Tuesday, April 14, 2009At Ease
Tithing is a way of saying, “God, pour forth whatever blessing You have for me.”
God is health, or lack of disease.
God is always at ease, always present, always now, and is constantly creating and expanding.
(From God Is Your Partner by John-Roger, DSS)
My favorite joke of all time is about three Jews boasting about their rabbis. One claims his rabbi is so devout and fearful of the Lord he trembles night and day, and has to be strapped to the bed so that he doesn't fall out.
The second claims his rabbi is so holy and close to God that God trembles and is afraid of displeasing the rabbi.
The third says his rabbi went through both those stages. First the rabbi used to tremble, then it got to the point where God trembled. But then the rabbi thought it over and said to God, "Look, why should we both tremble?"
I think of that joke when I read J-R's profound quote above. If "God is always at ease, always present, always now," why should I tremble? Why don't I jump on the bandwagon and be at ease?
In fact, I think I will. Now.
Here is one of the reasons I think that the economic recovery is going to take a long time. Financial Quote-of-the-Day from columnist and financial commentator Stephen Roach:
Put it together and it all smacks of a dangerous sense of déjà vu: promoting a false recovery by kick-starting overextended, saving-short American consumers to borrow once again by leveraging their major asset.
Fortunately, the American consumer is smarter than the quick-fix Washington mindset. Shell-shocked families -- especially some 77 million baby boomers for whom retirement planning is an urgent imperative -- know they have no choice other than to save.
Monday, February 16, 2009In the Midst of the Meltdown 2
What is the work that you’re here to do? The most immediate thing in front of you, and there are two choices: either live under the law of karma or live under God’s grace of loving. You can have your choice. And the grace of God did not say for one minute that you won’t have any pain. It just said you can live in the Spirit while you walk through this world.
I have been to many poor countries over the years and also those that were in the midst of a financial crisis, and one thing always struck me—people were getting by. So, we will get by.
Then what does this all mean? To me it has more to do with a change in expectations than in reality. If you are living your life according to a set of spiritually based principles and values, then the probability is that you will sail through this period of time. For those who do have not a set of solid principles the likelihood is that they will flounder until they find solid ground by acquiring a set of their own meaningful values.
When we are secure in our principles and values it is then important that we be open to Grace. If you have been tithing and seeding joyfully and unconditionally, the doors are wide open for you to receive and to participate in a life filled with miracles.
Friday, February 6, 2009A Crisis of Values
An MSIA staff member approached me the other day and said that reading this bog had made them scared to spend money. They had wanted to go to a Judy Collins concert but didn’t want to part with the $40 ticket price.
I was both proud and horrified. Proud that they were carefully evaluating where to spend their money and not acting on impulse. Horrified that they were scared of spending money.
So let me clarify. This blog has followed three main themes:
1) Yes, we are in a financial crisis but that following the principles of abundance and prosperity, also known as being a Joyful Giver, puts us on a Grace track as opposed to a struggle track. We are watchful, alert, and relaxed.
2) That deciding what your values are is a critical piece of the puzzle, for that will guide you on your actions and spending your money.
3) There is never a reason to live in lack because there is endless supply.
I do believe that the reason this economy is in such trouble is that the foundation on which it has been built over the last 25 years has been dishonesty and greed. In other words--no foundation at all. It had to fail. Dishonesty and greed are not values for sustained growth and expansion.
Please read this excellent interview with best-selling author Jim Collins in Fortune Magazine. Excerpt:
So what did these companies do to get through the tough times?
A couple of things really jump out. No. 1, in times of great duress, tumult, and uncertainty, you have to have moorings. Companies like P&G, GE, J&J, and IBM had an incredible fabric of values, of underlying ideals or principles that explained why it was important that they existed. One of the things that was very distinctive about P&G, for example, was that they said a customer will always be able to depend on the fact that a product is what we say it is - we will always build our reputation on quality. When they were under pressure to start cutting corners or use cheaper ingredients, they just didn't do that. What we have found is that what really matters is that you actually have core values - not what they are. The more challenged you are, the more you have to have your values. You need to preserve them consistently over time.
