We were in Thailand. My wife had planned to go to the Wat (Buddhist temple) to do an important ceremony to honor her father who had died some years past. Many of her family members were attending. Right after breakfast we packed cars full of people and headed out into the countryside towards the temple.
The weather was hot and steamy. Maybe it was jet lag or I was just having a bad day, but I was exhausted and feeling disoriented. My brain felt foggy, and even my eyesight seemed worse than usual.
As a family, we sat in front of a monk who presided over the ceremony. After the ceremony was finished each person had the chance to go up and sit closer to the monk, who spoke a few words to that person, inquiring about their lives.
When it came my turn to approach the monk, someone called out that I was a doctor from America. The monk looked at me and promptly held out his right arm. Through a translator I learned that he had trouble with his arm for years.
His right arm, around the elbow and forearm, was chronically spasmed. He had an old overuse injury from having done a lot of manual labor as a younger man. He’d tried therapy from various sources but the injury was so entrenched, no one had been able to help him.
As soon as I picked up his right arm and started to focus my attention away from myself, I felt better. My mind became clearer and I was no longer exhausted. On the contrary I felt quite good.
The Healing Miracle of Giving
What is the miracle in giving and why does it feel so good to give? Physical, mental, and emotional discomfort are introverting. Problems intensify what is wrong with us. The more we focus on our personal problems the worse they get; the longer we stay focused on ourselves the more uncomfortable we feel. Disease can be created by over focusing on our problems. This is because the flow of our internal energy gets crimped and stuck, which further holds us into a rigid pattern of self centeredness. When we are self centered—focused on our problems—we are separate from the whole, and cut off from the universal energy of life.
When we give, energy is focused outward, away from us.
Giving breaks the cycle of introversion. It frees us from our problems because as attention is taken away from them, they dissipate. Giving breaks the shackles of our rigid, self centered ego and frees up our energy to flow and join the universal life energy that is always around us.
Seize The Opportunity
Giving/sharing is a major factor for a healthy life. Not only does giving to others heal you, it provides meaning in life and an opportunity to awaken to something larger than yourself. No need to do anything special. Just sit back and wait. Life will always give you ample opportunities to help someone else and get away from your ego. When the opportunity arises, seize it, and be thankful for it.
Many give condescendingly. If you see a beggar on the street don’t judge them. If the wind shifted slightly and blew from another direction, any of us could be beggars, street people, and drug addicts.
Don’t give out of hope of return.
I once read a spiritual suggestion to do a good deed everyday without expectation of return. Sounds good. The danger is that it becomes routine, something that one does almost superstitiously. Many give because they hope to gain merit, go to heaven, or avoid hell. There is no merit for fear based giving or hope for gain. Give only to share the love and compassion in your heart. Give to help others and you will help yourself.
It is an old truth: when someone gives you the opportunity to help them, it is you that should be thankful!