When a physical gift is given, we see that the person who gives it technically loses something and the recipient gains it. So it’s natural that from witnessing the dynamic of physical giving, we’d conclude that this is how all giving and receiving operates. But the truth is usually the opposite.
Most of what we give is intangible. We give people our love, our hope, our admiration, our blessings … and also our grievances, our scorn, our envy, even our condemnation. And the rules are quite different with these nonphysical offerings.
First, there’s no loss. Thus, the negative feelings we direct at our fellow humans don’t leave us in the process; instead we get to keep them, amplify them, and steep in them. It’s a bit like pooping in our own bathtub.
Luckily, the same is true of the virtuous gifts we offer. We don’t lose them because they don’t belong to the personality and body we call ME. These virtues are the inexhaustible Light of the Universe, the Divine Love that we are and which wants to be expressed through us. That’s my opinion anyway, and I believe that if you practice this, you, too, will experience it as true.
Second, the giver becomes the recipient. When we direct negative energy at others we are obligated to experience it ourselves. When we attack others with our thoughts, we attack ourselves. But again, this is also true of positive feelings, and they carry a much greater magnitude of power.
So, if you want more peace, lightness, clarity, strength, forgiveness, or love, give it abundantly to others. Maybe you’re thinking, “But I don’t have peace to give to others! That’s why I want it.” But these virtues aren’t outside or separate from you. You wouldn’t exist without them. They are virtually everything that you are. If you can’t recognize this, it’s not your fault. It’s because, like most people, you have a survival-driven mind that has been trained to hyperfocus on danger, loss, and flaws. And without really understanding the consequences, you have habitually given that mind the majority of your attention. Fortunately, that attention can be shifted, and the mind can be disciplined and transcended.
Our virtues need only to be uncovered and shared. In fact, I would venture to say that we don’t truly know these beautiful truths until we offer them to others. In order to offer them, we must call them up within ourselves. Therefore, making such a gift is an affirmation that we do possess these qualities. As long as we’re reluctant to give them away (even to our enemies) we reinforce the belief that they’re limited, and that more for one means less for another. Giving them away instantly corrects this misperception. Try it. You’ll see.
I encourage you this holiday season (and forever) to do two things. First, make a practice of watching your mind throughout the day. When you catch yourself harboring negative thoughts, shift your attention to something else. Imagine you are in martial arts training and you need to develop laser-like focus. You have no use for mental pollution. Release it. If it helps, you can thank your mind for presenting you with its concerns, but reassure it that it no longer needs to police the world.
Second, give to others the virtues that you wish to receive. Start by silently offering peace or love, or light or vision to those who are closest to you. Notice what happens within yourself when you do this. Then try it with those in your broader community, including the strangers you see on the street and in stores. Then practice with those against whom you harbor grievances, including people you know personally as well as figures in the news and internet trolls. Then try it with the whole world.
We can awaken the planet to a new reality, starting with ourselves.
I offer you love, peace, and lightness,