Give your time
Give away something you love
Wait, what? ..... give away something I love? Yes, it is possible and I promise you will love it.
The practice of giving is one of the best practices you can have. It sets the stage for everything else good in your life. It starts a habit of kindness, awareness of others, non-attachment and a wisdom around how others live. It opens you to looking outside of yourself and you begin to realize how connected and alike we all really are.
Have you ever given your time at a soup kitchen? There are a lot of hungry people out there and I know for me, if I am hungry, I am not happy. I know one thing for sure is that everyone wants to be happy and that makes me the same as the person who I am serving soup to. It is our basic human desire to want to be happy and we look for it where ever we can find it. We want it to last and last. Have you ever really thought about what happy feels like? The practice of giving has a very similar feeling. It feels warm, light and open because your heart is acting out of kindness and love. Like any other emotion, happiness comes and goes but if I know how to get it, I am going to go for it.
When you give it should be done without expecting anything in return. It should be like the way you give love to your children. Of course our children come from us and they are cute and cuddly and we are bonded to them. The other kind of giving is when you give to those whom you don't know but you know will benefit just the same. When you do this, you don't always know what the rewards are or the thanks are but know in your heart that it IS making a difference. Giving is not something we think about all the time but I know I am trying to do more of it. When I keep my awareness open to it I find myself feeling less tuned in to my own woes. I feel more compassionate to those who might be in need, knowing that I have been in need at times and am so grateful when others have helped me unconditionally. If I give away something that I love, I try not to think about what I might be losing but what someone else might be gaining. I actually am gaining as well.
I was at a meditation retreat once and our guide was discussing the practice of non-attachment. How we can gain much more peace by not grasping so tightly emotionally to our "things." All week another student had been commenting on my Mala beads. They were kind of unique dark beads; almost black. She really liked them. I started thinking, as the instructor was talking, about these beads and how much I loved them too. Then I thought, "OK Kim, let's see what you are made of. Give the beads to that woman even though she didn't ask for them but just because she likes them and give this non-attachment thing a try." She was about to be a Grandmother so I thought it would be a nice thing to honor her new title. I was getting all crazy about it. I thought, "I love these beads, they have been to see the Dalai Lama and everything, they are so cool, I wear them all the time." Yadda yadda yadda. So, towards the end of the retreat, I went over and told her I wanted to give them to her. I told her I had loved them and enjoyed them for a while now and it was time to pass them on for good luck in her new role as a Grandmother. She was thrilled and damn it, so was I. It was nice. I felt good, happy and more happy. Then.... I went right down to the gift shop and got myself a new set of Mala beads. Hey, I am only human.
My point is, it's a practice. Like anything, it's about opening your awareness to others and being a kind person. It is about seeing if you can make someone happy or relieve a hunger or need in them, it is about finding compassion for all human beings and their desire to be happy; just like your desire to be happy. So give it away... whatever that is for you. Everything you have in this life is precious; your time, your body, your energy, but I guarantee that when you share it with an open heart it will double. So give what you can, whenever you can and that happiness with keep coming your way. Besides, if you give something away, it is a good reason to go shopping for something new.