It’s probably not too big of an assumption to suggest that we all know how good it feels to give, especially around the holidays – those warm feelings of pleasure and satisfaction that come from knowing that something you did made a positive impact in someone else’s life. In fact, many of us would probably say that the act of giving – whether a physical offering, a shoulder to cry on, volunteering at a local charity, or some encouraging words – often provides more to the giver than to the recipient. This experience is called the Law of Giving and Receiving, and it is one of the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, taught by Deepak Chopra.
The Universe is constantly circulating. From our air and water to our thoughts and blood, everything is in motion, functioning through a dynamic exchange of give and take. As we observe these countless cycles in nature – the changing of the seasons, the food chain, and our oceans to name a few – we see firsthand examples of this phenomenon. Nothing in the Universe is stagnant, and in order to receive, something must give. In other words, giving and receiving are two different expressions of the same energy flow. 1
If the dance between giving and receiving were to ever stop, this powerful current would cease as well. As humans, we sometimes have the tendency to hold back due to fear – for example, the fear of getting hurt or the fear of loss. But if we truly understand the principles of Chopra’s teachings, we realize that it’s only by giving openly that we are able to reap rewards in return. 1
Of course, this doesn’t mean we should give because of what we’ll get back – that takes all the beauty away. But when we give with a heart full of love and empathy, we provide gifts wherever we go and to whomever we meet. Consider starting your day by saying, “Today, I will give everyone I come into contact with a complement or simply a smile.” 2
Just as important as the act of giving is the experience of feeling grateful for the gifts we receive. We can receive from all that life has to offer – such as, nature, sunlight, fresh air, and animals – or by more overt gestures from people – such as kind words or a treated meal. By graciously accepting what others extend our way, we then contributing to the greater cycle of joy, wealth, and affluence in our lives and in the lives of others. 2
And don’t forget to give to yourself too! By keeping our own systems full, not letting our spirits get depleted by activity or stress or taking care of others, we will maintain a fuller tank from which to offer others.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso