Giving with love

 

In the end, radiating a loving quality is often more important than giving things, money or your time. For when you radiate love, your giving will be felt as genuine.

In the end, radiating a loving quality is often more important than giving things, money or your time. For when you radiate love, your giving will be felt as genuine.

by Dr. Larry Wilson — 

The essence of giving has to do with sharing the love that you are. Giving occurs on many levels and with many motives, depending on one’s level of consciousness and the situation. Giving is part of everyone’s daily life, much of it occurring unconsciously. Giving has much to do with allowing oneself to receive and is assisted greatly by an attitude of gratitude. This is the attitude that believes we all receive wonderful gifts at all times.

Knowing when, where and how to give consciously, so as to have a positive impact, is an art we can work to perfect for our entire lives.

Levels of giving

We have opportunities to give on many levels. At one extreme are private prayers, hopes and requests for others, that are often not shared with anyone. Another level is simple interpersonal giving, to friends, family or strangers whom one encounters.

One also may give as part of an organization such as a church or a service group like the Rotary, United Way, Salvation Army or any one of thousands of other charitable groups. Finally, we give money through taxes to hundreds of governmental “charities,” such as welfare, social services, government research organizations and many others.

Giving and shopping

Some people spend a lot of time searching for the perfect gift, believing this is an important part of the process of giving. Indeed, the thoughtfulness that goes into a gift is often felt and appreciated by the recipient. However, in our society this aspect of giving can easily be overdone.

It can be far better to spend quality time with the one you wish to give to than spend that time walking the malls or stuck in traffic jams looking for the perfect gift. Giving of your time or energy is a valid gift and its importance should never be underestimated. Especially among the wealthy, presents of material items are often given when quality time is the gift most needed or appreciated.

Martyrs

Human beings often go through several stages that impact their giving. Most children and many adults tend to be self-centered. They see themselves as the center of the universe — giving to others is not prominent in their consciousness. They tend to take much more than they give, or give only to receive something in return.

As some individuals mature, they realize that their well-being and happiness are bound to the happiness of others. They begin to reach out. This leads to a greater tendency to share what they have with others, and the act of giving may become its own reward.

An extreme form of giving is martyrdom. This is a disregard for the self, directing most of one’s energy toward the welfare of others. Some martyrs believe that the self does not count for much.

While martyrs have done much good, many questionable acts also have been committed in the name of martyrdom. Among the most recent have been the terrorists who are willing to give their life for some vague future reward. Martyrdom can be wonderful if the reasons for the selfless acts are carefully scrutinized.

A spiritually mature person is centered enough in the self to know how to care for the self, and yet feels at a deep level the connection between oneself and everything on the planet, including the plants, animals, land, water and air. One can then discern how, when and where to share one’s time, energy, money or skills. This is not an easy task, but one that takes a lot of practice.

Motives for giving

One’s motives for giving vary greatly, depending on their maturity and consciousness. One person may give to a college, so their child will be accepted as a student there. Another may give to look good in society, to impress friends or family, or to assuage the guilt they feel because others around him are not as well off. Giving may also come from a genuine desire to be of service, or because one recognizes their connection with others so deeply they know they will not be truly happy until others are happy, or at least cared for.

Some believe that others should be forced to give. Libertarians point out, for example, that government welfare programs — including socialized medicine — are very different from private charity. The most significant difference is that money for government programs is collected by force through taxation, whereas private charity is based on voluntary donations. It is always helpful to examine your motives for giving, because selfish motives or forcing others to give cloud the process, often leading to negative results.

Giving from fullness or emptiness

One can give from fullness or from emptiness. Giving from fullness means that one is first filled from within. A person gives from the overflow of their bounty or time because they have an excess of love, energy, money, talents, goods or services to share. An analogy is to imagine holding a glass under a spigot until the water overflows the glass onto your hand and into the surrounding area. The water is shared because there is extra.

Giving from emptiness, however, is the more common way giving occurs. This sort of giving takes place when one gives out of compulsion, shame, anger, fear or other motives, often in spite of a deeper desire to relax and nurture the self. While the results of this giving can be wonderful, this type of giving often leads to burnout.

Receiving

Based on the above-mentioned principles, it is obvious that giving has much to do with receiving. They are bound together in mysterious ways. It is said that “it is in giving that we receive.” This means the giver actually receives, although it may not appear so.

Perhaps givers receive because our minds are joined at unconscious levels. Each person is simply acting out a different aspect of creation. One is wealthy while another is poor, one healthy while another ill, and so forth. However, underneath, all are divine souls merely playing roles they choose, in order to learn certain lesson or perhaps to teach others different lessons. If, indeed, we are joined in consciousness at some level, then one can only give to an aspect of oneself.

This does not mean to suggest that we should give indiscriminately, however. There may be times and ways to give appropriately and other times and ways that are less helpful.

Some people give and receive easily. Others tend to give in ways that cause burnout, and perhaps bitterness or disillusionment. These are not easy issues to clarify, as our unconscious thoughts and motives often are not obvious.

