Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

Inner Work


For the week of March 23, 2020


Giving

(A Meaningful Life: 2)

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In the Parable of the Talents [Matthew 25:14-30], we see the importance of putting our talents to work, whatever their measure. It is not enough to be talented in our particular way. We need to make the ongoing effort to develop those talents and put them to good use.[1] That effort comes from caring so deeply about something that we have a natural capacity for that we persistently work to apply that capacity, to improve at it, to serve through it. Despite the failures and successes, despite the setbacks and the windfalls, we stay with it, true to ourselves and what we uniquely can offer to this vast world, even in a small way. Perfection lies in that direction, even if unattainable. Meaning lies in that direction and flows at every step. In this way we learn to give of ourselves.

We ask what has been put into me that I can bring to this table of life? What will make sense of and justify my very existence? If I can answer those questions, even if in a halting, uncertain, and tentative way, then I can choose what my life will be about and set myself on the path to making that real. This is how we create our destiny.

It takes courage. We may not start with enough confidence to believe we have any talent, to believe that we have much to give, to believe that we could carry through on any long-term, persistent effort of development. Yet we can begin simply by looking at our interests. What do we care about? What do we keep coming back to? We let that guide us forward, as we choose to develop that aspect of ourselves and pursue it through continuous improvement. We start where we are and keep at it every day. Gradually, we see a little progress, which further encourages our efforts. That cycle continues and we begin to see our personal destiny in terms of this, in terms of how we are creating and recreating ourselves, how we can serve, how we can give.

Charitable giving from what we possess matters. So does giving of and from ourselves. It shapes us. It cleanses us. It makes us who we are. It is not always a matter of destiny. Sometimes it means helping a neighbor in need or a stranger in difficulty, a smiling face to lift spirits, or steadfastness in the face of fear and uncertainty.

Giving also applies to the inner world, to the spiritual. When we look at our interests, at what we care about, we may find in addition to our outward interests an abiding and growing passion for the spirit, a need to deepen our inner life, to raise the level of our inner work, so as to be able to give more inwardly. For example, we begin to understand from our work at different levels of energies that the higher energies are needed for the Earth, for society, and for the spirit. Our ability to transform energies and the quality of the inner energies we can transform depends directly on how persistently and passionately we pursue our inner work, today, tomorrow, and for the long-term.

For this week, please practice to be able to give from yourself, inwardly and outwardly.

[1] Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Scribner 2016


        

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