Letter to My Divine Friend Forever

Life is a Potluck! Photo:Kaboompics

In this letter to her "divine friend forever", my dear student Manisha tells her friend within about the imaginary jackpot she has won and what she would do with these enormous winnings.

Dear Divine Friend Forever,

I received news today that I won the jackpot! Can you believe it? Yes, I know, I know … you are not at all surprised.  I can hear you saying: "I'm delighted for you yet again! What with all the fuss? You are regularly winning jackpots – haven’t you noticed?" However, I’m still wrapping my head around it. The sum is US$100 million. Yikes!!! Whoa. Wow! That seems like a lot of money to me. 

But of course, it’s all relative. 

For example, I wouldn’t bat an eye if someone said to me: "Hey, today the sun is going to shine all day!" And yet the miracle of a sunny day is as awesome as winning the jackpot, isn’t it? But since a sunny day is familiar to me, I don’t typically devote much time to thinking about to how to spend the sunshine. What do I do? I enjoy it while it lasts. I may go out for a walk, or I may simply sit and bask in its light. If I feel too hot, I step in the shade. I put the plants which need the most light to flourish in a place where they are able to soak up the warmth of the nourishing rays. I surely appreciate the sun’s light a lot more during the shorter, colder winter days. When the sun sets, I might not even notice its exit. Yet, on other evenings, I’m dazzled by its spectacular departure. I typically say farewell without any sadness. And, no matter how I spent the sunshine, I always expect to see the sun rise again. I cannot remember a day in my life — no matter how grim the circumstances — when I doubted that the sun would rise again. Even on a cloudy day, I know that the sun is still there.

So the first thing I’m going to do now that the light of US$100 million is shining upon me is to to let my tears of sheer joy flow freely in response to what seems like a life-changing experience. I am reminded of the day when I heard one of my songs played on a well-known radio station in Los Angeles. Overwhelmed at first, my eyes welled up with tears.

Courage to Enjoy

As the tears subside and I realize that this is really happening, now I am going pray for the courage to enjoy spending this money without the fear of losing it, and for the guidance to invest it wisely in projects that can most benefit from it. Sudden life-changing experiences often help to enlighten one’s thinking. But sudden changes in lifestyle can sometimes be overwhelming and create more difficulties. Will you be my guide as I bask in this newfound sunlight?

As you know, this win means financial freedom for me for the first time in many years. You were there listening last fall as I was pleasantly surprised to hear the customer service associate inform me that I had paid off one of my student loans. Now I have also called the company servicing the remaining student loan and the credit card companies to obtain the payoff amounts - hooray! How good it feels to pay off all financial obligations!

After tithing, paying taxes, repaying any monetary debts, and allocating some money for some dental work, I set aside a generous annual income for myself for the next half century or so. Even after that, there is still more to spend! Some funds will be used towards music and film production. Some will be used as seed money for a foundation to support causes that are important to me. Some funds will be invested in startups and other ventures. Some will be donated to other organizations or used to help fulfill wishes of friends and family. Plus, it will be fun to do anonymous giveaways to strangers.

Time to pay it forward! 

Time to get busy! 

And no time for excuses! 

Will you help me to focus? 

Life is a Potluck

Some weeks ago, my mentor Radhikaji was talking about life as a potluck where we sample each other’s preparations and in turn we bring something to offer to everyone. Oh dear friend within, did you help me tune into that message? You surely got my attention! The potluck metaphor especially resonated with me, not only because I enjoy cooking, sharing and sampling, but also because I feel that I have been a bit of a recluse in recent years. Much of that reclusiveness appears to have served me well as I feel that my personality has benefited immensely from the transformative opportunity to devote myself to my earthly mother. But lately, my divine friend, I hear you asking me: "Have you retreated here partly because you are afraid of life out there? Even though you physically parted with so many of your belongings, remember that the whole world is still yours for the asking."

Dear divine friend, I feel that you’ve been nudging me for a while to step out into the world again, and now the year 2020 is pulling me outward, urging me to show up again for the earthly potluck. You guided me already in this new year to rediscover the song “Greatest Love of All” which as you know my mother so loved hearing me sing when I was a teenager. I can’t wait to perform my new arrangement for her! You remember how it goes, yes? Let’s sing it now! "I found the greatest love of all inside of me…"

With financial freedom, I sing ever more freely! I focus ever more fully on honing my skills and talents to prepare musical performances, productions, and compositions for platforms that can reach larger audiences. I share with others whatever I can that may help them to further their goals on their respective musical paths. I devote some time to travel for work and pleasure, as well as for the purpose of expanding my awareness. I continue to make time to care for myself and the environment in which I live, including having the courage to stand up for myself and those who are vulnerable in the face of negative influences. I sleep and rest plentifully, until the time comes when sleep is no longer necessary for my body. Daily I practice yoga meditation. And after fixing my hair — no matter where I am — I still squat and collect by hand the loose strands of hair on the floor, just as I remember my mother doing for me when I was little. With your daily guidance and blessings, these are the "dishes" that I am bringing to the potluck of life in your honor. 

True Freedom – Beyond all Jackpots

Even with financial freedom, I remain forever indebted to you for your guidance and divine friendship, so let me be at ease with the debts I have incurred in this life — financial or otherwise.  For example, can I ever repay my earthly parents and teachers? I cannot. Yet, with your grace, there can be forgiveness of these debts even without repayment. With your power working through me, I can release myself, as well as those whom I perceive to owe me on this earthly plane.

Therefore, while financial freedom is wonderful, it is not freedom from bondage. Let’s say that tomorrow I also win the health, love, respect, appreciation, and recognition jackpots – what then? Actually, haven’t I won them already? It’s just a matter of time before I recognize and appreciate those winnings. As I release each of the ties that binds, I see time and time again that the ultimate bind that constrains me is my own thinking. True freedom — where I become one with the rising sun and the growing sums of wealth — is available only beyond all earthly jackpots.

Become One with the rising sun (Photo Sebastian Voortman)

For this reason, I ask you, dear divine friend, please to have mercy on me. Will you offer me the shelter and light of your unfathomable grace as I encounter every fear? Will you aid me in roasting every seed of indolence, ignorance, indifference and intent to harm? Will you laugh and cry with me as my heart becomes lighter? Will you revel with me in the warmth of forgiveness? 

When the soil is thus prepared, I will flourish wholly and naturally as the fullest expression of that which I am. In this garden, may every flowering thought and deed glorify you.

Dear divine friend forever, thank you for being here and there and everywhere that I am. As always, I am listening for your reply.

Yours truly,