What is it that I can give to you or you to me that brings each of us pleasure or new insight, that depletes neither of us, and that we can then pass on to others without losing anything of our own?
What is it we can give to each other that improves the quality of living for both of us, and does so without exhausting the vital resources of our planet? What is it that cannot be taken from us in the way we can lose a job, our savings, or even a loved one?
This is real wealth. It is our sincere smile, the honest concern that can be read in our eyes. It is a helping hand offered and the pleasure of sharing in something that relieves another’s burden. It is something of the wisdom we have garnered from our years of living offered unpretentiously and without attachment to whether it is received.
It is the quality of our attention: our willingness not to judge or interpret as we listen. It is the way in which we let someone inside of us, so we can know him or her directly. Or know the sunset, or the light dancing on rustling leaves.
Real wealth is a living presence, a soft current of joy that blesses us whenever we are truly present without reaction or defense, whenever our hearts are open and we offer to each moment a deep receptivity and respect.
Real wealth can be passed on and on and no one loses, no one is diminished, energy is not wasted, nothing is harmed. Indeed quite the opposite: in the passing onward of our real wealth, we grow wealthier, more alive, more content.
We have no need for any special place to showcase our importance. No stage must be set, no big car in the driveway. We have no need to fill a sense of emptiness by consuming for the sake of consuming. Like any addiction, material consumption just breeds the need to consume more and never fills the empty place. But giving of our caring, offering our attention, really listening to each other, this fills us from within and it is a source that is inexhaustible.
When we are really wealthy, it is not being seen for what we have that fills us, it is how we see.