Saturday, January 17, 2009Letting Go, Service, and Integrity
And the reason all this works is that you let go and give to God, joyfully and unconditionally.
From God Is Your Partner (on seeding) by John-Roger, DSS
Well, if that short sentence doesn’t say it all regarding living the spiritual principles of abundance and prosperity I don’t know what does. Please take it in.
If you didn’t see Michelle Obama’s call to service on Martin Luther King Day on Monday here it is. (2 mins)
This is a must see video, named Four Generations, to warm your heart and may redefine abundance for you.
The Achaemenid Persian Empire (550–330 BCE), which at the height of its power had more than 20 nations under its control, was built on the most basic principles - that of truth and justice, which formed the bases of the Achaemenid culture. Based on the Zoroastrian doctrine, it was the strong emphasis on honesty and integrity that gave the ancient Persians credibility to rule the world, even in the eyes of the people belonging to the conquered nations.
This largest Empire of the Ancient World was forged by Cyrus the Great, and spanned three continents, including territories of Afghanistan and Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and all significant population centers of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya. It is also noted for freeing the Jews from their Babylonian captivity, and for instituting Aramaic as the empire's official language.
As we have seen, the United States of America has wandered far from its founding fathers who did have the principles of truth and justice in mind. And certainly we have seen any emphasis on honesty and integrity evaporate before our eyes in the last six months. It has taken a generation for things to come off their tracks and in my opinion it will take a generation to get them back on again. Let’s hope that Tuesday will get us off to a good start.
Monday, January 5, 2009True Luxury
How do you know your tithing works? By the results that it’s bearing. And what if it doesn’t bear the results? You didn’t do it out of your heart. God says that He loves a joyful giver. You forgot to smile as you wrote the check. You forgot to say, “Thank you, Lord, and there’s more coming. And thanks for the health and thanks for this and this and this.”
The thankfulness is like a litany, almost like chanting the spiritual exercise mantra. It will start to produce changes in us that are remarkable. And often it also produces changes in other people around us that are equally as remarkable, because with those we love and care for, we share the goodness and the bounty of our spirit.
From God Is Your Partner by John-Roger, DSS
I took a "vacation" today to complete my year end finances, bring our budget up to date, and prepare for filing year end tax returns. I keep everything on Quicken so it was all organized and I could produce a financial statement virtually with a click.
There were some surprises, our grocery bills were down over last year-I think because we did less in house entertaining. Our meals out were a lot of money despite the fact we don't go to restaurants and none of the bills were over $50--except Thanksgiving at Prana! This proves that small amounts on a regular basis really add up.
Overall, things were tighter than I thought and I therefore wondered why I had felt so abundant lately. After chatting with Shelley the key was that we are living the life we want to live. And while we don't buy luxuries and lead a simple, frugal lifestyle, we do buy what is essential to us--food, books, art supplies.
Our saying/focus/affirmation for the year is: "What we need comes forward and we give of the overflow." I like it because it reflects our values--our trust in God and our love of giving.
Friday, November 7, 2008The Best Financial Decision You Will Ever Make
We can help to break the greed pattern by tithing, giving 10 percent of our personal wealth. When we tithe, two levels are activated—a level here in this world and, at the same time, a mystical, invisible level. The mystical is a communication saying, “You are abundant and handle abundance well, so here’s some more.” The other level, in this world, is when we look at our abundance and contribute joyfully through tithing. We are actually cheerful about it. This action sets up a countenance that is a form of glory in the human being, and that glory attracts more abundance.
John-Roger, DSS (From: God Is Your Partner)
This blog is based on the principles, purpose, values, and practices of abundance and prosperity, and health, wealth, and happiness.
So what is our primary principle? Giving. Joyful giving. Because giving opens the space that allows us to receive. Just as our breathing out allows us to receive in our next breath.
