What does it mean to give? What,…

What does it mean to give? What,...

What does it mean to give? What, similarly, does it mean to receive? It’s a complex relationship, and one I’ve struggled to understand and embrace most of my life. The giving part is often simple to comprehend (sometimes not as easy to embrace): when we give of our possessions, our money, our time, or our love, we connect with the wellspring of compassion that fuels our lives, and in a less-obvious way, by the simple act of giving we also immediately receive; we receive the energy of compassion, the joy of sharing, the well-being of non-attachment to things and attachment to our humanity. Receiving without giving, though, thats a bit tougher – at least for me. To accept a gift – be it one of material, money, time, love, advice, etc. – can engender feelings of failure: if I willingly accept any of these things, it must mean that I need them, and thus have failed in some degree in some area of my life. This, of course, is not truly the case. Receiving it’s not an admission of failure, but rather a conscious letting go the concept of failure and all the baggage carry with it. In addition – and perhaps most critically – we need to understand that to receive is also inherently to give: receiving immediately gives the other person an opportunity to share their time, experience, money, etc., and also connect with their empathy, compassion, and humanity. This is perhaps best Illustrated by the Buddhist alms bowl – pictured here with a monk at Bodhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. The monastic tradition in Buddhism is one of great and profound giving – of time, wisdom, energy, compassion – but it is predicated on the foundation of receiving alms. Without receiving, there can be no giving.


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About the Author : Jake NortonClimber, guide, photographer, speaker, founder of www.Challenge21.com, and - most importantly - husband and father.View all posts by Jake Norton

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