A Course in Miracles and other such texts often tell us not to give value to anything in the world. Yet, when I teach The Art of Tithing, it appears I’m telling us that we should give value to everything in the world. Especially everything that appears to be in our world.
Appearances can be deceiving, can’t they?
The Art of Tithing actually instructs us to assign a value. Not give a value – assign one. When unwanted things happen in our lives, we give large value to these negative or bad situations. Yet, we give very tiny value – or completely dismiss any value we might have assessed – to the small, incidental or ordinary good things in our lives.
Like the fact that we woke up today, or we have toilet paper and food in the house. Even if my son didn’t stock the toilet paper in all bathrooms like he is supposed to, we still have toilet paper in the house. Even if I don’t feel like cooking any of the food we have, we still have food in the house.
We value our inconvenience about the toilet paper not being stocked over our supply of toilet paper. We value our lack of enthusiasm for cooking over the supply of food in our kitchens. We overvalue the negative.
And we tend to undervalue the kindness of strangers and the people in our everyday lives who we take for granted. We accentuate the negative over the positive.
As a rule, we generally tend to treat the people close to us the worst. Why? Because we feel safe with them. It’s okay for them to see our angry side. It’s okay for us to take our frustrations out on them.
We pick up some negativity after an interaction with somebody else during the day. We feel disrespected, undervalued, unloved, unappreciated. And we pass it along like a torch.
Like the guy who comes home from a bad day where his boss yelled at him and he kicks the dog, yells at his spouse or hits the kids.
Assigning a value is about showing us where we’re projecting someone else’s frustration into our lives. And helping us recognize where we aren’t valuing the daily precious moments that fill our lives.
What’s the best way to pay attention to this lack of appreciation? Declaring that we must assign a value to everything. Because we’re already doing exactly that. We’re simply unaware of our valuations.
It’s like when people say, “I can’t visualize.” Sure, you can! You invest great amounts of energy crafting elaborate scenarios in your mind, scathingly righting whatever perceived wrong was done to you, and then sharing your triumph with any friend who will listen. But when it comes to simply saying thank you, or putting down your phone and giving your full and loving attention to someone close to you, not so much, right?
Take a minute and begin to truly value what happens in your life. When people donate their time to you, give you a foot massage, take you out to dinner, give you books, spend time giving you advice, value them. And then take it the next step. Assign a value. Place a value on what you’ve received. And record that amount.
Do the same for ideas sparked by circumstances: something you read, hear, or uncover in meditation. Make sure everything receives a value. What could each and every moment of your life – each and every interaction – be worth to you?
Place a value and then immediately take even the smallest step to put that value to good use and share it with others. Do this, and you’ll discover for yourself how assigning value creates a greater level of inner and outer peace. And that, my friend, is true wealth.