Yet, between breathing out and breathing in, there is a pause--a brief moment of rest. Just as our heart beats for 11 hours and rests for 13 hours, so rest is built into the mechanism of our breath. When we give there is a pause between us receiving. We allow for that space, that emptiness, and if we listen and follow closely undoubtedly we will find that it is filled with loving.
In the same way, when we give of materiality, money, and we give joyfully, we pause and allow the loving to fill our being. We give because it is necessary in order to live. We give because it feels good. And we give because it is God’s plan for us. The foundation of our giving is the way that was laid down thousands of years ago, spiritually, for our enrichment—10 percent of our increase.
If that is too much for you, start with 1 per cent and as you gain trust, in yourself and God, build up to 10 percent.
When I first speaking about this around 25 years ago, I said that speaking as an accountant (as I was back then) giving to God in this way was the best insurance, the best investment, and the best financial decision anyone can make. It is as true for me now as it was then. The difference being that I have validated it further, through my personal experience, in those 25 years.
Quote of the Day from Seth, who once again nails it:>
The Sad Lie of Mediocrity
Doing 4% less does not get you 4% less.
Doing 4% less may very well get you 95% less.
That's because almost good enough gets you nowhere. No sales, no votes, no customers. The sad lie of mediocrity is the mistaken belief that partial effort yields partial results. In fact, the results are usually totally out of proportion to the incremental effort.
Big organizations have the most trouble with this, because they don't notice the correlation. It's hidden by their momentum and layers of bureaucracy. So a mediocre phone rep or a mediocre chef may not appear to be doing as much damage as they actually are.
Frugal Living Tip of the Day:
By using less expensive but equally effective ingredients found around the home, you can prepare effective substitute cleaning products.
Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda is an excellent material that can be mixed with water to remove tar, bug juice, tree sap, bird droppings and other organic material that can etch into the car’s paint. Commercial products can cost between $10.00 and $40.00 per container.
For stains on the interior surfaces of your car, try a solution of vinegar and water applied with a tooth brush. Turtle Wax Spray Cleaner costs about $7.00 a can; vinegar is about $1.79 a pint.
Zen Moment of the Day
A student at Tassajara sat facing Suzuki Roshi on a tatami mat in his room. The student said he couldn’t stop snacking in the kitchen and asked what he should do.
Suzuki reached under his table. “Here, have some jelly beans.” he said.
(From: To Shine One Corner of the World: Moments with Shunryu Suzuki)
Thursday, August 7, 2008God, Surprise Me!
"They who dance are thought mad by those who hear not the music." Anonymous
In my July 31 post, about our seeing ourselves in the picture when we seed, I mentioned:
One of my favorite stories was the DSS student who went to Las Vegas and placed $100 seed and said to God, “Surprise me!” He has very happy with the results, although what they were escapes me at this moment. If he is reading this blog perhaps he can let us know.
Well, I am delighted to say that Peter Bort, the gentleman who placed the seed above, did get in touch via the comments section. You probably missed it unless you scour past comments sections, so here is what he had to say:
I am that DSS student Paul refers to who planted a seed which consisted of "God, surprise me" [for whoever it is that keeps track of these things, it was actually a $20 seed and it was planted before I took an impromptu and uncharacteristic trip to Atlantic City.] I was surprised when early in my first $20 of quarters in the slot machine I hit a $1200 jackpot. Being new to casinos, I simply took my winnings and went on to other non-gambling activities. The positive surprises kept coming on this particular evening evening, with the jackpot just one of many. When I ask God with few conditions on the requested outcome I don't necessarily get hung up on the "for the highest good" idea. I conceive that when I give it to God He is only bringing me good things. However, when I seed for something very specific, like an outcome in a client's case, I am especially careful to include "for the highest good" in the request so that my cast in the water is not too narrow.
