I sure as hell didn’t.
While he was still alive, Bob’s money had been a gift. Now that I was left to oversee all those millions alone, it felt like an unbearable, even obscene, burden. I don’t mean to sound unappreciative, but I’d spent my adult life in social services, working with people who had nothing. The idea of making a full-time career out of turning 300 million into 400 was incomprehensible to me.
I hadn’t given enough thought to it, I knew, but I’d spent that excruciatingly long day trying over and over to explain to the suits that I wanted to give most of the money away. Not all of it, I wasn’t an idiot, but I figured I could live very nicely the rest of my life on a fraction of what I had now, and not have to devote every waking moment to staring at my own pile of pennies.
Without telling any of my financial gurus, I wrote out a generous check – a very generous check – to my spiritual teacher. I was feeling pretty good about that. I even got a call from the office, asking if I could meet with him, a private meeting, which was a rare thing.
Yessiree, I was feeling very proud of myself for this act of selfless giving.
I went to that meeting. My teacher came in and very lovingly handed me my check back, neatly torn in two. I just stared at it. What had I done wrong?
He must have read the look on my face. He invited me to sit, and sat beside me.
“I know this was given out of good intention,” he said, “But this isn’t the answer. For one thing, what do you expect me to do with so much money? Buy a house, or a private jet? Build some fancy worship center? What do those things have to do with spirit? The times when you were poor and wanted to give a few bucks to help someone out, that was given from a purer place, as I think you know.”
I was feeling pretty intense, hearing this loving truth pointed out. He went on, with a gentle smile, his voice sweet but sure. “Besides, Hanalie, this money, this fortune, is still your karma to deal with. Maybe you will give it all away, maybe you’ll just walk away from it. Maybe you’ll decide to go through it like it’s water. Whatever actions you take, though, need to come from what your Soul is telling you, not from the emotional impulse to just escape from the responsibility of it.
“There’s a deeper honesty you haven’t touched yet.” He went on, “But you will. You are on such a journey, dear one. You haven’t begun to understand just how big your journey is, how far it’s going to take you. Go home and live your life. Be open, and you’ll find your right way. It’s right there inside you. All you need of me is right inside you. It’s been there all along; you just haven’t realized it yet.”
I went home. I had a lot of processing to do, not the least of which involved the sheer intensity of sitting in the presence of someone whose enlightenment shone so freely, so effortlessly. As so often happens when one is stumbling in the direction of such enlightenment, I hadn’t gotten anything like the advice I expected, or wanted. What I wanted was fixing, I wanted it bad, and I wanted it now.
I thought again about those ten bulls, that epic battle of facing my own mind. I didn’t want to chase the bull, I didn’t want to catch the bull. I sure didn’t want to put in the tedious and difficult work of taming the damned bull.
I wanted someone to serve me up the bull on a platter, medium rare, with a baked potato on the side.