The Magnanimity Of Giving

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When the holiday season approaches, we get busy shopping for gifts for our near and dear.  We draw up a list of all the people to gift and delight in the thought of how surprised and happy they will be to receive the gift.  Of course, nothing is cheap these days, and you allot a budget for how much to spend on each person’s gift.

The much anticipated day of gift exchange with our loved ones  arrives and after the initial excitement of giving and receiving, we feel happy about our new possessions .  And so on it continues year after year.  Yes, we do other type of giving besides gifts, where we selflessly give our time, money and attention to those in need.  It is true that this act of giving makes us feel good about making another person happy.  But is this really all there is to giving? Does giving have a higher significance than trinkets picked up in the store?

To answer these questions, we have to ask ourselves the fundamental question as to why we are here?  To experience and perceive life in its infinitude.  Joyful are those that can experience life deeply and totally.  The essentially means that we have to give ourselves to the life that we are one hundred percent.  The great revolutions, movements, discoveries and inventions which have changed human lives  have happened because a handful of people dedicated themselves to it. These people probably never thought about what they would get out of it for themselves, but always aimed for the highest possibility in their hearts and minds for all of humanity. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King are great examples in recent history of those who were in a constant state of giving.

When we think of our mortality, of the time of our death, we leave behind everything that we thought belonged to us, including our body and mind, which we picked up from this earth. So whatever we have is borrowed from this planet.  Till the day we encounter death, we go about as if we own it all. In our present state we are unabashed about what we want to get, but extremely calculated about what we want to give.  We are in this take and give transaction and are happy when “take” tilts in our favor.  The reverse is not always true.  In that respect, Death is a great leveler, because we have only Nothing.

There are transactions going on at a cellular and atomic scale. On a cosmic scale there is a transaction of a different kind taking place.   Our breath for example is not in our control.  Most of us are hardly aware of it, but it keeps us alive every day.  So the breath is also a transaction.  Essentially everything is a transaction.  But we have a choice about what kind of transactions we want to invest in.  That is what makes the difference between pettiness and magnanimity, between human transaction and Cosmic Transaction.

Giving means something larger than us is operating within. Giving is opening ourselves to that larger presence of who we are.  In other words, giving is a way of becoming porous so that the grace of the Divine enters us.   So we have nothing to give.  If we just become part of this Cosmic Transaction our entire life becomes a joyful process of giving.  By just opening yourself up to that which is the source of creation or the Divine Grace and making every act and every breath into a process of giving – seeing how you can contribute to everything around you, no matter what you are doing, you will see in 24 hours’ time, you will be so rich that the experience of life, the beauty of life, will set a glow on your face because that is the only way life functions.

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