There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy, we sow anonymous benefits upon the world. – Robert Louis Stevenson.
In one of John Kehoe’s inspirational little books, I recently read about a wonderful Native North American Indian tradition – the Potlatch.
Potlatch! Even the name sounds intriguing and I had to find out what it was all about. Apparently in the old days, when a family or individual accumulated substantial wealth a potlatch was given. This involved inviting all the neighbours round for a feast and the hand out of gifts to every single person in the community. No one is left out. Everyone receives something from the wealthy neighbour, and sometimes they receive more than one item. What a brilliant concept!
Sun Bear, a Chippewa medicine man who was present at a recently held Potlatch, explains that there is actually an even greater giveaway than the potlatch. “This giveaway happens within each of us. We must giveaway our fear, our worry, our hates and grudges. Give away all that weakens us and pollutes the stream of consciousness. There is a stream of consciousness that runs through each of us. If it is pure, it will nourish the human tribe. If it is polluted, it will make us sick. In these times that we are living today, we are polluting the stream by how we think. We need to change our ways, our values. We must purify the stream to heal both ourselves and the earth, and this giveaway can only be done one person at a time.” Wise wise words.