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Towards a gift culture I

Actualizado: 11 dic 2018

I would like to describe and reflect on some questions that have no answers, in view of the upcoming Economia Sagrada Workshop in Chile in January 2016, and about a new gift culture.

Photography by Bele Elena Jordan

On the one hand, the financial crisis is endemic in our system. It is inevitable, simply because economic growth cannot continue forever. It is therefore no surprise that both individuals and entire countries are going bankrupt. This is a good reason to want to have a life less dependent on money. So is the fact that money is issued as debt, and as such by participating in the use of money one knows that one is participating in the pressure to transform our planet and our heritage into commercial activities.

But how possible is it to completely avoid system participation? Even if it were possible, a more important question is: how healthy is it to put all that effort into avoiding the system, and what do we do to ourselves when we do that? It seems to me that to refuse money or the system is to be back at war. And certainly that road does not lead to happiness, nor is it capable of creating anything new (as we already know it is not possible to dismantle the system using the same tools of the system).


Many of us want to participate as little as possible in the money machine and the system that devours beauty. Many of us leave well-paid jobs, we leave security, to follow our hearts. We learn to live with less, to trust. The risk is that the more we want to avoid waste, the more we try to reuse our children's clothes for example, the more we may program our mentality towards scarcity. And so that is the reality we generate. Our thoughts, our mentality, are a great magnet that attracts the manifestation of the external reality as a reflection of the internal one.

In short, a double-edged sword.

The essence of the gift of life is abundance and generosity. I have decided to trust, although I often have to renew that decision (every time I am visited by skepticism or fear). We realize that true wealth is the freedom to give. The great gain that comes from adopting a generous, abundant mentality, because that is the reality that we project and create around us.

But neither are we easily fooled by the idea that "money is just neutral energy" (do the millions of hungry children in Africa, for example, have a scarcity mentality that causes their misery?). We know that this and other institutions have to change for the sake of life.

It is certainly not possible to find a complete intellectual solution to this dilemma. Undoubtedly, the spirit of life is in charge of this matter, we are mere passengers and our task is to realize what is being shown to us. The only possible solution is to follow the heart, beyond what is already known, I say to myself wanting to take this very seriously. There's no one here to show me the way.

As facilitator of the Economia Sagrada Workshop, how do I do it?

I know many of us who are trying to live with generosity and gratitude face the same problem: the wound of scarcity is deep in the people. It hurts so much, that as soon as there is an opportunity to save money, to receive a service with no conditions to pay, we all believe that we are the one with the least money in the whole country. There are people who have taken my two-day workshop and given me $3, for example, people who live saving as much as possible and even if they are experts at finding the cheapest ticket possible, they can still pay for a ticket and travel.

I feel that in the long run, the example of generosity is not lost, somehow a small seed remains. When you give a gift, there is always someone or something that receives it. There's always Pachamama taking care of my family. I know little or nothing about how. That's the way it's always been, we've never lacked anything. Although we have often been on the verge of financial bankruptcy, our joy to share and feel rich has never ceased to grow, to become more and more solid (thanks to my wife Javiera for that).


However, there is a second problem. In our culture, what has no price is valued less, tends to be taken lightly. For example, people arrive on time for something they paid for, but if it's free they may not even arrive (even if they are occupying a place that could be left for someone else). Or the mentality of "if this man doesn't charge, maybe it's just a hobby for him, or he doesn't need money, or surely what he has to share is pretty much stuff I already know" comes in. Someone might come to the workshop without being willing to put their whole heart into it, in which case there is little chance that something valuable will happen to them. What is even worse, is to arrive at the workshop with an attitude of "I also have things to teach, here that there is an audience, I will take the opportunity to demonstrate what I know". This type of attitude is a burden for others, those of us who are really willing to face our resistance, fears, discomfort, fixed ideas, etc. in order to recover our Freedom.

So, when I think about these things, I wonder if I should charge for the economia sagrada workshop. The wisdom of the gift includes that one must take care that the gift is well received. It is a way of honoring oneself, the gift and the source of the gift itself. In that place where the gift will not be well received, it is better not to give it.... But I cannot swallow a vision of the future that does not contemplate a change in our culture towards the gift. I can't not follow my heart. I don't have the answer to this question, I know that this is something we do together, that this is our strength.

After all this reflection, my personal decision is to move toward the gift, to open compassion to those who are troubled by scarcity. I only ask that if you want to receive what I have to share with you, that you receive it with all the respect, with all the dignity, with all the openness. I think that reading this text is good for this and we are going to do a beautiful and surprising job for everyone in the workshop!
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