Have you ever heard the phrase ‘It’s all about the give and take’? If you haven’t, now you have. I used to think that this phrase was about balance and I even said as much before. But today I’d like to offer a different perspective on the notion. I’m not withdrawing my previous observations as canon; think of it as a kind lighting adjustment.
I still do think that balance is the master work of the universe and that giving and taking are both equally important. But I think this is specifically and especially true when it comes to the mindset one uses.
In a recent post I discussed how there are two kinds if people in the world: those who think for others and those who think of themselves. Neither are bad. It’s more about the manner in which we enact these things. This could even seem like the ‘give and take’ we are talking about now, and in a way it is, but just not the same.
I watched a video of a man describing his father, who lived a very humble life. It was a video on how we measure our success. He approached his father and he said “Why are we not rich?” and the Father smiled and said “Who says we are not rich?” The boy looked around their slum apartment and at his meager life and exclaimed, “I do!” .. The father simply replied “Being rich is not about what you have, it is about what you give. Give greatly and you will be richer than any man.”
The video goes on to demonstrate that the father asked his son to give a portion of how allowance to ‘tax’ (a small bucket). The boy listened to his father, begrudgingly, and offered a bit of his allowance.
Years later, after his father passed away, he learned that he had donated a significant amount to a local home for people with disabilities and he was given an award for having given so much. The man was astonished because he never knew about it. His father would work and then go to the charity after work and dress up like a clown to make the children laugh and to perform magic tricks. They adored him. They knew true happiness and joy because they were the recipients of someone’s true selflessness.
The boy decided he would continue in his father’s footsteps and began going to the home as well, finally learning the lesson his father’s life was teaching him. His father was always happy and joyful, always laughed and smiled, despite having very little. Now the son was able to finally connect with this part of himself too.
What can we learn from such a lesson? I believe it is that we can all benefit from the gift of selflessness. If we can give and not expect something back, we will find that our happiness will be boundless.
Consider another story.
A boy is in the street being belittled by a shopkeeper for stealing medicine. A soup merchant comes over and asks what the boy needed it for. He replied that his mother was very sick. The soup merchant pays for the medicine and gives the boy some soup. The boy grabs the bag of contents and runs off without even a ‘thank you’.
Many years later, a man approaches the soup merchant and asks for soup because he is homeless. The soup merchant gives him the soup for free and, after the man leaves, blacks out. His daughter rushes him to the hospital and it turns out he is very sick.
After many days of tests, the bill for the potential procedure comes and it is very large — larger than the man or his daughter can afford. The daughter despairs and laments, and begins making arrangements to sell the soup shop her father worked in for so long. She returns to her father to find an envelope with a revised version of her bill. Everything was paid for.
There is a note at the bottom of the bill that reads: “Paid for by a small bag of medicine, a bag of soup, and a kind deed never forgotten.”
The doctor was the boy he had helped so long ago, and covered everything.
The sense of karma in these stories is what I believe is the most striking.
Not because they are stories, but because these things actually happen. The energy you put out is the energy you receive. The charity you give is the charity you receive. The more we live for ourselves, the less we seem to truly live and the less joy we seem to find. Think on this, truly, and ask yourself when you’ve been most happy.
For me, seeing others happy has always been what makes my heart glow the brightest.
Until next time.
Feature Image from http://www.thefirstteebrunswickcounty.org/ways-to-give/planned-giving/