The concept of trusteeship is very powerful and I can honesty that that I am only beginning to scratch the surface of what it means. Trusteeship, as I read at Eternal Gandhi, is the idea that those that have much are trustees of what actually belongs to all of the world. Nirali had mentioned this idea to me months back, the idea that all that we have really belongs to the poor, so when we serve, we are giving back to them what is actually theirs. “It’s a very profound idea,” she said, pausing to allow the thought to sink in. I recognized that there was great depth to the concept, but I did not get it in all honesty. Now I’m beginning to understand.
When one thinks that all that one has belongs to oneself, where does the universe fit into it all. Trusteeship is recognized the communal quality of all that we have. We have love within us to share with all. The joy of sharing food with others far exceeds satisfying solely one’s own palate. When we are trustees, we think of maintaining quality and purity of what we are placed in charge of, we are guardians of what is ultimately not our own.
As trustees, when we give the possessions out, we are giving someone what is rightfully there. So where does that leave us. We become an instrument, a transfer tool. Self-interest disappears from the equation. If we are giving someone what is theirs, we are not “charitable” or compassionate (well compassionate is not the right word, but I’ll leave it for now).
When I was a kid, I remember this one demonstration that I had seen on flow. There was a pipe and balls. The pipe has a certain cross-section which determines the amount of balls that can go through. When you are trying to sending something from left to right and a section of the pipe is partially or fully blocked, the flow becomes impeded. When one gives to receive the benefits of giving, then the same happens, the flow becomes impeded. For the Divine to flow freely, its about making yourself as smooth as possible for the balls to move left to right without any blocks. As an instrument, we give ourselves to a force greater than ourselves, there is no ego involved as we are not giving what is ours, but rather giving someone what is rightfully there’s.
The sense of responsibility grows with the idea of trusteeship as we take greater care of what is not ours. There is a saying that says, ‘we have not inherited this earth from our ancestors, but borrowed it from our children.’ It summarizes the notion of trusteeship. How would you view the world if it was not your own. Nothing remains your right, something on which you can exercise your adhikar and use as you please. It belongs to someone else.