What Inspires Giving
Have you ever taken a moment to reflect on what “giving” means to you? Giving should mean a selfless action or expression whereby you transfer something of consequence from you to someone else without any expectation, reluctance, or second thoughts.
Much of what we ascribe to giving today probably more closely represents and “investment” in the way we organize our thoughts and take action. Investment sounds a bit out of place here, but when we make investments, it is usually underpinned by an expectation of a return on that investment. When we perform favors for others, in nearly all cases there is an unspoken and/or unconscious expectation that we will see some form of return on the favor in the future, which is the same motivation behind making an investment.
Giving can be an “art” when it is demonstrated in its purest form. To Give is an act of creativity, requiring thought, vision and selflessness. To put that point into contrast, how much effort did it ever take you to receive a gift versus to give a gift? When real Giving takes place, it is the “giver” who often experiences joy over and above that of the “recipient”.
With so much spiritual benefit tied to giving, why do most of us invest, rather than give? Could it be that we’re not seeking spiritual benefit? What are you seeking when you supposedly give? For too many of us “giving” is either an investment as noted above, or it’s a personal sacrifice. There in fact lies our collective problem, we don’t know what giving is and we have inserted investment and/or sacrifice into the action of giving which removes any spirituality from the action.
The spirituality of giving manifests when compassion is the state of one’s mind. In my last post I wrote about the Eightfold Path which is taken from the study of Buddhism. The path of Right Action provides a great context for how giving should be conceived and inspired from compassion, essentially wanting others to be free from suffering. Giving then comes down to a simple precept; you give because you can, period. You give without expectations attached and in doing so you activate your connection to the universal consciousness that binds us all, and in that moment, you become more human.
Promote the act of giving as a centering thought sometime over the next few weeks. You undoubtedly have passed over a number of opportunities to “give” of the past few months because you processed the thought through the optics of investment and/or sacrifice and as a consequence passed up one or more moments to experience a level of joy that nourishes your heart and makes you more human.
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