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We are smack bang in the middle of the giving and receiving season which brings my thoughts to what that means on a more spiritual level as much as in the physical world.
How does this giving and receiving really work? Let’s look at the bigger picture to see what is happening in the universe and how we fit into that. Most importantly, how we can work to support an openness towards giving and receiving.
As you sit and read this, get yourself comfortable and become conscious of your body – how you are sitting, your mind – where it’s at, and feel that lovely openness at the centre of your chest as you breathe in and out.
Let’s think about the idea of giving. There’s one thing I know and that is that it’s a very difficult thing to give if we are holding onto pain. Pain restricts us and limits our resources to give. So, to begin working with giving, we must start by looking at our pain and, fortunately, that’s something that we do within the system of Reiki.
Often when we feel pain, we blame the person or situation that we link to this pain. It hurts inside us, sometimes physically, almost always mentally and, consequently, also spiritually. Strangely, this pain – the hurt, the anger – remains long after the initial painful event. It sits inside you and you keep it there, all safe and sound. One way you might keep inside is by holding onto a lack of forgiveness. With the first Reiki precept, Do Not Anger, we learn that this is unhealthy. This inability to forgive is like a shelter for the hurt, but, ultimately, the shelter does nothing except allow you to continue to feel the pain. And that doesn’t hurt anyone else, except yourself. The world around you keeps spinning and growing and changing, and you stand still against this tide, gripping the shelter, experiencing that pain as real as possible for yourself, over and over again. If you were to let go and forgive, to pry your fingers off the shelter and release yourself into the natural flow of the universe around you, the pain too would be released. So, within the system of Reiki, we practice releasing the anger, the fear, the worry and then we forgive.
When we forgive, we’re not saying that what happened at that initial experience is okay, we are just aware that there is absolutely no point in holding onto that hurt and anger. In the conscious act of releasing anger and forgiving people, we heal ourselves by allowing that pain to flow away from us; allowing that beautiful heart space to be bountifully empty and open. And when that heart space is open, we can truly give – and this is what it means to give the giver.
“When one gives completely, there is no one left to watch what is being given, and no one to appreciate how generous one is being. This is called “giving the giver.” The more one surrenders in this way, the more richness develops. There is never a problem of running out of things to offer. One’s human life is in itself an immensely rich situation to offer.” Chogyam Trungpa
Surrendering, allowing the pain to flow away, allowing your depth of humanity to be laid bare for everyone and everything. This is the richness of being human, a human that is true to their way.
When we’re truly generous, when we really give, it can be a little scary because we’re not used to people being that open and just allowing themselves to be totally kind. We begin to create a cycle of flowing openness and kindness that stems from a generous heart. Imagine, however, if we believe we only have a little generosity to give, then we set ourselves up to exist in a cycle of poverty which develops into this bartering system where I’ll give a little bit, you’ll give a little bit, I’ll give a little bit and so on.
As you read these words, breathe into their heartfelt meaning. Feel the heart space expand and grow.
Humans live an interdependent existence. We cannot exist alone in the world, we require others each step of the way. It is through people, our parents, that we come into this world. We grow physically and emotionally from the support of more people who provide food, money, shelter, touch. And all the while we reciprocate and support back. It is the last Reiki precept that cements this cycle as it reminds us to be compassionate to ourselves and others. This precept encapsulates giving and receiving, as without compassion there would be no circle of love, no circle of life. Compassion greases the wheels, with interdependence being the mechanism that runs human existence.
This is why we celebrate the giving and the receiving. We are reminding ourselves of our human contract to live in harmony with one another in this cycle of life.