Often, I find myself stumbling to understand ideas that have been presented to me. I have heard through the course (ACIM) and many other teachings this idea that to give everything is to receive everything, when you give it all you receive it all; but it just didn't make sense. Even though, my mind is opening up to the possibility of the infinite and abundance, I still perceive myself as finite and lacking. This is neither good nor bad, it just is where I am at. The limits of how I perceive myself do inevitably shape what I am able to perceive. One of the ways I support myself in extending and growing my perspective is through meditation. I will go into meditation and ask Spirit to help me to understand. I have gone into meditation many times with this question on my heart: How can I give more? I feel I give everything and yet I feel depleted not full. Help me to see this differently. The following metaphor about a river came through, and I'd like to share it more in the form of a story. In this story the river represents Source and all that our Source offers us, love, healing, joy, happiness, grace, compassion, gentleness, kindness, truth, abundance. In essence you could see the metaphor of the river as representative of any of the above gifts that we have within us to share.
I found myself walking along the bank of the most magnificent flowing river. The water was clear and reflective, shimmering the rays of the sun. The river was deep and wide, flowing endlessly in both directions, I couldn't see where it began or where it might end, and I don't know how I found myself on its banks, but I was grateful. I had been travelling for so long, the land I crossed so dry and desolate, my body tired and parched, I was so thirsty for the refreshment the river would offer. I couldn't help but wonder how such a magnificent source of life-giving water could be present and yet the land around so baren and dry. I walked a little further along the bank until I happened to stumble across a small bucket, I picked up the bucket and walked toward the river, thinking it would provide a great way to drink some water and carry some water with me as I continued on my way. As I dipped the bucket into the water I was startled by a voice, I looked up and there was a man standing neck deep in the water. He said "You are welcome to take my bucket with you, take as much water as you need. Give all the water the bucket will hold, and you will receive all the water you could ever need."
I was grateful for the bucket and went to thank the man, but he had dipped into the water and was gone. I was confused by his comment, but I carried on. I dipped my bucket into the water and drank it all, nourishing myself and feeling full, but I quickly tired again and would go to the river and fill my bucket once again. Each time I drank I thought of his words. I felt guilty that the land around me was so baren and yet I was taking the water, but I was only one person and I had only one bucket it would be exhausting to take the bucket back and forth to the river to share the water with the land. I decided to take his words to heart, and I started to share my bucket of water. I would drink half the water and share the other half, every time I drank, I shared, I threw the water in every direction and on everything I could see, and I noticed how quickly the grass and the flowers on the bank welcomed the water and shared their appreciation through their vibrant colors and lushness for me to sit amongst. The beauty they offered felt so good I started to give more water, I would fill the bucket take a small sip spread the water around me and then fill another bucket and share it all. I could see what each bucket of water could offer to the space around me, but I still felt badly, this water can make such a difference but my bucket it so small, I only have so much I can hold at once the river may be infinite, but my bucket and I are finite.
My faith was growing in what I could do to help even with my small bucket and so each day I woke up early and began bucket after bucket spreading water everywhere I could. I would take the occasional sip for myself, but I poured all the rest in all directions. Working all day to fill more buckets and share more. By the end of the day, I was tired. I paused to look around me at all that the water had nourished, the grass was greener the trees more lush, the birds and bees had come to join me amongst the flowers. I was amazed at what I could accomplish with my bucket and was even more surprised to find that in all of the trips to the river and back I hadn't even realized that I created a small pond and was ankle deep in the middle of it. I smiled and splashed my feet, enjoying the refreshing feeling of the water, and excited by the creation of a pond.
The next morning I woke, took a sip of water from my small pond and smiled. I picked up my bucket and returned to the river. Bucket after bucket, day after day I shared all the water I collected from the river, stopping occasionally to drink from the growing pond that was forming along the edge of the river, until one day I found myself standing waist deep in the pond I had created. It felt so good, I felt so abundant to have this pond to share water from. I splashed in the water throwing it with my hands in all directions. As I threw the water over the edge I smiled thinking of the river, I was grateful the river had shared so much and I wanted to return some water, so I turned towards the river hands. The river was much closer than I remembered it being. In all of my buckets of water and all of the work of carrying the buckets I hadn't noticed that the pond had grown so close to the river. I walked to the edge of the pond where now only a small bit of land separated the pond from the river. I dug the land away hopeful the water from my pond would be shared to the river. I looked in amazement as the water of the river and the water of my pond joined together and then as the river began to flow into my pond. It did not stop there, it filled the pond and continued to flow right through. My pond had grown into an extension of the river.
I stood in my river, with my small bucket in hand, and smiled. I could never have imagined one person with one finite bucket could make such change to the landscape. I sat the bucket up on the bank and splashed and swam, I splashed the water out in all directions with my hands amazed at how far the river was flowing and how deep it was becoming. I stood in my river happy to share all of it, letting it all flow through as far as it could travel, until the water grew so deep it breached my shoulders, I looked around me in awe. I had been so grateful to share all the water I was receiving, that I hadn't noticed that in its depth and width, it had completely connected with its source. There were no longer two rivers side by side but one magnificent river with no land separating them. I smiled in appreciation as I felt my own self melding into the water. As my body slowly returned to the water, its source, I looked around one last time and noticed a man pick up the bucket I had set on the bank so long ago. "I'm so tired" he said, "Could I use your bucket for a drink of water?" I smiled in recognition of myself, "You are welcome to take my bucket with you, take as much water as you need, fill the bucket as full as you can and give it all away and you will have all the water you will ever need."
In that moment I knowingly and wholly let go into the water, to return completely to the infinite river of which I was part.
With my deepest love and gratitude for all of you sharing your buckets selflessly.