With the season of giving & receiving in full force, I thought it would be a good time to dive into this topic at a deeper level. I offer you an excerpt from my book “Dancing with your Dragon: The Art of Loving your Unlovable Self.” It comes from the chapter called, “The Paradoxical Nature of Desire,” which includes an exploration of energy in all of it’s various forms from money to love.
Please enjoy! And your thoughts and comments are appreciated.
Is it Really Better to Give?
Sometimes we carry inner thought forms that are taught to us through scriptures and other types of spiritual teachings. As spiritual beings, we may desire to act on these teachings in order to be “good” people. But because we live in a world of duality, when taken out of context, some of these teachings may not tell us the whole story. I want to take a moment to explore the old adage: “It’s better to give than receive.” For many people, this saying has become a belief that lives in the mental body. But is it really true? When we identify our consciousness with this particular belief, we automatically block our ability to receive. The very nature of desire is to want things, but if we believe that it’s better not to receive them, how will the desire ever be fulfilled? If it’s really better to give than to receive, then naturally all of us should orient ourselves toward giving. But if we’re all focused on giving, who will be available to receive our gifts? If we’re all focused on giving, who will be open to receive and enjoy the Divine as expressed through the bountiful offerings of Mother Earth?
In order to receive the blessings of the Divine, it’s helpful to become more conscious of what it means to give and what it means to receive. In the English language the words “give” and “receive” are both verbs. They describe an action. On a physical level, giving and receiving typically involves the use of our hands. When I pick up an object (for my personal pleasure we’ll call it a cookie) and I hand it to you, I am giving. If you open up your hand and allow me to place the cookie in it, you are receiving. If you reach out and grab the cookie, you are taking. If you insist that I give the cookie to you right this minute, you are demanding. If you keep your hand closed, you are rejecting or refusing the cookie I am offering.
Obviously, our emotional bodies and mental bodies don’t eat cookies, but they respond to the things they like or don’t like in much the same way. They open when they want something, and close when they don’t. They can also demand things by energetically pulling at the world, like an insistent little child who wants attention and wants it now. Or they can pull away from the world like a hurt little kid who wants to sulk in the corner or hide in his or her room. Whether conscious or unconscious, this inner movement is a function of our personal will, which is closely linked with both our emotional body and our desire nature.
Desire is a motivator in life; it makes us move. “Dancing with the Dragon” simply asks that we become consciously aware of the source of our desires and where they are leading us. It is the art of noticing when we open and when we close, when we say yes and when we say no. By sharpening our ability to notice and discern, we can begin to perceive the motives behind these actions and we can train ourselves to act differently. We can choose to open where our tendency is to close, and we can choose to close when we’re tempted to open. When my desire nature wants to open to cookies, I can train it to find pleasure in fresh, leafy greens. When my desire nature only wants daffodils, I can help it discover the beauty of a rose. Choosing to receive something new in our lives happens as we learn to open to the guidance of our own souls. Our souls are like guardian angels that serve in the role of a loving parent until we are mature enough to serve ourselves.
As humans, we are typically oriented to serving ourselves pleasure. In my estimation, the Biblical idea that it’s better to give comes from a need to balance the human desire to get. Most of us would like to have our desires fulfilled, and we’d prefer to have them filled NOW, thank you. But as humans, we don’t always know what’s good for us. We tend to look for the people and things in the outer world that we believe will make us feel good and we move toward them. Sometimes these people and things are healthy for us, and sometimes they’re not. Sometimes we can get the things we desire, sometimes we can’t. With all of these variables at play, for me there is one constant; I call that constant Divine love. This love is healthy, nourishing, pleasurable, fulfilling and always and ever showering upon us. We simply have to choose it. If we want Divine love, we have to train ourselves to orient to this special frequency, open up and let it in.
Opening to the love of the Divine is like taking a breath. The deeper we can breathe, the more nourishment we receive. But like everything in the physical world, receiving has its limits. If we could force our bodies to keep breathing past the point of fullness, our lungs would explode. Breathing in requires that we also breathe out. After we breathe out, we have space to breathe in and receive more. Giving and receiving are like breathing in and breathing out; both poles are necessary in order to live a healthy, balanced life. I agree that giving is an important part of life on Earth, but if we can’t receive, we will quickly run out of energy. If we can’t receive, we will have nothing to give.