An important principle is to include oneself in one’s circle of giving. Receiving has to do with allowing the self to be nourished and nurtured so as to be able to accumulate or store up the necessary energy, time, money or talents with which to give. Thus, giving to oneself is necessary in order to give to others. This requires realizing one’s own worth, and the part one plays in the whole process of giving and receiving. To imagine that the self does not count and others are more important is incorrect and can be extremely destructive.

Giving and gratitude

Giving can be based on an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is an appreciation for all the gifts we receive and have received. These range from the wonders of nature to the accumulated knowledge and wisdom on which our civilization is built. It is possible to cultivate this attitude each day by recalling some things for which one is grateful. These can range from living in a wonderful climate, the freedoms available because we live in America, having a friend, stopping to notice a flower, having enough to eat or a thousand other things. One can contemplate this daily during a meditation period or perhaps record them in a gratitude journal.

When one cultivates an attitude of gratitude, giving becomes much easier and more natural. Giving becomes a way to share all the good one has received. When one lives in a thankful mood all the time, their giving is natural. Giving becomes just a natural way of saying “thank you” to the universe.

Unintended results of giving

Giving can and often does produce negative results. In America, many of the poor are becoming poorer, more dependent and demanding of those who provide charity. After Hurricane Katrina, a large number of people became angry with the nature and quality of the help they received, although technically no one “owed” them anything at all. The entitlement mentality seems to have taken hold to such an extent that some expect gifts but do not appreciate the help.

The recipients of giving often are made worse spiritually by the welfare they receive, particularly if these gifts cause them to become less motivated to use their innate abilities to care for themselves and others. Giving done properly involves understanding the needs of others so deeply that you are aware when you have overdone it or have given in a way that weakens another. If we’re honest, we will admit there is much people are better off doing themselves. Also, people enjoy doing for themselves when they have the right tools and opportunities. Feelings of accomplishment and the satisfaction of self-achievement can be extremely rewarding.

Sadly, at times one of the secret motives for giving is to make the recipients more dependent, not less so. Those who operate charities or welfare agencies, for example, sometimes wish to protect their jobs. A good way to do this is to ensure that their services will continue to be needed. Thus the policies they adopt, even if arrived at unconsciously, often seek to perpetuate the poverty or disability they are charged with correcting. The result is that in spite of high-sounding rhetoric, more and more people mysteriously become needy or ill.

I am disappointed, for example, when the American Cancer Society — said to be dedicated to curing cancer — criticizes natural therapies without thoroughly researching them. Is it possible that they are afraid a cure already exists, and thus their organization might cease to be needed?

Although there will always be those who cannot take care of themselves, most people can and need to learn how to manage money, manage time and earn a living. These are critical skills in any culture. When deprived of learning opportunities, even by well-meaning do-gooders, many are made more helpless and dependent. Proof of this in our nation is the existence of an entire class of welfare-dependent people who only know how to rely on the system to meet their needs.

Thus giving is complex and requires plenty of reflection, so as not to spoil others, create dependency, or become burned-out or disillusioned. Setting up welfare programs and charities is much more complicated than it may seem, and unintended consequences of giving can be found all around us.

Radiating love

Radiating love is a special type of giving that does not spoil people or cause them to become dependent. In fact, it can help them to wake up to their true power. First Corinthians in the New Testament states, “If I give all I possess to the poor, yet have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3)

Buddhists speak of compassion, a sensation or warmth that some people radiate to all whom they meet, no matter the situation. The one radiating love needs no special skills and may appear as the janitor, a letter carrier or just a passerby. Position does not matter, nor does technical skill or expertise, as much as a special quality of understanding and empathetic acceptance of all, through love.

In the end, radiating a loving quality is often more important than giving things, money or your time. For when you radiate love, your giving will be felt as genuine. However if you withhold love, an essential element of human kindness will be absent from your giving, and it will not feel real, no matter how hard you try.

Conclusion

Giving can easily become an integral part of everyone’s daily life, a way of being that occurs almost unconsciously with every breath. Giving with love, for the right reasons and at the appropriate times, however, is often not easy to learn. Many times when we believe we are giving sincerely, we give with the expectation of reward or return, or with another motive that is less than ideal.

Let us continue to work on our less desirable motives, such as gaining favor with others, allaying our fears, or pacifying our friends and families. At the same time, let us continue to strive for the highest form of giving — from fullness, from a sense of gratitude, from deep within — and to extend the love we are with every thought, word and deed. The goal is to maximize the benefits for all and to best assist the development of self and others to produce a mature, spiritually oriented society.

Some of this material comes from A Course in Miracles. If this book is difficult to fathom, I have written a brief summary of its principles, entitled The Real Self.

 

Dr. Lawrence Wilson has a medical degree and has been in the health field for 25 years. His books include Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis, Legal Guidelines for Unlicensed Practitioners, Healing Ourselves and Manual of Sauna Therapy and The Real Self. He also co-authored Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease and contributed to The Dangers of Socialized Medicine. www.drlwilson.com or 928-445-7690.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 1, February/March 2006.

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