Thinking about The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources and the lessons of firgiveness, compassion and blessing.
In this book she describes a certain incident that took place when she achieved her life-long dream to meet with Mother Teresa at the Missionaries of Charity–Old Delhi Orphanage.
Considering every moment she was given with the Mother to be precious, she felt instant irritation when their meeting was rudely interrupted by a well-to-do couple who barged in unannounced.
“First I smelled them, then I heard them,” she writes. “A middle-aged Indian couple, a man and woman, both very tall, very large, very heavily perfumed and clearly very rich. The woman came first, pushing ahead of her husband, moving aggressively toward our small meeting table. She had diamond studs in her ears and one in her nose. Her arms were covered in lavish bangles, many laced with precious stones. She was heavily made up and was wearing a blue and white sari covered with opulent gold and silver brocade and embroidery. She was overweight and her flesh bulged through the open midsection of her taut sari.”
Her husband was bigger, wider, and flashier than she was. He wore a turban with a topaz set in the center just above his forehead, and a white brocade kurta. He had a ring on every finger of both hands. In the quiet of this hallway, they seemed to me like monsters as they barged into our tranquil and intimate scene.
“With no greeting at all either to me or to Mother Teresa, the large, loud woman shoved a camera into my hand as she and her husbsand pulled Mother Teresa from her chair and situated her against the wall between them. They they pushed in like giant grotesque bookends on either side of Mother Teresa and demanded a photograph.
‘We didn’t get a picture. We need to have a picture!’ the woman complained loudly, and she motioned for me to snap a photo with her camera.
I was livid. The beauty of my moment with Mother Teresa shattered in the rage I felt now at these rude and opulent intruders. As I snapped the photo, the tall woman fussed at Mother Teresa to look up toward her for a second shot. Mother Teresa was bent over at the neck from old age and osteoporosis, but without hesitating the woman put her hand under Mother Teresa’s chin and forced it up.
Shocked that anyone would treat Mother Teresa that way but wanting them gone, I snapped the second photo. The woman then snatched her camera and she and her husband, without so much as a ‘thank you’ to Mother Teresa or to me, disappeared in a noisy rush back down the hall and away.
Mother Teresa returned to her chair by the table and continued as if nothing had happened finishing her thought on the topic of our earlier conversation, But I could hardly hear her, I was so full of anger and outrage toward this couple.”
Later that evening as she replayed the incident in her mind again and again,the author poured her heart out in a letter to Mother Teresa confessing her feelings of rage and asking forgiveness for her prejudice and lack of compassion.
Several weeks later Mother Teresa responded by letter, admonishing Twist for her lack of compassion and reminding her that all are in need of love and understanding. “The vicious cycle of poverty, she said, has been clearly articulated and is widely known.
What is less obvious and goes almost completely unacknowledged is the vicious cycle of wealth.
There is no recognition of the trap that wealth, so often is, and of the suffering of the wealthy; the loneliness, the isolation, the hardening of the heart, the hunger and poverty of the soul that can come with the burden of wealth.
She said that I had extended little or no compassion to the strong, the powerful, and the wealthy, while they need as much compassionas anyone else on earth.
‘You must open your heart to them and become their student andtheir teacher,’ she said in her letter. ‘Open you compassion and include them. This is an important part of your life’s work. Do not shut them out. The also are your work.’
“Everyone we meet comes to us for a purpose. They will either serve as our teachers or allow us to serve as theirs. Everyone we meet, no matter what the circumstance, no matter what their rank or status, is worthy of and in need of our love and appreciation. Everyone needs ours blessing. No one is exempt.”
Think about it. Is there someone in your life that you don’t feel really needs a blessing? If so, this is a wonderful opportunity to confront your inner beliefs and judgments. Using a journel, begin to write down all the reasons why you think this person or persons needs no blessing.
Do you feel they moreprivileged or more saintly than you? Do you feel uncomfortable in their presence? Are they offensive to you? Or is simply that until this moment you have just never considered them to be in need of a blessing?
Write down the answers that come to mind. Now take a moment to send a blessing, observe how it makes you feel and document those feelings as well. Changing a mindset sometimes takes nudging. Confronting your feelings, writing them down and then moving past them serves as such a nudge.
“No one is exempt from my blessing.”
“When you know with certainty that things can be not just different but entirely resolved, you engage in the work in a more fundamental way.
You don’t wonder ‘if.’
You determine ‘how to.’
You look at root causes.
You make different choices.
To your continued growth and journey!