Covet

One of the books we’re reading for seminary is Leonard Felder’s “The Ten Challenges”, an interfaith look at the Ten Commandments of the Hebrew Bible.  This month, I read the last chapter, on the 10th Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s house, his wife, his slave, his slave-girl, his ox, his ass, or anything that belongs to him”.  I read this a few hours after coming home from standing on beautiful land that a friend is going to buy.  Here’s this month’s homework:

      For much of my life, I’ve been confident in my ability to get what I want.  My parents helped me cultivate the skills of persistence, negotiation, and having a big picture view of situations.  My spiritual upbringing helped me develop an understanding of the power of a positive perspective and belief in my own worth.  I have pursued grand dreams and goals and achieved them.

One area of my life that I haven’t been confident in over the last decade has been in the realm of MONEY.  I’ve developed an identity around being poor, because (in my story) people have to exploit people or the land in order to get lots of money.  I’m not willing to do that, so I’ve accepted poor as a given in my life.  This means that things that cost a lot of money seem out of reach for me, unless I can get a scholarship or some kind of financial aid.  With this perspective, buying my own house and land has seemed totally out of the question.

When my dear friend Renee called me earlier this week and told me she found the land of her dreams, and that it was completely affordable, and she was going to buy it, my first reaction was envy and jealousy.  Why hadn’t I found it first?  When she took me out to see the land, I was in awe, and my envy felt like a heavy lump of clay in my chest.

Knowing our friendship could hold my complex feelings, I started to share my experience with Renee.  As I spoke, the clay loosened and lightened, and underneath it I found inspiration.  “If she found wonderful, affordable land, — I can too.”  And then, beyond that was the awareness that Renee has been working her ass off, holding a vision for this land for at least the last 15 years.  She’s looked online at real estate listings every day, almost as a spiritual practice.  She’s visited dozens of lots for sale, and each time it’s refined her vision about what she really wants.  And now she’s found it.

I realized that I’ve been putting this same kind of energy into my professional life for the last several years.  I’ve been looking at job postings and sometimes applying for positions, and feeling the deep knowing in me when something isn’t a right fit, and when it is.  Now I have 2 jobs that allow me to use my passions and talents, and I’m on my way to being ordained as an interfaith minister so I can really do my work in the world.  This is where I’ve put my manifesting energy.  Once I tapped into that understanding and appreciation, my envy of Renee’s land completely melted away, leaving my happiness for her (and my new inspiration to find spectacular and affordable land of my own) pure and clear.

Realizing that I’ve been manifesting what I truly want in my life was a great gift, born out of processing my experience of coveting Renee’s land.  It was possible because I accepted my experience instead of hiding or running away from it, and then looked deeper into the many layers.  It seems like this is an important piece of the “Thou shalt nots” of the 10 Commandments.  It doesn’t mean that having those experiences are bad or wrong, just that those experiences are an indication that there’s some work that needs to be done.