In Service or Enslaved?

>     I once studied with a spiritual teacher who suggested to me that when I see something in a store that I want to buy I should go away, even if for no longer than it takes to walk around the block, then return and decide if I still want it. He said to do otherwise, to buy in the moment of desire, is to be bought by the object of your desire. “Without reflection, you will never own it,” he warned. “It will always own you.”
    I recalled his teaching in recent days as I continue to listen to all the dire economic news and predictions of the decreasing value of the U.S. dollar’s purchasing power. No doubt we are moving into times of economic restraint. I think it’s a good thing.
    Because we Americans love to consume. We love it so much that, somewhere along the way to Now, we lost all perspective and jumbled our priorities. We became, as my spiritual teacher so presciently warned, enslaved to the very act of “having.”  It is my experience that we can either be enslaved to the outer life, with it’s web of desires, or in service to Our Higher Selves.
    When enslaved to the outer life of desire, “more” is never enough…as a dear friend used to be fond of saying. When either the sheer accumulation of material things, or the quest for fame, is both the motivating force as well as the goal, there is no amount of materialism or notoriety that can satisfy the hunger. For it is a hunger. It is a misunderstood need, and futile effort, to close a gap that can only be closed in service to others.
It is the difference between lust and love. In lust, we cannot get enough. In love, we cannot give enough. Which is why all the great spiritual Masters have tried to teach this Universal Truth. Which leads me to another of my spiritual teacher’s sayings.
    “Fake it ’til you make it.”
    If you have been enslaved, as so many of us are, to wanting and getting and having… it will not be automatic, or necessarily easy, to shift to a mindset of giving. It may be even more difficult to believe that through giving of yourself you will become more satisfied and more enlivened that ever before in your life. So, this is where “faking it” comes into play. Proceeding on blind faith, give anyway. Give without reservation of your time, your money, your love.  Give until you don’t have to think about giving but have simply become giving. Then you will have moved past faking it and genuinely arrived at the purpose of All Life. 
    Give as the Sun gives without thought, question or expectation.
    Then, perhaps the next time you’re in a store and see something you want to buy, you’ll take that walk around the block…think of someone or something in need…and find that you’d rather spend yourself in service than find yourself enslaved.  

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