Giving From The Heart, You Experience Joy

Giving from the heart, you experience joy
February 8, 2018, 2:00 AM IST Speaking Tree in TOI Edit Page | Edit Page, India, Spirituality | TOI
By Janki Santoke

What can guarantee happiness? If there is one definite way to happiness, it has to be the spirit of giving. Giving comes in many forms. It is the meeting point of many arcs. Let us analyse its depth and complexity.

What: It is believed that real giving is to give ‘dravya’ or grains as grains symbolise food and also wealth that can buy food, clothing, shelter. Most people believe that giving is something the rich should practise, or that those who give to the poor are the real givers. Giving encompasses giving of not just money but also physical service, emotions, knowledge and life lessons such as spiritual masters do.

Who: The next pertinent question in giving is, whom do we give to? Most people restrict their giving to family or maybe friends. But true giving is universal. One gives to everybody. One can often hear the complaint that ‘I did so much for that person, but all I got from it was sorrow’. This is the situation when we restrict our giving to only a few. But if it were universal, it not only draws reward from the world but also ensures an eternal fountain of joy spouting within.

When: When is the right time to give? At all times. Life should be a long song of service. At any time we can be in a giving mode. Not necessarily giving money, but giving love, knowledge or spiritual growth. Giving is not just what we do for the poor but for all people. Different people at different times need different things. Can we tune in and do what would most suit them? Maybe a call centre employee needs that we don’t scream at him. Maybe a staff member needs some rest. Maybe a child needs a little less nagging. Our planet needs less carbon! Someone may just need us to keep quiet! Giving is a mode of operation, not what we do. The best way to be a permanent giver is to dedicate one’s life to a higher ideal.

Why: Why do we give? Because it is the right thing to do. The situation demands it. Why does the soldier give up his life for the country? Because the situation demanded it. Why did the doctor sacrifice his night’s sleep and visit the patient? Because the situation demanded it. There was no ‘mine’ or ‘yours’ – just what was right for that situation.

How: Giving must be done as the rose gives fragrance or the sun gives light. Not with a deep consciousness of giving but just as part of one’s nature. When we are very conscious of our giving does it not signify that it is a rare occurrence with us? Are we conscious of breathing? Whatever is naturally done, we don’t overly notice. Only unusual things are noticed.

Khalil Gibran talks of not giving with the ‘mindfulness of virtue’, of not being smug with our giving. Giving should be done discriminately, that is, the intellect determines what needs to be done and does it, without any personal emphasis. All the focus is on ‘what is the right thing to be done’ and no focus on the person doing it.

When giving is done in the right way, it will bring joy to all! With giving, we grow up as human beings, we uncover that happiness that resides within each one of us.