The bounty of the harvest can be seen at the bottom of the well.
This is an adage I found in a Sufi book I consult often called, “Physicians of the Heart.”
This week we’re exploring bounty or abundance of gifts. Where does it come from? Do you work hard? Do you TRY hard?
What about the times when you’ve been successful in life and things seem easy?
What about the times when things HAVEN’T seemed easy, even though you’re working as hard as ever?
The abundance of the harvest can be seen at the bottom of the well.
Let’s unpack this a little.
What I think this bit of wisdom is saying is that there is hope for us… if we work to bring the water from the bottom of the well to the surface, and then we use it to water the soil in the garden we’ve prepared and planted, then eventually that garden – or those date palms – will grow and bear fruit. At the end of this little line of reasoning, we’re able to pick the dates and enjoy their sweetness as our reward.
Now in Sufism, which comes from Islam (depending on who you ask), one of the practices I’ve learned about from my own teacher is called Dhikr. It’s a sort of meditative practice usually done in a group that involves singing and dancing along with specific words that are being repeated over and over and over. The word will be repeated dozens or even hundreds of times so that after a while, you kind of lose yourself in it.
Now I’m not Sufi or Muslim, so take this with a grain of salt, but in my experience, single words in Arabic hold massive amounts of meaning – whole paragraphs and even books of information can be contained in even a single syllable.
So if you take a word like the one that inspires this episode- Razzaq, which means “The one who gives us the gifts we need to earn our own keep” – and you make a Dhikr out of that word, saying it over and over for a few minutes or longer, this can become a beautiful meditation on abundance.
I love this name of the Divine – Ar Razzaq – because it’s quality – the gift giver is exactly what I need and long for. I am able-bodied, gratefully, and have been given lots of gifts over my life… experiences and skills I’ve picked up along the way.
What I love more than anything is to find a match – someone who needs what I have to offer. That perfect balanced relationship… I’m given rewards -money in this case in gratitude for my gifts. In return, I use my skills and my time, my experience, etc, to do something useful… Kind of like taking the water from that well and using it to water a garden, then selling the harvest to earn what I need to live.
What about when things don’t work out, though? Are you enjoying the fruits of your work? Do you feel appreciated? Paid fairly?
I have a friend that says they’re paid too much. They admit feeling guilty sometimes because there are so many people who don’t have enough to get by on, yet this person – who works very hard, mind you – makes quite a bit of money.
Here is a quote from New Thought author Michael Beckwith:
“There is a lie that acts like a virus within the mind of humanity. And that lie is, ‘There’s not enough good to go around. There’s lack, and there’s
The truth is that there’s more than enough good to go around. There is more than enough creative ideas. There is more than enough power. There is more than enough love. There’s more than enough joy. All of this begins to come through a mind that is aware of its own infinite nature.
There is enough for everyone. If you believe it, if you can see it, if you act from it, it will show up for you. That’s the truth.”
Now, to be fair, try saying that to a hungry child – or to one of the patients I meet doing interfaith Chaplaincy at the hospital.
It’s important to acknowledge that there is suffering. There is injustice and there are people who simply can’t get enough – water from that well. or some folks aren’t allowed to keep enough of the harvest they worked to make possible.
Having said that. Do you have faith?
Faith in what? or Who?
If so, how does it sustain you when it seems like that harvest will never come?
I have a theory that people pray when things are bleak and scary, but when things are plentiful, not so much. I know I do this.
What would it be like to pray or give thanks when things are good? What would it be like to wake up in the morning and take a moment to scan your body from head to foot and feel wonder at all the things that have to happen JUST for you to wake up for another day?
Will you join me in a practice of gratitude this week? Each day, I’ll be looking for one thing in my life that just works. Food on the table, friends that look forward to hearing from me, you listening to this.
The bounty of the dates can be seen at the bottom of the well.
My friend, may we both remember to see that bounty before we complain about how much work it is to lift that water to the surface.