents living our lives within the structure of the School of Metaphysics. And even to this I said, “Yes, this too I would give up.” I felt years of resistance dissolving as if my attachments were dominoes within my own mind, tumbling one after the other. The surrender was deeper than I had ever experienced before and I was deeply aware of how temporary were those things that I was attached to. Compared to the eternity of the existence of my own purest Self, those physical things that I wanted were incredibly temporary.
I had been thinking a lot about giving since my experience at the Ronald McDonald house, and all of this thought and contemplation had been the impetus for the revelation that I was experiencing driving down the highway. Adam and I had received a Past Life Crossing in November and in this crossing it stated, “for we see that there is a great deal of love, and understandings and compassion that both of these individuals possess, however we see that they are very stingy and restrictive as to how they express this.” And it was true. At times I would be aware of the power of what I had inside of myself to give, and then I would let myself get caught up in my limitations and fears and restrict myself from giving what I have.
In the Bible it tells us to, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and all else shall be added unto you.” I am learning that the “all” in this admonition means everything. I am learning to give with perfect faith and trust in the workings of the Universal Laws. Never thinking about what I am going to get out of what I am giving, but always knowing that what I need will be given to me.
We all know somewhere in our hearts that giving is the way to true freedom, freedom to experience yourself as a Creator, freedom to experience the power of your influence as a child of God. In our physical thinking, we are taught to give in very physical ways. “I have this physical skill to give, I can give of myself in these specific ways.”
Giving is an attitude of being, it is not a specific physical action. I spent a week at the School of Metaphysics World Headquarters and the attitude that I was cultivating and keeping my attention on was that of being of service and giving in whatever way that I could. It was about one o’clock in the afternoon one day and I had a plan set out in my mind of what I wanted to accomplish the rest of the day. One of my spiritual teachers approached me at this time and let me know that his son had asked if he could play with me that afternoon. He said that I was more than welcome to spend time with him if I so desired. For a brief moment, I thought to myself, “Maybe I should say no. Maybe I should stick with my plan.”
In that moment I realized how physical my thinking was. I was concerned with what it was that I was giving instead of the attitude that I had in doing it. What stayed with me from this experience is the awareness that it is not so important what I have to give, the specific qualities and abilities that I have built within myself that I can use to aid others. However, what is most important is that I keep my attention on always giving and being of service to those in my environment.
When I am thinking that I am going to give in only a certain way, but fail to respond to an opportunity to give in another way when it is presented to me, then I am not giving with a pure spirit. I am giving with conditions; I am giving in a very physical way only. I have lost the attitude of pure giving and service. When I cultivate an attitude of giving in everything I do, this means that I give in everything, from doing the dishes to teaching a class in Applied Metaphysics. Every action in my life becomes a form of service to the highest cause of enlightenment of mankind and myself. Imagine what it will be like on our planet when everyone thinks this way! When everyone is aware of the power of their thoughts, of the power of their intention. For it is the intention that causes our Karma, and not the physical action that we are performing with our bodies. Imagine the power of all minds being pointed in the direction of service, from the mother nursing her child at two o’clock in the morning, to the politicians making decisions about the future of our countries.
What I know is that when my attention is on what I can give and this is the intention behind my actions, no matter what they physically they may be, I am supremely happy. Even though I can still look at my life and see the areas that I would like to be different, even though I know that there are many things that I have yet to learn, even though I may have done some things that I wished that I had done differently, when I lie down in my bed at night to go to sleep, I can look honestly at my life and say that I love it. I am living the life that I have always dreamed of living and every day it is getting better and better.•
Thresholds Quarterly ©2001 School of Metaphysics Vol. 19 No. 2
A metaphysical teacher and director of SOMs, Shawn Stoner now studies full time at the College of Metaphysics. Some of her best learning is as webmistress of our dreamschool site, and caretaker to a dozen new ducks.
©2002 SOM, v 6/04