Happiness depends on something or other and can be lost; freedom from everything depends on nothing and cannot be lost. Freedom from sorrow has no cause and, therefore, cannot be destroyed. Realise that freedom.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj,
I Am That, p.147
How can I give when I feel like I need to get?
Consistently we enter experiences and/or relationships looking for what we are there to get, when in fact, the way the world works is that we must embrace the opposite and know that in every case we are showing up in order to give. We are showing up in order to be of service.
Think of it this way: in the Vedic world view, there is only one thing. I am, so by definition I must be that one thing. If giving is going to occur, if love is going to be present, then this love, this giving must come from me. If there’s only one thing, who else is going to choose to bring the love if I don’t? Though we may show up on a date, to a function, hoping someone will be interested in getting to know us better, in fact it never is about that; rather, it always is about us being interested in someone other than ourselves.
Though this may seem at first to be counter-intuitive, once we embrace it, the payoff is quite profound. If I assume I am here to get, I am underlining the fact that I am needy; whereas if I assume I am here to give, I am underlining the fact that I have something worth giving. And by giving, I am aligning myself with the flow of nature. I am allowing the flow of life to move through me. And this, really, is what we always are seeking from someone else–this feeling of flow, and the ease and feeling of joy that comes along with it. We love love because we love the feeling of life fully-lived that comes along with it. When we take it upon ourselves to be the outlet for this flow, rather than waiting for someone else to bring it to us, we no longer are at the affect of anyone else. We can begin to see ourselves as the source of love, as the connection to the true source of love, i.e. to nature itself. And everything we really want, really long for, really desire, always comes from nature. Never from another person.
And what about me? the small self may say. When do I get taken care of?
Of course the answer is: Always. Always we are taken care of. Always we are given to by nature, by life itself. By God, if you will. This truth of the universe, by whatever name you call it, is my source. It fills me always with everything I need. My responsibility simply is to recognize this truth, and to let my actions be expressive of this truth.
And my responsibility is to put aside some time each day to look within, so that I may feel this truth as a reality. The practice of meditation takes me to my least excited state, deep within. In that place, I am able to feel the truth that fulfillment is not something I need to go looking for in the world. Instead, fulfillment is what I am. When I know myself as fulfillment, to give is the most natural thing for me to do. And as I give, fulfillment becomes the most natural thing for me to feel.
Today I will choose away from my small self’s need for safety and approval, and choose rather to be more interested in another person than in myself. I will ask to be shown, moment to moment, how I may be of service in my world. I will assume that my own needs will be taken care of, and I will listen to another to see what I may give to them.
Stone Barn, Frederick, MD
All original material copyright © 2018 Jeff Kober