FGP's Great Big Love.mp3

The song "Great Big Love"

by Barbara McAfee and Lauren Anthony

My Personal Ethos Regarding Sharing . . .

Thirteen years before my 'shamanic awakening', an experience with a Shingon monk in Japan began informing me of my walk-about to come. In the late '60s had engineering representatives selling my electrical inventions in Japan; and was blessed to be invited by one to stay in his family home during my visit to Kyoto. Arose early in their home with paper walls and rice mat floors. My host showed up minutes later; not because he wanted to get up so early, but to honor their tradition of not letting 'a crazy foreigner' be uncomfortable.

At daybreak, he suggested we go for a walk. Not five houses up the street, we see a neighbor carrying a pot out of his house to meet what turned out to be a Shingon monk coming down the street. The monk was carrying a small bowl in his hands. After a respectful bow . . . ie: the depth of the bow in Japanese culture equates to respect; the most reverent being to bow so as to expose your kidneys, signifying “I trust you with my life” . . . the neighbor promptly filled the monk's bowl with food steaming in the cool of the morn. Nary a word uttered; their ritual completed; eye contact made; their parting bows deeper. The monk continued on; the neighbor turning to watch wistfully as the monk continued his rounds.

This 'crazy inquisitive foreigner' did not even have to voice his question as we approached. It was like the neighbor needed to articulate for himself as much for our edification. “I could never ever live the life of an ascetic or spend so much time seeking the inside, yet I am uplifted in the knowledge that he and his kind do. Somehow in some way, in the mystery of their chants, prayers and drums, they make my life better. He allows me to be connected to that mystery.”

The next morning, made sure I was there to witness their ritual again and felt permission to inquire of this 'laid-back' monk. He responded; “Carrying the bowl is uncomfortable at first, yet you learn that your roll is as a conduit for spirituality. And being that conduit begins to feed you, literally and figuratively. We monks simply allow a layperson to connect through us to their heart while likewise giving to others when called upon. While holding an alms bowl in front, I have money in the fold of my hood so others less fortunate may take what is needed without the embarrassment of making eye contact.” I motion with my finger for him to turn around, placing the alms clutched in my hand into his hood. We all bow; the monk walks on; my host has tears in his eyes uttering: “I never realized.” Come to find out that 'Shingon' is an esoteric practice; the word a Japanese iteration of Chinese that means “true words” which comes from the Chinese translation of the Sanskrit word for “mantra”.

Fast forward five years and I have unwittingly purchased a seat on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange without realizing it is dominated by the Jewish persuasion. Having gotten comfortable with 6 months of 'immersion therapy', find myself walking into the Judaic College on my walk home through The Loop. The rabbi there humors my questions but grabs my intention when we get to the subject of 'charity'. His belief being that the concept of ‘charity’ has suffered a great loss in the western world. He goes on; “Our word ‘charity” comes from the Old French “charite”, derived from the Latin word “caritas” meaning preciousness or dearness; then adopted by Christian theology to mean “unconditional love for others.”

'The Jewish understanding of charity begins thousands of years earlier within the oral tradition of the Kabbalah outlining a form of giving known as 'tzedakah'. Tzedakah coming from a root word meaning “to be just and ethical”. For us Jews, rather than charity being an expression of one’s free will, tzedakah calls for behavior that is just; a fulfillment of one’s obligation to humankind.”

The third leg of my 'sharing' stool is around the commandment most of us, raised as Christians, were steeped in; that “it is better to give than receive”. That concept was originally an oral Jewish tradition positing: “You must be blessed to have received before you will ever have something worth giving.” And importantly, there was a condition attached which said; “If you are the one so blessed to have received, you must share it with your fellow travelers.” Obviously impossible for the Holy See to control people given this oral tradition, so they dramatically changed its meaning, rewriting this law at the Nicaea Conference in 325 AD so as to make all its adherents feel indebted.

Notwithstanding meandering through all that tradition and history, the only meaningful aspect of sharing is the result. Concepts by themselves do not help; they must lead to actions. People in need of things in order to live must receive them. Those in need should not be dependent upon hope that there will be some virtuous philanthropist somewhere who will express their love for humanity. All human beings have the right to a life of free will and basic needs. Those of us who have been blessed to receive have an obligation to humanity in facilitating that reality. This is essential. Giving is not doing more than is required through charity; rather it is the just action of fulfilling Spirit's will.

My walk-about since that day 50 years ago in Japan has taken the shape of now witnessing money as ‘life-energy’ . . . an energetic force that facilitates freedom. My walk-about is one as a spiritual channel that embraces a fundamental freedom as a birthright. One of the first things my power animals informed me of after my 'shamanic awakening' 36 years ago, was that I was never going to do anything for money again. At the time, no problem as I was seemingly 'fixed' for life from my trading success.

As the flow would have it, went from a shaman believing there would always be tidings in his hood, to the guy carrying a bowl down the street. It is yet another stepping 'out of the box' for me to ask for support; the reason my guides said we needed to leave Minneapolis 18 years ago. After thirty plus years, I am not going to change my ways, or start charging for my services, believing the one blessed to receive must share those gifts with nature and humanity.

I ask not out of a crisis, nor speed bumps with health or happiness. I ask in order to sustain the basic freedom to continue shining the “I am that I am”. Please donate 'beams and beans' if you have any to spare. I will be honored to have you alongside as we wend our way down the trail, walking each other home.

HO TO THE FLOW . . . for only it knows

Love is . . . . .