The story by Amin that was recently posted in the Guest Room gives the clear lesson that when we keep, we are limited by what we keep, and when we give away, we become richer. To possess is to be possessed; when we have goods, we must care for them and guard them, and our attention is seldom free from them. Life is brief, and we waste a precious, irreplaceable opportunity if we only spend our time as custodians of wealth that will turn to dust when we are called to leave this world.
It does not mean that the seeker must abandon everything – home, clothes, food, friends, although some few may be called to such an extreme practice. But we should be aware that everything has a cost, and very often the cost is more than the benefit we receive, or that we think we receive, from some acquisition or worldly pleasure.
This applies to material goods, but it also applies to the heart. When we keep the heart closed, we are poor; when we open the heart and throw away our claims of me and mine, we receive the whole world and are welcomed everywhere. To love is to give without expectation; if we have some expectation behind our giving, it is not love but commerce.
Hazrat Inayat Khan told a story with a very similar theme, in volume I of the Message Series, about a spiritual master named Gurikha, journeying with a student named Machandra.
When Machandra said to Gavrikha on their journey through the wilderness, “Gavrikha, I feel afraid.” Gavrikha answered, “Throw away the fear.”
Machandra answered,”How can fear be thrown away?”
Gavrikha said “Throw away that which causes you fear.”
Machandra took out from his wallet two bricks of gold and said, “These bricks of gold, must I throw them away?”
“Yes,” said Gavrikha, “what is it?”
Machandra threw them away, and as they went on, his face turned pale.
Gavrikha looked at him and said, “Why are you sad?”
Machandra said “Now we have nothing.”
Gavrikha said, “We have everything. Look before you, what do you behold?” And Machandra beheld mountains of gold.
Gaurikha said, “Take as much as you can, if that is your soul’s striving.”
Machandra’s soul awoke, and he said, “Nothing will I take, for I know the riches of possessing nothing.”