Giving is the best way to relieve stress at any time of the year. You might be saying something like “Giving?? Are you kidding? that’s all I ever do is give, give and give some more until I’m all worn out. I give to my kids, spouse, work, friends, and elderly parents. I have nothing left to give.”
I hear this loud and clear from people all over the world. From their point of view it is correct and logical. I see that. I feel for them. I’ve been there. “So what is different now?” you may be asking me as you read this.
Giving from an empty bowl is what I believe describes those who are worn out and worn thin from giving so much to others. You are kind heartfelt givers who spend no time on replenishing your own bowl with spiritual food.
To fill our souls with our connection to God, or our Source, we are able to sustain more of anything that demands more from us. This time of year there are many demands on our time and resources, in addition to the regular routine. If we are pulling from the same place to cover all of the demands, how can we possibly meet them? Wanting so much to do it all and enjoy the season, it’s understandable when we are at the bottom of our bowl we feel frustration, guilt, depression, even anger, and much sadness that we aren’t fulfilling our desire to give.
A primary lesson any spiritual student must learn, and those further along in their seeking must continue to practice, is allowing and receiving love, insight, acceptance, guidance, and more love from their spiritual Source, whatever that is for them. Our ego mind, our belief we should do it on our own, and the materialistic temptations that surround our daily life get in the way of us allowing and receiving from our Source.
Both mindfulness and silent meditation facilitate the state of alignment with Source and openness in our hearts and minds to receive all we need from Source. This fills our bowl, tops off our reservoir, from which giving to others pours forth. Nothing else fills our soul than receiving and accepting the gifts from Source.
The gifts are the same to everyone, we are all equal. We are all one and the same. It is in our willingness to direct our free will to take the time to open to spirit throughout the day and for a period of time with the intention of stilling our minds, that we fill up our empty bowl each day. From a full bowl we can give without it taxing us so completely we miss the joy of the season.
Giving to a needy parent, or cranky relative, or difficult child is gentler, lighter, easier, more natural when the giving is from this bowl of spirit rather than our mind. When we have no more money to spend, it becomes apparent to us that it is with our hearts that we exchange the true gift we have to share. Giving (anything) from our heart wide open and full, will feel satisfying to all who receive from us, on a level far beyond that gift given from an empty bowl.
Remember 3 things about giving:
1. It is when we are giving that we receive the most back.
2. We can not give that which we don’t already have.
3. That which we want, if we give it first, we will have.
If these concepts seem like mind twisters, why not open a discussion at your holiday table about them. I’ll end with a saying from Lao-Tzu and the Tao, the Way:
“One who has a man’s wings
And a woman’s also
Is in himself a womb of the world”
And being a womb of the world,
One who, preferring light,
Prefers darkness also
Is in himself an image of the world
And, being an image of the world,
Is continuously, endlessly
The dwelling of creation.
The Way of Life
The Quotable Spirit, ed. by Peter Lorie and Manuela Dunn Mascetti