Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | September 6, 2009

Stewardship

I came across this concept, not a new one, but awakened again in my consciousness, this concept of stewardship. Heard it from Father Corapi on the catholic channel, a preacher I don’t like listening to very much–he’s a bit abrasive, almost self righteous(maybe that’s unfair), a bit agressive(he’s former military turned priest), but he was speaking the other night about stewardship, and it rung true. For those of us who have not given up everything, who have things, who own things, who run things, who are bosses and owners of businesses, the concept of stewardship takes us a step further beyond just reaping the benefits of our ownership. There is an implied moral imperative that we be good stewards of the things we own. We are, or should be, taught to take care of things when we are kids, and it should hold true as we get older and own more and better things. There should be a respect, a sacredness almost, I don’t think that’s going too far. And there is a responsibility to the community at large to trust that we will be good stewards of the things in our possession.

This is a slightly different concept from socialism or communism or giving up everything. It’s accepting the awesome responsibility of being the steward of something. One thing that comes to mind for me personally is being a steward of the teachings of tai chi. I take very seriously the lessons that have been handed down to me and that are in my hands to give to others. The skill and the rewards of hardwork are mine, but it would not do me very good if I misused this precious possession. I should use it for good, and in a giving way. This holds true for my apartment, my clothes, my car, my computer, my blogspot. I don’t want to say it’s because it really doesn’t belong to me. It does. But it is because that ownership comes with the stewardship. It’s so clear when you see people not respecting the things they have, not sharing them with others, not being clued in to the beauty of the thing itself.

So, encorporate the practice of stewardship in your life. It is another character trait that will serve you well.

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Responses

  1. Yes! Your outer form reflects your mind! When teaching Yoga, I like to make a similar point – one that I find so exciting – your form in the poses is more about your mind than your body, especially noticeable in the balancing poses. If you’re scattered mentally, you’ll topple over, and everyone does it sometimes, and there’s nothing else but to laugh at ourselves with compassion, and try again, knowing that that’s exactly why it’s called a “practice.” Perhaps it’s the same with Tai Chi?
    ~Donna

    • I like to use the image of the samurai, whi, the instant he loses his concentration, is cut down. In tai chi oractice, I would often tease myself and others, that when you get lost in the form and forget the next move, that’s the moment a big sword comes down and cuts you in half. It’s a fine line between doing tai chi wei wu wei, or no mind, and enjoying being in that free flow, and also being fully aware of what you are doing and of your surroundings. I think it’s better to err on the side of awareness, as that is one of the major benefits of tai chi.

      Have you ever noticed how great martial atrists–it’s very apparent in Bruce Lee–use their peripheral vision to take in all of their surroundings? They aren’t quite looking directly at their opponent, but peripherally. Even great sportsmen and women do it. I’ve even done it playing chess! I play better. So, even if we topple over once in a while, it’s all good! Thanks for reading Donna!

      Mike

  2. I’ve been introduced to Ram Dass(not personally), and I’ve been wanting to read some of his stuff but haven’t yet…as an aside, I’ve been treating the shoes in their boxes in the backroom of the store nicer since writing this post. As another aside, I read somewhere how your outer environment is a reflection of your inner soul. I’m a bit disorganized at home and have to work hard at keeping up with the housework, but, in a good way, it’s somewhat of a reflection of the many things running through my mind…
    p.s., thanks for the comment on the photos

  3. Ram Dass talks about the need to transform our nail and claws idea of ownership to one of management, like with the household money, for example, one might say, “I’m just managing these funds the best way I know how, while I’m here.” He was talking about how if you’re on a spiritual path, you inevitably get to a point where it actually seems absurd to own anything.

    But yes, back to stewardship, we do need to take a more widespread attitude of care toward our resources.

    We are stewards of two giant sycamores. The last ones standing of a bunch that used to form a line, in the 20s.


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