On self-sufficiency, the present moment and gratitude
CHARU SHARMA explores a line in The Lord’s Prayer, and learns a lot in the process about how we can relate to the Giver.
I have been pondering over the meaning of a line in the Christian prayer, The Lord’s Prayer, for some time now: “Give us today our daily bread.” My initial thought was that the line conveyed a demand of Providence, asking Him to supply us with food unconditionally. After mentally repeating it a few times and feeling the words in my heart, this thought changed as I felt a tone of softness to it. It seemed to convey a fact; one of basic need. The meaning began to open up to me in a deeper way. I felt that if at all we were to ask for something from the Giver, we could ask for our basic need of the day, no more, no less. In all likelihood such a request would be granted too. The request implies a need to achieve self-sufficiency so that once our basic needs are taken care of, we can then apply ourselves to the meaningful purpose of our lives.
This line in the prayer also implies the profundity of each day, of the present, of the here and now. It doesn’t ask for a supply of food or resources for an unlimited time period, or even enough to last for a month or a year. It is a simple request asking for basic food for the day. It suggested to me that each day lived fully was an achievement, a big step forward, in fact, just as important as a lifetime lived to its fullest.
This understanding opens up a whole new dimension
to the concept of living on a ‘day-to-day’ basis,
being utterly joyous for it,
and giving many thanks for our basic needs being met each day
It also reminded me of the teachings of the Heartfulness Guides, “Take each meditation as if it were your last one,” or “Live each day as if it were your last.” I then started reflecting on the futility of having anxiety while planning for the future in terms of career, finance, retirement, and old age. Suddenly, the anxiety lost its justification, because any amount of careful, well-meaning planning for the future is meaningless if the present moment is not valued to its fullest, if life is not lived in the best possible way on a daily basis.
The present actually takes care of the future. If we live well in the present, we will live well in the future. By ‘living well’, I mean living in a way that brings out the highest in us.
Finally, a third meaning of this line in the prayer opened up to me – one of gratitude. The prayer thanks the Giver for supplying the basic needs of the day. While no word in the prayer explicitly says thank you for anything, this is a statement of acknowledgement and gratitude, along with a humble request that the daily bread continues to be given.
This understanding opens up a whole new dimension to the concept of living on a ‘day-to-day’ basis, being utterly joyous for it, and giving many thanks for our basic needs being met each day.
Article by CHARU SHARMA