What would you do if you were suddenly handed a million dollars with no strings attached? Pay off your debts? Book a trip around the world? Or maybe purchase your dream house? It wouldn’t be hard to write a long list of the things we could do with a million dollars. But how many would spend it on others? Sure, a good number of us would “give the rest to charity” after we’ve taken care of our own needs and wants. But who among us would put others ahead of ourselves, consider what would benefit those around us, and start spending that million before even thinking about their own desires? Very few, indeed.
The most effective tool for connecting to the Creator is an act of sharing—that is, true sharing. Whenever we put the needs of another ahead of our own, we are truly sharing. Seems easy enough. Though, truly selfless acts are rare, because they are very difficult to do. Yet, this is exactly what we are meant to do.
Kabbalists teach that deep down, our souls desire to share selflessly. Tapping into this desire means consciously going against our Desire to Receive for the Self Alone. Consider what life might be like if sharing was second nature for all of us, and if we did it not for the reward (spiritual or otherwise), but simply for the sake of sharing. According to Michael Berg, “War between nations, hatred between individuals, deep-seated bigotry, and petty animosities simply could not exist in such a world. Placing the needs of others ahead of our own would eliminate the reasons for corruption, bigotry, jealousy, and all forms of human misery.”
If true sharing has the power to change our lives for the better, why don’t we embrace it more often? Ego is often to blame. Blessings and gifts that come into our lives (big and small) are meant for sharing. Our egos prevent us from recognizing this. Whenever we get a little extra in life, we feel like we’re suddenly “ahead of the game.” This is especially the case when we work hard for the gifts we receive; we feel like we’ve earned a bonus. It goes against our nature on a very basic, everyday level to share with others. As humans, we are wired for survival. Connecting with the Creator means going beyond our base desires and self-interest to consider how we can share the gifts that come into our lives. “In kabbalistic terms,” says Michael Berg, “real sharing must, by definition, be counterintuitive: it must go against the reflexive urges of our human nature.”
We are presented with opportunities to share all the time. The student who receives a scholarship can choose to turn her education into a successful career and end the story there, or share the gift by starting a fund for other students post-graduation. A man inherits a car; he can choose to sell it and pocket the money or lend it to a mother in need of reliable transportation. An employee is surprised to receive a bonus; she can either pocket the money or use it to help out a family member. What we choose to do (or not do) when life sends us a bonus determines how much Light we bring into the world. It can either build a stronger connection to the Creator or distance us from the Light.
“The only reason we are given anything in this world—a position, knowledge, talents, or gifts—is so that we create something positive for our community, the world, and ourselves,” says Karen Berg. When we receive a life bonus, it is our responsibility to consider how we can share these gifts with others. The world does not become a better place by propelling ourselves above and beyond the rest. Either we all win, or we all lose.