What You Appreciate, Appreciates
Unity of Charlotte, 7 October 2018
SONG (Bob Sima): Happening For You, from putalittlemoreloveintheworld
This world can easily bombard us with – let us call them – “distractions” from what we want to be experiencing in certain moments. Yet once we get through those moments, we often say, “I would not wish that experience on anyone, but I also would not trade that experience because of the gifts I can now see.”
When do we appreciate? How about… Right here. Right now.
Whatever the present moment offers is always a chance for us to show gratitude and appreciation. In each moment, we have to determine if the opportunity presenting is one that we choose to appreciate or one that we choose not to appreciate. Then the energy of that decision follows in word, gesture, silence, action, and behavior. The return on the investment of that moment will mirror the level of appreciation we brought to it. What we appreciate, appreciates.
What we appreciate does not simply appreciate in random fashion. What we appreciate, appreciates at the level of intensity of the appreciation(s) that created the opportunity for us to experience that moment plus our chosen level of appreciation that we – and everyone else in the same moment – brought to it.
Eric Butterworth in Spiritual Economics describes givers and takers:
———The takers are the people who believe that their lives will always be the total of what they can get from the world. They are always thinking get, get, get. They plan and scheme ways to get what they want in money, in love, in happiness, and in all kinds of good. No matter that they may be applying metaphysical techniques, they still may very well be takers. But whatever may be their spiritual ideals or lack of any, no matter what they take, they can never know peace or security or fulfillment.
The givers, on the other hand, are convinced that life is a giving process. Thus their subtle motivation in all their ways is to give themselves away, in love, in service, and in all the many helpful ways they can invest themselves. They are always secure, for they intuitively know that their good flows from within.———
Would you consider yourself a giver? If so, do you consciously appreciate every present moment opportunity that presents itself to you? Are you able to appreciate it for ALL that it is, and then move on and be gracious in the next moment for all that it is and has the potential to be? Or do you wallow in what you cannot appreciate from the previous and carry it into the moment?
What we appreciate defines our core values. What we appreciate is an expression of our beliefs. What we appreciate is one of the tools we have to grow and to help others transform through this human experience. The spiritual practice is to shorten the length of time it takes to find, feel, and express our appreciation, regardless of how we see it with our two human eyes in the moment.
For a meditation, I invite you to review three significant life events that were perceived a challenge or a threat in the moment. Look closely at the entire situation from the perspective of your current knowing and understanding. Can you find appreciation that you were unable to experience during the event? Can you feel appreciation for the experience, now that you are through to the other side? Can you express appreciation for all that it brought to you, and call it neither good nor bad?
SONG (Bob Sima): No Mud No Lotus, from The Movers The Shakers & The Peacemakers
“The Master” from The Mastery of Love by don Miguel Ruiz:
——Once upon a time a Master was talking to a crowd of people and his message was so wonderful that everyone felt touched by his words of love. In the crowd there was a man who had listened to every word the Master said. This man was very humble and he had a great heart. He was so touched by the Master’s words that he felt the need to invite the Master to his home.
When the Master finished speaking, the man walked through the crowd, looked into the eyes of the Master, and told him, “I know you are busy and everyone wants your attention. I know you hardly have time to even listen to my words. But my heart is so open and I feel so much love for you that I have the need to invite you to my home. I want to prepare the best meal for you. I don’t expect you will accept, but I just had to let you know.”
The Master looked into the man’s eyes and with the most beautiful smile he said, “Prepare everything. I will be there.” Then the Master walked away.
At these words, the joy in the man’s heart was strong. He could hardly wait to serve the Master and to express his love for him. This would be the most important day of his life: The Master was going to be with him. He bought the best food and wine, and found the most beautiful clothes to offer as a gift to the Master. Then he ran home to prepare everything to receive the Master. He cleaned his entire house, prepared the most wonderful meal, and made the table look beautiful. His heart was full of joy because the Master would soon be there.
The man was waiting anxiously when someone knocked at the door. Eagerly, he opened the door but instead of the Master, he found an old woman. She looked into his eyes and said, “I am starving. Can you give me a piece of bread?”
The man was a little disappointed because it was not the Master. He looked at the woman and said, “Please, come into my house.” He sat her in the place he had prepared for the Master and gave her the food he had made for the Master. But he was anxious and could hardly wait for her to finish eating. The old woman was touched by the generosity of this man. She thanked him and left.
The man had barely finished preparing the table for the Master again when someone knocked at the door. This time it was another stranger who had traveled across the desert. The stranger looked into the man’s face and said, “I am thirsty. Can you give me something to drink?”
The man was a little disappointed again because it was not the Master. He invited the stranger into his home and sat him in the place he had prepared for the Master. He served the wine he had intended to give the Master. When the stranger left, the man again prepared everything for the Master.
Someone knocked at the door again. When the man opened the door, there stood a child. The child looked up at the man and said, “I am freezing. Can you give me a blanket to cover my body?”
The man was a little disappointed because it was not the Master, but he looked into the eyes of the child and felt love in his heart. Quickly he gathered the clothes he had intended to give the Master and he covered the child with the clothes. The child thanked him and left.
The man prepared everything again for the Master and then waited until it was very late. When he realized the Master was not coming, he was disappointed but right away he forgave the Master. He said to himself, “I knew I could not expect the Master to come to this humble home. Although he said he would come, something more important must have taken him elsewhere. The Master did not come, but at least he told me he would, and that is enough for my heart to be happy.”
Slowly he put the food away, he put the wine away, and he went to bed. That night he dreamed the Master came to his home. The man was happy to see him but he didn’t know that he was dreaming. “Master you came! You kept your word.”
The Master replied, “Yes, I am here but I was here before. I was hungry and you fulfilled my need for food. I was thirsty and you gave me the wine. I was cold and you covered me with clothes. Whatever you do for others, you do for me.”
The man woke up and his heart was filled with happiness because he understood what the Master had taught him. The Master loved him so much that he had sent three people to give him the greatest lesson: The Master lives within everyone. When you give food to the one who is starving, when you give water to the one who is thirsty, when you cover the one who is cold, you give your love to the Master.———
The man in this story is the perfect example of a blossoming lotus flower. Each person who showed up at his door, asking for one of the very special items that he prepared for his very special anticipated visitor, can be described as the mud and the muck that we perceive to derail and change the course of our well laid plans. But the man chose to appreciate their presence for what it was. He knew he could show them appreciation for their situation. He knew they would appreciate his attention to their basic need in that moment. He appreciated, and the Master appreciated him for it.
SONG (Bob Sima): Say Grace, from A Thousand Cups of Tea