Getting into GivingJanuary 2, 2008
Discovering our true giving nature
A tree draws sustenance
From the earth
Its branches reach up
Toward the heavens
Its leaves offer shade to all
And yet we,
With all of our knowledge
Do not know
Who we are
I wrote this poem many years ago, when my intrinsic views of the world were in a state of flux. Like most of us, I had a need to reach my financial goals. This need was among my highest priorities and I devoted a lot of time and effort to this need. My priority was myself. I had no room for others in my world. This time coincided with my first couple of years in training in tai chi, after many years of training and teaching karate. Karate had taught me how to develop and follow a discipline in order to reach my goals, and I had applied this knowledge to my business as well.
The change from the hard aspect of karate to the soft nature of tai chi was the beginning of the gradual switch from receiving to giving. Karate is a hard style martial art. By that I mean the total tensing of the muscles of the whole body when delivering the blow. This is called focus and it brings the power of the whole body to bear on the opponent. At other times the body is supposed to be in a relaxed position to enable quick movement. At the other end of the spectrum is the development of total relaxation needed for the practice of Tai chi. The tai chi blow is delivered in a totally relaxed state. There is neither tension nor contraction in the body. I went from contraction to expansion with my two art forms and without realizing it my views of the world that I lived in started to change.
Most worthwhile changes occur slowly. I was hanging on to the hardness of karate, afraid to give myself up to the softness of tai chi. I knew where I was coming from and was not sure where I was going to. My whole foundation was unsteady, yet I felt the need to let go. My first changes outside of the physical reflected themselves in my business. Out of the blue I found myself thinking of others and how I might give more and take less. Bear in mind that these thoughts were foreign to me. I had never experienced them before. Many warehouses keep their thermostats just above freezing in the winter. I found myself making sure that our thermostats were set to a comfortable working environment. I purchased helmets for the warehouse employees to limit serious accidents and worked out a bonus plan at years end. Many employees needed loans for emergencies and we provided them without any interest.
This brings me to the poem above. When I perceived it in my mind, it seemed so natural. As if it was there all along. It was my way of reflecting who I was in words, as I had done in actions. It was my realization of me and my relationship with the universe. This internet sight is representative of my own true nature. I want nothing from you.
Spiritual growth develops thru awareness and mindfulness, as mind body and soul come together in a true spiritual awakening. Hopefully this is the goal in our universe.