The 10 percent solution

Prayer, practice and profit

At a recent Sufi meeting many of us attended, I was struck by the immense commitment members make to praying five times a day.

Imagine what that would mean for you in your work life? Your home life? The way your weekends look.

What struck me is the depth of conscious commitment to putting the spiritual life first, above mundane human concerns.

We don’t have such a practice in our teaching, although we certainly encourage spiritual mind treatment on a daily basis.

Having said that, my teacher often shared with his students that he used every opportunity he could for prayer. If he was travelling, he prayed upon take off. Attending a meeting? He prayed for the desired outcome. He prayed before every talk he gave, and prayed before any circumstance where he wanted to see a greater truth unfold.

In other words, he lived in prayer – and gave up to Spirit first – just like our Sufi friends.

So how does all this fit in with prosperity?

Living at such a high level of consciousness isn’t easy. And it’s not supposed to be. But when we take the task on, we reap the rewards.

This spiritual principle is known as tithing, which literally translates as “giving away 10 per cent”. It’s usually thought of as money, but it doesn’t have to be.

Giving up 10 percent of our time to prayer, lets the universe know we’re serious. When we only pray when we’re in trouble, what intentions are we setting the rest of the time? What “relationship” have we built with our spiritual selves? Not much. We haven’t made the commitment.

The benefits of giving away 10% bloom in expected ways. If I give 10% of my time to myself, then I am honouring who I am. If I give 10% of my parenting time to deep heart-to-heart connection, then that relationship blossoms. If I give 10% of my treasure to something meaningful in my world, that feeds both myself and others.

How do you ‘do’ anything is how you do everything

We all have something to give. What stretches me spiritually is when I have the courage to give away more than what I think I am capable of.

We know this principle works when it comes to relationships. We know it works when we apply mindful practice to our health. But for some reason, it’s harder for us to see how it works with money.

And here’s what I’ve learned. I’ve practiced three ways of doing life – and for that matter “doing money”. The results applied whether I was earning a lot or a little.

  1. Scarcity consciousness – I withhold giving to others in hopes I can “will” myself to prosperity, yet find myself spending frivolously, and so end up with less
  2. Mindful consciousness – I live in balance, and maintain the status quo
  3. Giving consciousness – I extend myself slightly beyond my reach – reordering my priorities, and my abundance (spiritual and financial), grows

Giving is that spiritual principle. When we hold tight to what we have, we confine and restrict our thinking. When we give to something bigger – not give beyond our means but rather use our money in alignment with who we are and what we value – we stretch ourselves.

When we put Spirit first, positive shift happens.

Once stretched, we cannot go back. Now we find ourselves in a position of wealth, able to give more yet again because we have helped to feed the circle of life itself.

Rev. Karin
Karin Wilson is the Spiritual Director at the Centre for Spiritual Living Yaletown in Vancouver, BC. A writer as well as spiritual coach, Karin spent more than 20 years as a journalist contributing thousands of articles to a wide range of media, including CBC Radio's The Current, Daybreak Kelowna, and The World at Six. In 2015 her voyage to Haida Gwaii was featured in Science of Mind magazine.