Not only did Kumar walk for the entire trip, he also chose to carry no money. For 9 years as a Jain Monk, he had no money and begged for his living, so he was used to living without it. Libby Purves, the interviewer, asked him about how difficult it must have been to be penniless, and what he shared was priceless.
He said: “I just trust, and things come. We live in fear, and fear is a bigger problem than death, because fear makes you impotent and weak. I’ve never been in debt; if you trust the universe, generosity and abundance is a part of the natural world, then things will work out; that is how I’ve lived for 79 years. I lived without fear of debt and not having money. I walked for 8,000 miles without a penny in my pocket. Have courage in your heart, trust and have no fear. (The) Universe provides. That trust is the source of wellbeing.”
I was in my kitchen listening to this, and put my cup of tea down, squealing in delight, so happy that BBC Radio 4 was featuring such words of wisdom, and so completely counter-culture and counter-intuitive to our usual daily digest of news, views and general scare-mongering.
And I believe him. What he is saying is nothing new, but oh how we need to be reminded.
The well-known story in the Gospel of St. John describes the “miracle” of five loaves and two fish that were used by Jesus to feed a multitude of 5,000 people.
According to the story, Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven and gave thanks, before breaking the loaves. He then gave them to the disciples, and the disciples distributed them to the crowds. The story reports they all ate and were satisfied.
Now what interests me about this tale is the fact that Jesus gave thanks before he broke the bread. Was there something about his expression of gratitude that led to the abundance? I like to think so. One of my teachers, Brandon Bays, says, “gratitude draws grace”.
When you allow yourself to feel truly grateful, your energy vibration raises, which according to the ‘Law of Attraction’, draws into your life more of what you are grateful for.
Kumar talks about trust being the source of wellbeing. When we have a sense of wellbeing, gratitude is also present. The two are related, one springs from the other. However, when we are in fear, we don’t experience wellbeing, quite the opposite in fact. Instead of gratitude, we complain, we feel anxious, our fear mounts, and we lose our trust completely.
Faith is the opposite of fear; you cannot feel fear when you are faithful, conversely, you cannot practice faith when you are in fear.
So how does all of what I’m saying translate to results? Well, several years ago, I was assisting on a personal development training weekend, run by an educational charity.
My job, with the help of another team member, Andi, was to feed a team of 60 people breakfast, lunch and dinner over two and a half days. As my friends will attest, I’m no caterer; I can cook a few basic dishes, but that’s about it, so it was an odd role to have, but I was willing to take the challenge on.
There was a budget paid for by the team members and I did some rough calculations as to what I could buy for each meal, rough being the operative word!
As we started, I began to really enjoy the role: planning, shopping, preparing, and seeing people enjoying the finished product. I got a bit carried away, and started to get some rather luxurious food items, treats that cost a bit more than I had intended to spend, but I had a carefree attitude towards money, and didn’t really think about the consequences of overspending. I told myself it would be ok. Little did I know how true this thought turned out to be!
After breakfast on the Sunday morning, Andi and I got together to work out our budget so far, given we had to cover lunch and dinner that day. And that was when I got a bit of a shock.
I realised we didn’t have enough money to buy food for everyone for both meals that day. I panicked. I couldn’t ask the team for more money on top of what they had already paid. And I couldn’t leave them hungry. I didn’t see any options, apart from one.
In that moment, I said to Andi, “I don’t know what else to do but pray!”
I am not religious, but I do believe in a Power greater than my little ego self, and because I was desperate, I thought I’d give it a try.
I suggested we sit down together on the floor, hold hands and just ask. After all, what did we have to lose? She was willing to play along, dutifully following my lead with a rather bemused expression on her face.
Afterwards, we got up and went shopping, choosing to stay faithful. I said, “We’ve asked, let’s give God a chance to respond”.
We went across the road to a large Supermarket, grabbed a trolley, took a deep breath and walked in.
What happened next blew my socks off.
As it was late on a Sunday afternoon, with just an hour or so before closing, many items were reduced by half price or more. We bought several loaves of bread and at the deli counter, I told the assistant I was working for a charity and needed to feed 60 people. Bless his heart, he gave me a ton of cheese, cold meats and other produce close to their sell by date, for next to nothing. I seem to remember him costing several products at 10 pence!
Andi and I looked at each other with disbelief and joy, as our trolley began to fill up.
As we approached the checkout, I reminded Jackie to stay in a state of prayer, holding out the faith that the money we had would cover our purchases.
When the total amount was rung up, not only did we have enough to pay the bill, but miraculously we were left with 50 pence change!
Outside a homeless man was sitting under a blanket against the wall of the shop. With no hesitation, I gave him that 50p piece.
The gratitude we both felt was immense, and watching the team of 60 enjoy the sustenance, with no knowledge of what it had taken and how it had come to the table, was one of the most satisfying moments of my life. Loaves and Fishes indeed! It takes belief, it takes trust, and it takes courage to ask.
Have the Courage to Connect with faith, and let go of your fear, even if for a short while. Cultivate the practice of trust: trust that you will be supported. The Universe, God, your Higher Self, whatever you choose to call that Power greater than our ego self, has far more power than you can imagine. After all, what do you have to lose?