Tithing helps us become balanced and whole
The aspect of tithing is an interesting practice because we all come with individual karma as to how we perceive money, how we perceive our spiritual life, how we perceive what our path specifically is in this life…. so for many of us as devotees we may have strong devotion and love for God but the challenge, of course, is to be able to function on the physical plane from where God has put us right now in this life where sometimes money and the challenges of expenses and living in this world can be overwhelming. So we may have the devotion but we need to blend the physical life with the spiritual life and to give our lives to God completely. Tithing is an important part of that because it connects the spiritual life with the physical plane and allows us to become balanced and whole. Also, for us to develop faith in God that we can trust that God will take care of us and that our Guru’s blessings are always omnipresent. That sometimes is a very difficult step to take, but being here at Ananda and giving our life to God we have such support of people around us showing us what faith looks like, and trust, and showing us how we can bring that into our own lives.
God’s grace flows in during challenging times
I have a couple of stories I’d like to share.
Some years ago my son – after he graduated from high school – went to a city college for training as an actor. His mom and his stepdad were able to afford to pay for school and boarding but they asked us to pay for his car insurance. We were happy to help out in any way we could but living here at Ananda Village, our wages were just enough to help us get by.
The first payment was 390 dollars and we ( Lalita and I) thought we will have to go and get another job because we definitely couldn’t cover another 390 dollars in the money we were getting through Ananda. I was working at Master’s Market at the time – full time – so that was an interesting conundrum for us to try to figure out. So we talked about it and we meditated on this and thought that Master doesn’t want us to go out and find a job somewhere else to pay for this extra money for the car insurance. We realized that we’ve put Master in charge of our lives – it was time to put into practice the faith and trust that we’ve developed over the years.
We just started writing the checks for 390 dollars every month, and we did that for over three years for the car insurance and I did not have to get another job, we did not have to ask for a raise – but that money was covered over all those years.
Another story relates to our moving here to Crystal hermitage. The apartment that we were going to move into wasn’t really set up for the two of us. We needed to remodel it and fortunately for us the house my parents lived in when they were alive was bought by my niece and this extra money came just at the right time for us to renovate our apartment in the way we felt would be beneficial for us to serve best.
Tithing gave me Freedom
We have been tithing for probably 36 years and what I tuned into when I thought about how I did my tithing or what I felt that I gained through tithing was a greater sense of freedom. That freedom came from the different aspects that I had to go through as we made a commitment to tithe. The first thing that I felt that I had to do when tithing became a part of our life, especially as Trimurti shared we had to come up with an extra 390 dollars every month, I had to be willing.
That sense of willingness wasn’t always there. So I had to find that in myself to say okay this is what I have to do. God is going to take care of me and I want to be willing. Maybe I wasn’t willing in the beginning, but I want to be willing to just write that check for tithing and be okay with that and not feel any stress or anxiety in my life. So I worked on willingness.
How I worked on it was I thought about everything I have – all the money we have – doesn’t really belong to me. It really belongs to God. I don’t own the money. I’m not really giving it away. It really all belongs to God. When I affirmed that in myself that I’m the caretaker I’m responsible for my finances but really it’s not mine it really all belongs to God. I serve every day but I don’t do it necessarily for money although I need money to pay my rent, to pay for the food, that service is really what I want to do for God. So the money is sort of an added blessing so to speak.
Tithing Taught me to Trust God
The next thing I thought about was trust.
If you’re new to the path like I was 36 years ago, you don’t have the experience to back up your willingness to give God 10 percent of your income. So I had to dive a little deeper to find that faith, that trust in God. But also by just going ahead and tithing, what I discovered was that my faith and my trust in God strengthened because I saw that when I wrote that check, we still survived. We didn’t become poor and we were able to buy food – we survived and we survived well… and I developed that understanding that God took care of me. He was taking care of us in this situation. If I just did my part, he did his part.
Gratitude to God and Guru
The last thing that I thought about was gratitude. I mean, we look around us especially at Ananda village and we see the beauty and the incredible nature all around us and these incredible Gurubhais that we live with in a sense we’re in a little bubble – but that bubble doesn’t separate us from the rest of the world in terms of giving.
And I feel deep gratitude for all that God has given me in my life. Many of us feel what good karma do we have to have the teachings that Yogananda gave us – what good karma do we have to have the understanding that we’ve been given in our lives…I feel deep gratitude – and in that gratitude I want to share with God whatever I can.
Obviously my service is a sharing, but monetarily, the world needs money to keep going. Ananda needs money to be able to share with other people, what we live every day, what we experience, and I feel that gratitude in being able to give to God that 10 percent – and so now 36 years later I don’t hem or haw at all when I write that check. It’s – Thank you God. I write that check for everything that I’ve been given and my gratitude only grows much more deeper for all that God has given us.
So bless you on your own journey towards understanding and being able to give back to God.
This is a transcript of a talk by Nayaswami Trimurti and Nayaswami Lalita who live at Ananda Village CA
You can watch the video of the talk here