The Getting in Giving

The benefits of sacrifice
Added: Monday, 11 August 2008

watch original V-Blog in Persian

watch original V-Blog in German

One of the things that many people say and I used to say, is "one day when I'm rich and famous I will do this and that"...I'll build water wells in African villages, I'll create a school for the underprivileged or even just a simple workshop for women...it doesn't matter what our lofty plans, we imagine a certain level of success and achievement to be the prerequisite for doing great things. After all, how can you give anything when you don't have anything?

But in the last couple of years it's occurred to me that making your mark or making any meaningful contribution is a privilege that every human being can partake of. It is a process that requires sacrifice, not comfort! A friend of mine once told me that the most precious wedding gift she received was a chicken. After panning across the crystals and china in her lounge, I asked her if she was serious. And she explained, that she lived in a village at the time and her neighbor owned nothing but a chicken in this world. That was his most valuable possession. And that's what he gave her. Everything he'd owned.

The word sacrifice is often associated with loss and pain. We think of it as something that we give away and it's gone. The man with one chicken gives that one chicken away and now he's got none! But the Latin root of the word, sagrificium, denotes trading in something lower for something higher – rendering something sacred! So in the case of the man with the chicken the chicken becomes sacred. But can we render that concept tangible? What does it mean for the chicken to be 'sacred'?

I'd like to refer readers to the video called Infinite Vision featured in our videos section. It truly speaks for itself, but here's some info. In it, Dr. V of India, who was sent into retirement at age 58 with rheumatism and an unexciting pension, decides to start his life legacy around an eye-clinic that is designed to help blind people regain their sight. 40 million worldwide suffer from blindness, 12 million of them live in India and 80% of them suffer unnecessarily. Their blindness can be reversed. He started with 11 beds. Him and his family sold their jewellery and mortgaged their homes in order to keep building the clinic. They literally gave everything they had. It was not about how much they had, it was about scraping together the little security that they had built over the years to create a project that would ultimately help hundreds, later thousands of people. Today, 30 years later, at age 88, Dr. V has a whole series of large clinics all over India where he cures the blindness of tens of thousands of people.

And just to give you an idea of what that 'higher' thing is, that we trade our blood, sweat and resources for when we give - here is what Dr. V says:

"When we grow in spiritual consciousness, we identify ourselves with all that is in the world. So there is no exploitation. It is ourselves we are helping. It is ourselves we are healing."

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