|"Humility is a by-product that allows us to grow and develop in an
atmosphere of freedom and removes the fear of becoming known
by our employers, families, or friends as on a spiritual path."
(24 Hours a Day Meditation Book)
|Many of us may not have understood the idea that "anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions." We may have wondered how this could be. What does anonymity have to do with our spiritual life?
We often view the world in terms of polarity: that x and y exist only in terms of this or that. We may see our interpersonal relationships, for example, primarily in terms of "giving" or "taking" - and as long as our thoughts arise in polarity, we will continue to relate to ourselves and others as either givers or takers. There is, of course, always another way, and as we develop and learn to come from a heart- rather than ego-centered place, we learn the way of sharing.
We may think we learned all we need to know about sharing in kindergarten, but the art of true sharing - of our time, of our resources, and of those most intimate parts of ourselves - is a lifelong study and practice. It is one of subtlety, and ever in need of refinement.
Some of us, thinking we're sharing, fall back in to the ways of giving and taking: our "gifts" may come with strings and expectations, and we continue to look to get ahead by finding ways to take more than our share. Others may become martyrs to the cause, sharing so completely and indiscriminately that their generosity is abused and their resources exhausted, leaving nothing to replenish their stores. Usually, from one situation to another we swing between the extremes.
Which brings us back to the original question: what does anonymity have to do with our spiritual life?
The answer is, everything! In guarding and cherishing our anonymity - by learning to navigate what, where, when, how and with whom we may appropriately share - we earn spiritual rewards beyond comprehension.
There is a great virtue in random acts of kindness; in volunteering our time or resources to a worthy cause; in being there for someone in need: and most of all, in doing these things simply, without fanfare, and resisting the impulse to push to get something - anything! just a little acknowledgement! (so our egos tend to say) - in return. By the same token, we can be falsely modest, preferring to remain aloof, refuse thanks, and go it alone while taking the martyr's path. It may seem redundant, but even our sharing must be shared: our closest relationships can flourish in mutual sharing or whither when we don't relate equally and come to each other genuinely from that heart-centered space.
Always, there's a balance to be found.
Life is a gift we've received from a Power greater than ourselves, and it is a gift which was meant to be shared.
The work of a gynaecologist who treats rape victims who have been subjected to sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the focus of a film which has just been released. "The Man Who Mends Women", tells the story of Dr Denis Mukwege.
Although women are outpacing men in achieving higher levels of education, they are still more likely to pursue the humanities as opposed to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That's according to the World's Women 2015, a UN report which looks at how women worldwide are faring in eight critical areas such as health, education, work, power and decision-making, and poverty.
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