The Art of ‘Giving’
So: giving is an art? Indeed it is. Exchanging on the other hand, is not an art. The difference between giving and exchanging is what makes it an art.
This requires a subtle attention. You really expect nothing in return, or do you?
“I am always giving and they only take advantage…”
“A thank you is surely not too much to ask.”
“Are you going to give this away for free perhaps?”
“Do they expect that I give and as far as I understand they do not do that themselves?”
It’s human: one does not feel at ease, one does not even feel safe before one ‘knows what’s behind this…’ But suppose there is nothing behind it. In that case one risks to keep looking. In the long run even not so much in order to find something, but to put it there oneself. This can go very far, if necessary aggressively, demeaningly, excommunicatingly.
People are so used to the usual that they are even no longer able to see it. So it’s all the more interesting to see the Unusual, even the Unusual in the usual, not because it is unusual of course, but because it lives, because it moves, because it is quiet, because it evolves.
If the teacup stays full, there is no way to understand what ‘empty’ means.
Emptiness is bright however and cheerful. In emptiness, the wind can blow.
Emptiness smiles from within. It is, on the other hand, the fullness that is running further and further away from itself because it becomes stale when it is standing still. Even when the fullness is smiling, it doesn’t really smile, but it fills in another blank, with little respect for the respect that it has not towards itself.
Do you want to dwell on this for a little while? Do you want to try to understand this from emptiness?
EMPTY that teacup!
Getting is also a form of giving. When you are getting something, you show (give) your gratitude.
By really giving, you form the other.
In Buddhism, really giving (‘dana’) is one of the most important virtues, together with wisdom and meditation.
However, it’s not just simply the giving in itself. These three virtues are being seen as largely overlapping, coincidental. Giving is a wisdom in itself. Giving is a meditation in itself. Giving and expecting nothing in return. Not from some ego being merely interested in getting something in return, but from where it’s only possible to really give, purely as a “bodhisattva”: committed towards ‘awakening’ of… the deeper self?
Giving is a gift to yourself, a coaching for yourself.
When you give, try to give fully.
Try to avoid that giving and taking are standing too close to each other, if only because it could be misunderstood. It’s important that you also clearly show that you give. Show that you have been giving. Allow the other to be thankful. Reach an agreement together about the fact that this is definitely a gift. And why not even be grateful yourself for the gratitude of the other?
The most important gift is the gift of ‘attention’.
‘Attention is life’. That seems like a cliché, but this is about deep attention: something very different than the superficial attention we are used to – have to – give and to get regarding to 1001 things.
Deep attention is heart-warming. It is your attention.
Is it possible to overwhelm someone with too much deep attention? That depends on how you define it. What is ‘deep’ and what is not? The deep kind of attention is lying so close to the soul that it can touch someone… and being-touched is close to being-vulnerable. Real deep attention takes this into account, feels it, shows it.
Opening yourself to be deeply touched, is also giving deep attention.
One can also give: some kind of idea of credibility, a false hope of getting better, an unfounded sense of security in competence… as placebo, while actually one doesn’t ‘know’ but one uses it in order to make the coachee ‘feel better’.
A possible source of confusion is also the fact that in the entire process of ‘giving and taking’, the difference between ‘taking’ and ‘getting’ becomes less evident.
An ego-hard world makes a clear distinction between taking and getting. Well, this mitigates at relaxation of the ego. Not that you are then going to take all kinds of things as if they were yours, but before long it’s possible that you do something that others might interpret as ‘a mistake’. In other words, you need to be extra careful not to do this (too often). Now, so you know. When you walk beside well-trodden paths, the grass is sometimes higher. In that high grass it’s easier for a snake to hide.
Nobody says that it all comes naturally. In fact: if you would do it because of the convenience, then you would be trading again.