Giving is an art form
For millennia, spiritual leaders have emphasized the importance of placing the needs of others before of one’s own. Exactly what is it about the act of giving one’s self that is so valuable?
This question has made me realize how difficult it is to answer without referencing some moral or ethical value system: What is life all about? Our lives aren’t just about the “law of the jungle,” or “the one with the most toys when they die,” but rather about a “higher” value or purpose, something that isn’t just “the one with the most toys when they die.” It’s like a compass pointing to the heavens. Is there any significance to this? Religious systems have mined this territory extensively over the millennia, but they have also sometimes mined the soil. There are many theological justifications that sound implausible or self-serving (“We give because virtuous people go to Heaven,” “giving brings you good karma” etc.). As a result, it can be difficult for us to explain why we should act in accordance with something “higher” when there is none. No, I don’t believe that
First and foremost, put the welfare of others ahead of your own.” —Muhammed
Humanity’s renewal comes from a kind heart, kind words, and a life of service and compassion.
Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
The more you give, the better your life will be
By giving rather than taking, “life seems to be better,” “friendlier,” “more linked,” “more entire,” and “more flowing”
Start with what’s right in front of us, and then think about what we can learn from it. In addition, giving “feels right”—in fact, it’s a pleasure to do so. When we participate in life by giving rather than taking, it appears to be more pleasant, friendly, linked, whole, and fluid. We also contribute our attention, our listening ear, our commitment, and our presence, not just money and stuff, but also our time and effort. After giving, life tends to calm down and deepen as well. Friendliness and trust begin to grow as a result of these interactions. It acts as lubricant for the gears of life.
In addition to money and belongings, “giving isn’t only money and possessions; perhaps more crucially, we give ourselves to the recipient.”
So, what are the ramifications of this?
Michael Brown, a contemporary spiritual teacher, has a fascinating answer for this. That “Giving is receiving” is the electromagnetic frequency that our cosmos is attuned to, he explains. Dissonance and discord in our lives are immediately caused by any other method of exchanging energy.”
This is a good bet, not a philosophical assertion. Try it out for yourself. See if you can spot the connection Michael makes: A sense of harmony in life can only be achieved by allowing things to flow freely, rather than attempting to stifle them, shut them off, take, defend, or hoard anything. The harsher and more hostile life becomes the more we sequester ourselves and our resources. It’s easier to enjoy life when we’re in a state of “giving-is-receiving.”
When people give, they feel comfortable and secure
“We don’t wait till we’ve reached a certain level of safety and abundance before we donate” (some would say that point is never reached). Giving creates a sense of safety and abundance since it is the act of giving. Even if it’s “puzzling,” “check it out”
Moreover, the order in which it works is completely nonsensical. We don’t wait till we’ve reached a certain level of safety and abundance before we offer (some would say that point is never reached). As long as you’re providing, you’ll feel comfortable and secure. If you’re bewildered, don’t give up.
The word “abundance” has the word “dance” at its core. Dance, movement, and flow are all part of it. A few years ago, I read that “mercy” is derived from the same root word as “merchant,” “business,” and “commerce.” It is all derived from the Etruscan word “merc,” which translates as “exchange” in English.
Giving is a means of sustaining life
Exchange, like “currency flow,” is essential to the well-being of both the human spirit and the economy. In that system, the driveshaft, giving and receiving appear to be intrinsically linked. God’s Mercy is made visible when we join in that “dance”: as goodness, connectedness, and a deep feeling of purpose. As long as we’re not dancing, these so-called “divine traits” remain unreachable to a world in desperate need of them.
We create meaning in the world by our actions. It’s not about getting to heaven after we die, but rather about generating a small taste of heaven here and now.