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Giving Is Receiving
23m

Giving Is Receiving

A moving account of those giving to the people in Ukraine.

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Hello, and welcome to another episode of Mindfulness+. I'm your host, Thomas McConkie. Thanks so much for listening. I wanna talk a little bit today about giving and receiving. I was reading the paper the other day, and something happening on the other side of the world really struck me, and its implications for our practice, for our humanity, I wanna share with you. This is an excerpt from an article written by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times, March 15th, 2022. Friedman writes, "In about the last two weeks, according to Airbnb, people from 165 countries have booked more than 430,000 nights at Ukrainian homes with no intention of using the rooms, but simply in order to donate money to these Ukrainian hosts, most of whom they had never even heard of. Airbnb has temporarily waived all guests and host fees for bookings in Ukraine. So those reservations translated into $17 million U.S. dollars going directly to the hosts." So what this means is as one of the many results of the war going on, one of the responses to the war going on in Ukraine is that people spontaneously from all over the world got onto Airbnb, and creatively converted it into a platform and vehicle to send aid money to Ukraine. These are people from all over who do not know the hosts of these rooms in these towns and cities in Ukraine. And they booked random nights in order to just get money into the country, and to pledge solidarity support, to really aid in their suffering. There's so many lessons to take from this. It's just a remarkable act of ingenuity. You know, there are a lot of ways to try to help when people on the planet are suffering, especially in a war torn country, but to get on Airbnb and book a room in a city that might have already been bombed to oblivion, there's something to be said about human ingenuity here. So that's remarkable. Hat tip to Airbnb, the moment they saw this trend, the first thing they did, was emulate the same giving. They waived all their own fees that they would normally collect on a booking to make sure all of the proceeds were going to the victims in Ukraine. So it's just a beautiful act of service and selfless giving, among other things. When I read this, well, when I read it, I teared up, I was just amazed at what we humans are capable of. And I thought of a moment in the New Testament, some of us who have a Christian background, we've heard this teaching about anybody can love the people who love them, but can you love your enemies? That's the real mark of a, we could say a holy person, but maybe a less quoted line. This is in the Book of Luke, chapter six, verse 34 I'm reading from. Almost in the same breath from Jesus. "And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return." So I'm not gonna talk too much about money, and the relationship, the tortured relationship most of us have with money these days. But I just, what really got me right in the heart when I read about this going on in Ukraine, this giving for giving's sake, this giving with you're buying something, $100, $200 for a night in a room that might not even exist that you're clearly never going to sleep in. It just felt like the epitome of giving to somebody, lending to somebody with no thought of return. So what is it about this wisdom teaching, Jesus saying this thousands of years ago, and other wisdom teachers across the ages talking about the virtue of giving for giving's sake? I don't know, I don't, I doubt I have anything too profound to say about it, but as I reflect on this event, and as I reflect on this act of just giving with no hope of receiving, it becomes clear to me in my own experience that when we give in order to receive, not that that's bad, right? Like at a certain level, we're in exchange with the environment, we're in exchange with all of life. And if all we do is give and get nothing back, then we won't last long as an organism. But there's something to be said about receiving in turn for what we've given. But on a spiritual level, on the level of mindfulness and practice that I think we're concerned with, when we go beyond the polarity of giving and receiving, when we're giving of ourselves fully. And I would add here, the example is very concrete. People are giving money, they're paying money to stay in rooms that they're never going to get to stay in on Airbnb. That's really cool. But that's only one form of generosity. We can be generous with our time, and we can be generous with our attention, and we can be generous with our talents. There is giving from the pocket if we have material resources, and that's wonderful if we do, but there's also giving from our soul, our heart, giving from the source of what we are, and we can all do this. We can all cultivate a spirit of generosity. What I love about this teaching, when Jesus says if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. So what happens when we lend with no thought of return? For me, it takes us beyond this pair of opposites of giving and receiving. And the act of giving itself becomes an act of receiving. On a spiritual level, when we give with no thought of getting anything in return, that quality of selfless giving is receiving itself. I want you to just let that into your heart for a moment, and I wanna practice with this, because the mind gets jammed