We strive towards clarity. We cannot exist without energy. We are lost without a sense of purpose and value. And, hopefully, we are aligned with a higher sense of morality. This common human dynamic is the basis for most forms of spirituality. What separates us is how we chose to define and pursue these needs.
In every form of spirituality there is one unmovable truth: we are conduits not cups. Clarity, purpose, value, energy and morality are not for the “self.” We are designed to give. We find purpose in passing our blessings and talents on. Our energy is found as circuits, not batteries. When we connect with another human we are given the opportunity to flow into their being.
And Indeed, Allah is with those who are of service to others. (Al Quran 29:70)
In Buddhism – Dana is the practice of giving generously. Gifts are to be of pure intent and focused on the receiver.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
It is not the idea of being “filled” that satisfies us. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 1:8, “The eye never has enough seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.” We cannot be filled. We are fickle creatures that lose contentment quickly. Rockefeller when asked, “How much money is enough?” responded, “Just a little bit more.”
We assess our lives by how much of our needs and wants are met. We look at areas where we are “lacking” or where we need “just a little bit more.” But we naturally do it from a selfish perspective. We forget that there are fellow humans who would feast on the emotional and physical crumbs from our tables.
When have 10 and we are giving to someone with only one, we realize the magnitude of our blessing. Granted, there might be someone with 20. But, our perspectives are shifted by being a positive conduit into another person’s life.
As conduits, our source is outside of ourselves. God, Allah, the Creator or the Universe provides us abundantly. Every religion calls its worshippers to “go and give.” It’s in this giving that we either get our own needs met or that we realize our needs are already met.
This is what I call FLOW. It’s not a random, occasional moment of charity. It’s living a life of daily, intentional giving and serving. It is giving a warm smile and hello to a hurried fellow commuter. It is opening a door for a frazzled mother of three toddlers. Listening with attentiveness to a co-workers worries. It is seeing needs and responding with your ability on-hand. And, even responding when you are exhausted, worried, confused or sad.
FLOW stands for: Following – Life’s – Opportunities – Willingly. To some, the thought of constant giving and serving makes them anxious. It’s not about having an uber extroverted personality. It doesn’t require seeking out needs everywhere you go. It is a state of attentiveness to your surroundings that is beyond your own feelings. It is an identity and a purpose. I am a conduit of good.
What makes being a conduit burdensome is conflict. When we aren’t living our truth we are clogged or broken. Our FLOW is interrupted by distraction and worry. The immediate reaction is to pause and focus on the conflict. Emotions “validate” this decision and start to blind us to Opportunities. Our perspectives turn inward and we become irrational and stuck.
A frustrated father rushes upstairs after hearing the baby cry for what seemed like 20 minutes. The mother was frozen at the nursery door. “What are you doing?!” He asked. “There’s a spider on the wall by the crib.” She said. “I’m waiting for it to move away so I can get the baby.”
The conflict here is with her role as a mother and her fear of spiders. It has blinded her of her responsibility to comfort her crying baby. Her fear has warped the reality/perspective of the situation. The spider can’t harm her. She has been blinded of her power in the situation. She could easily kill the spider. Her baby needs her but she can only see her fear. “Chelsea, kill the spider and get the baby.” Her husband whispers calmly.
Often, it takes someone outside her situation to help us gain perspective when we’re stuck. It is normal to live with fear. We’re most likely afraid of something every day. It’s not ok to live with worry. This is habitual fear and in opposition of your FLOW. Worry is pointless. It saps energy. It robs clarity. It distracts you from your purpose. Chelsea was worried about the spider. It would have been fine for her to see it and be frightened. But, her responsibility as a conduit for her daughter would have reminded her of the right perspective and given her the clarity to not get stuck and continue on in her purpose.
Live in the power of your choices. Trying to gain energy, clarity or purpose just to feel better or alleviate fear will not lead you to your truth. Your contentment will be short-lived because your perspective will turn inward. Realize that even at your weakest, you have strength waiting.
One of the most beautiful stories in the Bible is of a woman who gave two small copper coins at the temple. It was all she had to live on. It’s not her sacrifice for the church that is beautiful. It is her example of FLOW. Trusting that as a conduit of God her needs would be met. She caught the attention of Jesus who held up her example to the men he was training to carry his message to the world.
Decide to FLOW in spite of everything and let the universe give you the life and peace you truly desire.