PERSONAL GAIN AND THE GIFT OF EXISTENCE

By Terry Shea

November 4, 2016

Centre for Spiritual Living White Rock

Posted In: Spiritual Wellness


The conclusion to this series is bound to be as significant and as slippery as the previous weeks. We’ve explored meaning and mode of expression. We pondered love and gratitude. We’ve even looked at theology and ritual. Who knew so much was tied up in the dollars in our pockets and in our bank accounts, and still we’re not done.
Before I became a minister, I attended a Context Training module called Mastery. In it is the participants are called to a new understanding of what they are here for. The renowned teacher, Parker Palmer, maintained that your life’s purpose is to be found where your greatest gift meets the world’s greatest need. The strange irony to that whole thing is that most of the weekend is spent finding out or, I should say more accurately, moving the direction of finding out what one’s greatest gift is.
I already had intimations of what my greatest gift was, but what I was to discover was the fact that my greatest gift was first of all mine, unique to me and mine alone. We can easily dismiss the gift of existence as something everybody has, and therefore pretty common. I don’t know about you but existence itself is pretty remarkable. Our philosophy maintains that we are each of us unique expressions of one Energy called variously, G-d, Life, Source, Being, Love etc. As such we are each of us a special gift that Life has given to Itself for the simple delight of the giving and the receiving. But this giftedness is not without its price. Needleman says in the concluding chapter of his book, “Consider that man may be defined as a being who is constructed to receive the gift of unfathomable immensity and is at the same time, obliged to pay for that gift with unfathomable commitment and service.” We must in a very real way, pay for what we have been given.
Personal gain is part of the spiritual life, but the aim of personal gain is clearly defined. One gains something in order to give back. This is the essence not only of human life, but of existence itself. All life gives back to life. We must come to this view sooner or later, one that is expressed in every mythic, philosophical and religious teaching of the past; there is no such thing as just existing. Everything is in service to everything else. Existence is giving and receiving! “A stone gives back no less than a saint.”
Modern man is in the process of re-inventing himself constantly and does this with money, the instrument of his personality, the instrument of his emotions, his adaptive thought, his action. The result of this constant re-invention is that he actually never finds out who he is. Evolving man on the other hand is discovered by himself along the way. The mind of evolving man has come to the conclusion that safety and happiness cannot be obtained by mechanical thinking, personal emotion or instinctive action. This mind has to become convinced that the only source of its well-being is consciousness, choiceless awareness!