“There is an Infinite Law of the Spirit, or Law of Life, which tends to multiply our gifts, because in so doing It multiplies Its own experience, Its own pleasure, Its own fruition.” ~ Ernest Holmes
I have been practicing tithing for about 20 years and I understand that, for many, on the surface, the tradition appears scandalous. I will always remember my mother confoundedly expressing, “Can you imagine how much our millionaire friends are giving to their church?” She was aghast. Well, recently I came into an inheritance and it brought to the surface the value of tithing as a practice, for me.
The word tithing means ‘one tenth’. The practice of tithing involves regularly calculating one’s income and then ‘giving away’ (‘tithing’) 10% to where one feels spiritually fed. Traditionally, this meant giving to one’s church or other place of spiritual worship. In our modern era, where church may no longer be at the forefront of the common lifestyle, what does it mean to be ‘spiritually fed’, and how does this ancient ritual of tithing fit in?
First, let’s acknowledge that many people hold an experience of this practice as a forced payment, demanded of them by spiritual authorities. I have friends who tell stories of this that are filled with high tension.Their minister or priest would show up to ‘help them’ calculate their earnings, and to total the amount the family ‘should’ give to their place of worship. To families like these, tithing became a dirty word. It appeared to be a manipulative, make-rich scheme benefitting only the power of these old institutions. But this is far from the true practice; the rich experience and reward that comes from living this principle.
Yes, tithing means giving 10% of one’s total income to your ‘place of spiritual food’, but its true purpose is as a means of enriching a spiritual ideal through direct practice. Tithing is a means to grow one’s faith in the understanding that one’s ‘wealth’ does not come from an outer source, but rather from the true nature of Life Itself. Abundance is a reality that exists, 24/7, everywhere… regardless of outward appearances. In fact, it is a faith only in ‘outward appearances’ that seduces our attention away from a much more powerful Reality. A dedication to tithing awakens us to our limiting ideas.
I have a monthly tithing practice and I also give regularly as extra money trickles into my life. This week, an inheritance offered me the opportunity to give a much larger sum. At first calculation, my heart skipped a beat and gave me pause to reflect more deeply on my routine practice.
First, I thought, “I want to buy land. And to ‘give away’ so much money… eeek! What if the tithe ends up being the extra amount I need to qualify for my mortgage?”
I ask you, where is my faith placed in that thought process? The beliefs underlying my doubts are obvious: ‘not enough-ness’, the idea that my inheritance is my only and last source of wealth, and that ‘supply’ is limited….
“Ok fine,” I thought, after coming to my senses. “Then, who deserves to get that much money of mine?” Wow, this brought a second limiting belief bubbling to the surface…. “Mine? This money is mine?”
As you can imagine, thoughts like this kept on bubbling to the surface of my consciousness. And here lies evidence of the value of this practice. Do you see how obvious it is that, through engaging in giving money away, I suddenly became obsessed with underlying thoughts (not new thoughts… but ways of thinking that have always been there)? See how they were now being brought to the surface for me to examine?
I spent a few days in turmoil with my inner dialogue, desiring a path back to grounded spiritual understanding; to the spiritual truths I use as guideposts for daily living. Why? Because when I hold these ancient philosophical beliefs first and foremost in my consciousness, my life soars to heights I never imagined possible.
Finally, once I became grounded, and once again determined to deepen my trust in an Infinite Life that is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent, I knew what I needed to do… tithe anyway.
Still a question begged: “Where am I spiritually fed?”. Here unfolded the most fun part of the journey.
I pulled out my phone and texted my spiritual teacher and friend. “Where are you spiritually fed?” I asked.
As we texted back and forth, I pulled out my tarot cards. (Yup, tarot cards. I was stumped and looking for some clarity). I did a 5 card spread, with each card giving me insights to ponder. My wise friend also shared her answer to my question.
Within moments it hit me, BOOM!
I had such a visceral experience. It was like I had just stepped off the side of a cliff into a free-fall, only… I could fly! The answers to where I am fed became so clear.
I decided to give to 3 places:
First and foremost, I gave to my Centre because, to me, it represents the wisdom teachers, the books and the philosophy that continue to enrich and transform my life. Ernest Holmes, Emma Curtis Hopkins, Plotinus, Emerson… theirs are the shoulders on which I stand.
Second, I thought of the people who believe in me… really believe in me…. those who, beyond all my faults, see me as a gift. The adoration these friends have toward me has fostered such spiritual growth in me. Acceptance of my true nature, in real time, through the eyes of another, time and time again, has been profoundly transformational.
Finally my truck. Yup, it may seem weird but yes, ‘Susie Tacoma’ brings me spiritual food. She is, for me, a representation of self love… a belief in myself that has been transformational and expanding, in all her little details and the relationship I am forging with her. The care and focus I put into my truck is a direct reflection of the care and love I am learning to give to myself. Susie is an act of kindness to me in a way I have never practiced before. She represents freedom and power, and I am owning it. Today I am worth a good life.
I tell you this story because I desire for you the benefits that come with a practice of tithing. It opens each and every person who dedicates themselves to it. It brings their underlying thoughts to conscious awareness so they can move past their limiting beliefs. (I know we all have such beliefs because if we didn’t, we would all be tithing effortlessly). Once we are aware, we can invoke our power of choice to change.
Oh, and a note: tithing is specifically about giving to where you are spiritual fed. Watch for your monkey-mind negotiating, rationalizing, and wheeling-dealing, trying to make the process ‘easier’. Tithing is not necessarily donating to just any local charity. Ask yourself first, “Does this spiritually feed me?”
I knew with clarity that I had made the right decision when my internal chatter went silent, and my answer rose to the surface like a hot air balloon, soaring through the sky. It was such a freeing experience… a total immersion into the spiritual truth of Infinite Supply right here and now! This is a natural high that I love experience, and it is rooted in Faith.
ACTIVITIES for TRANSFORMATION
~ Write down, in some way, all the money that trickles into your life, as it comes. Observe how much you HAVE. (What we focus on expands).
~ Pick a percentage you would like to use to begin your tithing journey. (Somewhere between 1 - 10 percent of your income from all sources). Make it big enough that you feel slightly uncomfortable. (If it is too easy, you won’t reap the inner advantage of the practice).
~ When the percent you are giving becomes comfortable, increase the amount.
~ Continue this practice for at least 6 months. (Mark it on your calendar so you know when to review).
~ At the 6 month mark, review the learnings and the changes in your life, and decide on your next steps.