For it is in giving that we receive
— this phrase attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi is well known. I can imagine that most people have heard it stated at one time or another. We are often taught early in life, that it is “better to give than to receive”. But how can we step fully into the truth that lives within that phrase?
Start by directing your mind away from the problems in your life by putting your attention on something larger than yourself, and taking action to serve the greater good. There is some validation regarding the benefits of giving. Scientific research, using functional MRI technology, show that giving activates the “feel good” parts of the brain. A different type of study involving 3,500 caregivers found that, on average, caregivers had a lower mortality rate than their “matched non-care giving counterparts.” It could be that helping others is one of the secrets to living a happy, healthy and meaningful life.
Pause and take a moment and bring to mind a memory of when you had a good feeling after helping another. What do you notice?
This time of year, is a potent spiritual time in the different traditions. In April, on the first full moon, the Christian tradition of Easter, which honors the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, was celebrated. This month, on the first full moon, the Buddhist tradition of Wesak, which honors the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha, is celebrated. Wesak is a time for group effort that sparks the ambition and aspiration to be part of “one great cosmic magnet through which the spiritual energy of the Buddha can flow into human hearts and minds”
As we move in our daily lives this month, we are supported by this energy of Wesak and it lends an enhanced awareness to the phrase “for it is in giving that we receive”. It is a perfect time to align your intention toward bringing good will and the will to do good into each action. Each smile, each Facebook post, each phone call, each interaction, include your intention to be a source of good will and the will to do good.
One of the simplest ways to do this is through meditation. Sit in meditation as a service to humanity. [suggested meditation for this topic]