On the subtlest level, we’re in a constant state of giving and receiving. We give our brain and body rest at night so that we can receive energy for the day, we give our efforts and skills to our employer and receive payment, and hopefully appreciation, we then give our money to the shops and receive groceries.
If we look to nature, we see that giving and receiving are the basic characteristics of all life forms. Humans breathe in (receive) air, process the oxygen, then give out carbon dioxide. Plants then receive carbon dioxide, process it, then give out oxygen in return.
The fear of giving too much
We spend about the same amount inhaling as exhaling, as we do one we usually don’t worry about the other one, as we know that they both have their time and there is a stable balance between the two.
But for some reason when it comes to other things, we tend to hold back when we feel that we are running low. We believe thoughts like “I don’t have enough time to volunteer” or “That person doesn’t show me love, so I’ll withhold my love too.” We hang onto clothes we haven’t worn in years; we hide the last piece of cake.
Although we believe we are being safe or thrifty, there is almost always some form of fear in these actions—fear that we won’t have enough for ourselves. But if we truly understood the principle of giving and receiving, we would know that the more we give with an open heart, the more we will receive, as it truly is, one constant flow of energy.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that we mindlessly spend everything we have in the hope that we will get more. There is no advantage in waste; and there is no beauty in giving because we want to get something back. Instead, the principle falls into action when we give with a heart full of love and joy—without fear (this is key!)—and with the intention of making both the giver and receiver happy.
Giving and receiving in your everyday life
As you go about your day, try your best to give something to everyone you meet. It could be a smile, a compliment, money for a snack, or some other simple gesture of kindness. Remember to receive with a happy heart as well. If someone pays you a compliment, accept it. If someone wants to pay your lunch bill, let them. It will allow that person to give as well, and in turn, receive the blessings that come with it.
As you continue to give without a fear of losing your resources—and simply enjoy the knowledge that what you give will come flowing right back to you—you will open the door to a new and joyful way of living that you’ll never want to close.
Giving and receiving in yoga
Starting your yoga practice with giving yourself some time to settle in, your breath to
slow down and maybe even setting an intention with your practice, thinking about why you are practicing right now, what do you want the class to give you.
By keeping your chest and palms open, you send signals to your body saying you are ready to receive, your mind will then get a little quieter, making it easier to listen to what is coming next. By calming yourself down and being mindful you give others a chance to do same, so if you come in late, or leave early you are keeping other people from receiving the best class they can.
But the main thing to focus on is the constant flow of signals being given and received throughout your body.