up, the mind, the thinking mind does not do particularly well with contradictions. It's either this or that. It's true, it's false. I'm giving or I'm receiving. But at a soul level, at a wisdom level, when we give with no thought of return whatsoever, no hope of return, we are giving as a new self from a new place. And just the blessing of flowing that kind of generosity is a different kind of receiving in that very moment of giving. And I've learned that in the words of Jesus. And I remembered that in a new way. I was taught that anew when I was reading the paper the other day, and I felt the, I don't know how many people, hundreds, thousands of people all over the planet making bookings. Let me go back to the article. Wow, that's a lot of people, a total of 430,000 nights were booked from 165 countries. That's a lot of people. That's a lot of people giving from the place that Yeshua, the wisdom master, Jesus of Nazareth was saying, if you give from this place with no hope of return, then you will have a reward that you can scarcely imagine. I'm inspired by this. We're in a moment in the world. We're in a moment as a human species where this kind of giving I believe is more needed than ever, and we can all do it, it's right here. Let's practice doing it right now. Take a moment to just breathe out. Extend the out breath, drop in. Take a moment here. Take a moment to let the dust settle, to let yourself become undivided. Single. Good. Note the breath, this continuous act of giving and receiving, of exchange. Breathing out everything you don't need. Breathing in a new lease on life, the gift of life itself, every in breath. Just stay with this for a moment, this simplicity. Every in breath, you're being renewed, being supported, being sustained. You're not earning it, whatever that could even mean. It's just given, and the generosity of life and creation, that which sustains you in this moment is just given. Life itself animates you, sustains you. Bring awareness to the heart. Put your awareness on the inside of the heart in this moment, and just feel the knowing resonance of heart intelligence. What does this moment feel like when you know it from and through the heart? I want you to notice in your heart, feeling from the inside, not thinking about it in the mind, feeling from the heart, everyone who cares about you, everyone who has ever loved you or loves you, or will ever love you, all the love in the world, letting your heart pick it up like a satellite dish. Sensitive to all these beams and waves of love from across the whole universe. Close friends, siblings, parents, children, neighbors, colleagues. Not only the living, but perhaps ancestors you feel that you commune with. Maybe wisdom teachers from across the ages. Mother Mary, St. Teresa, Jesus, the Buddha, all the bodhisattvas, the mahasattvas, the devas, the host of angels throughout eternity. Whatever worlds you connect to, just feel the love in your heart that sustains you. This unearned love, freely given to you, feel the way it lifts you, animates you, inspires you. And shift now to the level of just pure awareness. The basic fact of being awake in this moment, awake, aware, intelligent. We could call this light the light of mind, the light of pure awareness. The field in which we live, and move, and have our being. And it's given. You don't have to do anything to earn it. You are it, you're an expression of it. All the abundance of light and spirit taking unique shape as you in this moment feel how resourced you are, how provided for. Life, love, light. There is no end, no beginning. Just feel how super abundant you are with all of life, and love, and light. And if you were to give your whole life for a cause, you would never exhaust life. And if you were to give all the love in your heart with total abandon to what you love, you would never exhaust love. And if you were to bring your highest awareness to the most noble cause and purpose you know of, you would never exhaust the light of awareness. There's no beginning or end to you, life, love, and light. From this seat of being, this seat of identity, sense in through your body, your heart, your mind, where you might give in your unique life and your unique circumstances, whatever it is you might give to whomever you might offer it, just as an expression of your own fullness, your abundance, 'cause you have so much, you could give it all away a million times over, and only increased in your store. Take a moment to just see where you feel called to give with absolutely no expectation, or even need of return. Giving just as a pure honest expression of who you are at the deepest level, inexhaustible. Feel the way in which you're already giving, just by bringing your awareness to this intention to give in this way. It's already so. Thanks for practice, everybody. As I sit here just in the wake of our practice just now, I can feel your giving. I feel your giving in the field. I feel the generosity of who and what you are. And I feel greater peace in my heart already that this kind of giving, this kind of giving we've seen from citizens of the world to Ukraine in this moment of need, this kind of giving that Jesus has called us to, to give with no thought of receiving. I feel a greater peace in my heart, knowing that all of us can do this every day. Live from this place, give from this place. What a beautiful world it is. That's all for the show today. We'll be back next week with more on Mindfulness+.

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