If you want money more than anything,
you’ll be bought and sold.

If you have a greed for food,
you’ll be a loaf of bread.

This is a subtle truth:
whatever you love, you are.

Trans. by Coleman Barks

Wildlife often grazes on a hillside outside our kitchen window.  Yesterday, as I was eating breakfast, a squirrel romped across the hill and then scurried up a tree.  After a few minutes, the squirrel darted back to the ground and began digging up and moving some of its stashes.  I am sure that whatever they are, there will be just enough food to sustain its nourishment through the winter.

I marvel at the wild species’ ability to use only what they need.  Unlike humans, they rarely over-consume.  Most animals are careful with their food sources, i.e., not over-grazing, polluting, exploiting, or destroying, but leaving enough to foster regeneration.  Like the squirrel, they accurately predict what will carry them through leaner times.  Overall, they model timeless principles of non-greed, trust, respect, patience, responsibility, and authenticity.

Abundance is something that is innately understood and often shared in the natural world.  As humans, we struggle to reconnect with this fundamental aspect of our existence.  It isn’t surprising that, universally, various religions warn us to beware of the pursuits of gluttony, pride, lust, envy, anger, greed, and sloth.  Most of us likely feel as though we have these negative traits in check, especially since we can readily identify them in others.

However, with almost every aspect of our life orchestrated by commercialism—from pregnancy to sickness to death—the words from the poet Rumi are even more valid now than they were during his lifetime in the 1200s.  Slothfulness, for example, has seeped into our lives in the guise of convenience.  Gluttony seems to be woven into the comforts of our paved, plastic, metallic world.

Rumi’s words “whatever you love, you are” inspire hope that we as humans can once again fall in love with what has been there all along:  not only the eternal love of the divine, but that love expressed in every aspect of nature.  I endeavor to reclaim that gift of our humanness of being joyfully alive, and in kinship with our sacred world.  To do that, I choose to intentionally cultivate and “squirrel away” those subtle qualities that engender peace and love, e.g., kindness, gentleness, and respect.

This practice supports gathering eternal, loving values.


  • Find a comfortable seated position.
    • If you are seated on a chair, place the soles of both feet on the floor.
  • Quietly notice your surroundings—that which is beneath you, around you, and above you.
  • Notice your body, sense of self, and breath.
  • Say “thank you” to all.


  • Choose one inner value that you would like to befriend.
    • For example, gentleness, calmness, kindness, or lovingness.
      • Take your time. Just like a squirrel that patiently collects and stores acorns, you are embracing one inner value to guide and support you in life.
  • Breathe sweetly, as though sipping in the air.
    • Inhale: Imagine you are greeting your value and inviting it into every aspect of your being.
    • Exhale: Imagine as though your value is comfortably settling into every dimension of who you are.
      • Allow yourself to trust that, like a well-cared-for plant, your value will steadily grow and deepen its roots.
    • Let yourself be absorbed in the sweetness of your value for as long as is comfortable.

Transition Back into Your Day—

  • Place your hands over your heart to seal in your friendship with your eternal value.
  • When you are ready, return to your day.

This H E A R T H reflection is from Our Inherited Wisdom:  54 Inspirations from Nature and Poetry, pages 81-84, authored by Kate Vogt and published through IngramSparks.   The poem is translated by Coleman Barks and re-printed with his permission for this reflection and also in Mala of the Heart:  108 Sacred Poems, page 5, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.   Photo by Ian Tuck on Unsplash.  H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon in honor of the living Wisdom.   KateVogt©2022.

Upcoming Classes
Join me for one of my virtual classes in supporting your inner well-being and the vitality of community education.  My classes tap into the timeless wisdom of ancient literature for practical insight and guidance in today’s world.

  • “Inner Well-Being: Ancient Perspectives and Practical Insights” – 5 Thursdays, 3:10 – 4:30 p.m. PT, Jan 27 – Feb 24 ($80). Registration begins Jan 4.
  • “Transcendental Love” – 4 Tuesdays, 3:10 – 4:30 p.m. PT, Feb 1 – 22 ($73). Registration begins Jan 4.
  • Beginning in March “Path to Quietude” and “Support Wisdom in Your Life.”


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