I live very simply, in one room like a Himalayan cave. In the West, I might be thought of as poor and there is little that separates me from the homeless I see around me.
Yet, I am so rich.
Years ago, in a typical meditation, I was running, screaming, to a Christ-like figure complaining of my financial bankruptcy, as if it were His fault. He turned abruptly, leaving me there, shocked – and walked away. I have written of this experience in my book, Buddhist Footprints in a Christian Heart, so excuse me for a moment while I revisit this. Anyway, it turned out that He was walking very quickly to a mountainous city and there was the Potala, looming above Lhasa, Tibet. I thought we were lost. All around me, peasant and monk and nun alike were slapping the mani wheel they held in their hands, a constant chanting of the 6 syllable mantra, om mani padme hung. This is the great mantra of compassion, constantly being chanted for the benefit of all beings who suffer. I can hear that slapping sound now as if I were in that elevated place of kindness and selflessness of mind.
Suddenly, He turned to me and asked, “What is it that makes them rich?” to which I immediately responded, “Faith.”
Faith is what makes us rich.
Don’t lose your faith in what is good and what is right. Don’t lose your faith in reconciliation and in love. Don’t lose your faith in each other. Your children, your family, your community, your nation, your world – all need you to believe in them and in each other. Have faith in yourself. Have faith in your children. Trust them to find their way as you have found yours. Have faith in your path and have faith in the courage to stand up for what is moral and what is good. This is what will make you rich. This is what will help you sleep at night.
That each day, all that you do, you do for the benefit of others and you do without harming anyone. Just simply living and living simply. You know goodness and you know what it means for you. Just do good.
Let’s leave it at that. Let us seek the good in ourselves and let us seek the good in each other. Let us aspire to be good. It’s really so simple. It is what makes us rich and goodness is what enriches us. We have gone too long hearing of justification for hatred, violence and anger, and that isn’t good for us.
So my prayer for you today and always is this:
May goodness lead us out of this darkness and light our way again.
With love, always and in all ways.