Those last three sentences were a very provocative. And as if that wasn't enough for us to chew on, Peter also left this comment:
I want to share about a seed I planted in my first year of the DSS class (almost 12 yrs ago). What came to me to ask for is Financial Freedom. This originates as a search for an antidote to the poverty consciousness I focused upon as I grew up. I seeded in one shot an amount between one and two per cent of my total annual gross income. This was a huge commitment of resources for me. Within two years I had formed my own law firm and was earning three and four times as much income with much more self-determination and ability to invest to a point where day-to-day employment is unnecessary. What I was really focused on when I envisioned myself as financially free was the ability to participate in whatever spiritual retreat or adventure that I wanted to do. This has manifested. Of course, this is coupled with steady tithing over what is now almost two decades, lots more seeding and tons or gratitude!
Well, amazing stuff and all part of the vision for this blog where we can learn and grow from each others' experiences in practicing the spiritual principles of abundance and prosperity. Thank you, Peter!
Saturday, July 19, 2008The Power of Giving
"The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is "look under foot." You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world." John Burroughs (A quote used in The Rest of Your Life)
For me, the people who tithe walk the Earth in a blessed state. Their giving in an unconditional, grateful, and joyful way has created space for them to take in the glory of God in ways others are unable to. They see the blessings "under foot"--everywhere they go.
This came to mind because an old friend of mine was in my office yesterday talking about tithing. He had decided that he wanted to get the records straight with God and tithe in a clearer and more consistent way. How happy I was because I knew my friend was about to be happier and more abundant. That he was about to have his eyes opened to a new world "under foot." His main interest was knowing God in a greater way. I knew he was on the right track as John Morton has said, "I tithe, therefore I know God" and J-R has added, "If you want to know God, you tithe."
It also got me thinking about the power of giving. I love this quote from John-Roger from The Rest of Your Life:
"It is through giving that we grow spiritually.
We give mentally by sharing what we’ve learned with others. We give emotionally by loving and supporting people. We give physically by being of service and helping others.
Above all, we give our loving. There is something transcendental in the process of giving love.
Through this giving, we grow spiritually and become aware that there is one Beloved in ourselves and in others."
Monday, July 14, 2008Unconditional...What a Concept?
“And the reason all this works is that you let go and give to God, joyfully and unconditionally.” — Dr. John-Roger, DSS
I have long been fascinated with the idea of being unconditional. And in my recent book with John-Roger, The Rest of Your Life: Finding Repose in the Beloved, I covered it as extensively as I could.
Needless to say I find it to be a difficult state to get into, mainly because I allow myself to consistently have high expectations and thus consistently be disappointed. You'd think I'd learn, but I don't. However, the one thing I have learned from the process is to laugh at my folly.
Nonetheless, the one area that I find I can live the unconditionality is in the giving of the tithe. I really do give unconditionally and that makes the giving such a pleasure and such an expansive process. It takes place simply because, inside of me, I am giving to God. And really, what I am giving was never really mine anyway. Hmmm....maybe I can apply that idea to other areas of my life.
Here are some of my favorite John-Roger quotes on unconditionality:
"Freedom from stress, insecurity, and anxiety, lies in loving yourself and accepting yourself unconditionally."
"You can be everything you want to be as soon as you unconditionally become unconditional."
"it is the unconditionality of life that must be lived"
Saturday, July 5, 2008Going Deeper
"If you want to know God, you tithe." John-Roger
As I prepare for my big day tomorrow--my Conference Ministers' Meeting presentation on tithing and seeding, I need look no further than the quote above on our ubiquitous tithing pens, to be uplifted, inspired, and awed.
Sometimes I have to relax and focus on my breath so I can take in that quote--"If you want to know God, you tithe." I find myself saying, "Does J-R really mean that? Is that true? Could that be true? Wow, what if it is true? Can I now own and claim that."
The quote has a wealth of meaning. And really when you get right down to it, is there any other quote really needed on tithing? Well the answer is, yes, of course, most of us need to be reminded and re-inspired and motivated. But in the process of tithing, which has become a habit for me, I can tend to forget the profoundity of what I am doing. The deeper and more nuanced layers of what I am doing. After all, I am giving to God in gratitude. I can definitely take my practice of joyful giving deeper.
Now to bed. Tomorrow is a big day.