Sunday, December 18, 2011

Giving is living

Life has taught me a great lesson: the beauty in giving. The greatest souls that have grazed this planet are those who gave themselves up for others fully and unconditionally. Let it be Mother Teresa, Father Damien, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. or Abraham Lincoln……they surpassed all living souls with their selfless service to the needy.  As Winston Churchill once said,   “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give”   Our lives will be very much less fruitful if we are not giving what we have to others. It can be motivation, knowledge riches, time, comforting words; it can be anything that alleviates others’ pain or something that make others’ life richer and more meaningful. It  is this realization that motivates the rich philanthropists to give significant portions of their wealth to the poor.     
I have noted that all great leaders and thinkers of history have opted for selfless lives.   I also remember very often the ancient Chinese saying, ‘a little fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses.’ Those who have the attitude, ‘May I serve you,’ enjoy life far better than those who are constantly after material possessions, power or professional advancement.  
Giving can be its own reward.  But there is another aspect that a lot of us have failed to recognize. Giving is a form of energy that not only helps the recipient but it bounces back in a greater measure to the giver. The backward journey of this energy is often shrouded in mysterious labyrinths such that the giver is not aware of it instantly nor is it immediately perceptible to the world at large. The giver receives more than what he gave out if he did so without any personal motivation whatsoever. This is a great natural law. 
'The hand that gives is the hand that gathers.’ Many of our ancient as well as modern philosophers maintain that the secret to wealth is giving. When you spend money it goes out and touches so many and depending on your mental attitude it may bring back abundance. No wonder a famous Arab author, Al Koran advises people to bless the bills before you part with them so that it blesses all those they touch. He wants us to command the money to go out, feed the hungry, clothe naked and come back a million fold.  
During my seminars I often ask the participants, ‘will you get something if you work more than what you are paid for?’ At other times I ask them: ‘if you go the extra mile in your work, who is going to be benefitted?’
Most of them would answer thus: ‘the employer will get the benefit.’
Then I would pose the question: ‘Won’t you be benefitted in any way?’
After quite a bit of reflection someone would say, ‘we will develop too and our self esteem will go up.’
Well, you will be much more benefitted than the owner.   You will be rewarded hundredfold by the universe who is a just employer. When you give out selflessly the great universal Watchdog is going to reward you. It is certain that you will add tons of self esteem and you will increase your confidence levels. Further, you have invested in yourself and you have already become more valuable at the market place. When you go out for an interview the added self respect and esteem will make you ask for more pay as you know you are willing to give more than he is going to pay back to you.
The Bible mentions that whenever anyone feeds or clothes a destitute he does so to God himself.  Well I think there is no good in the world which can come anywhere near the act of giving, selfless giving in particular.
When I train youngsters the art of developing self confidence, I always emphasize selfless giving as the shortcut to the development of this crucial quality. In fact I tell them to check before they sleep every day whether they did some help to someone without expecting anything in return.                    
 It can be helping a blind person to cross the road.
It can be feeding a beggar who is hungry.
It can be offering a soothing smile to a stranger who is in tension.
It can be offering a dollar bill to someone who is dire need and whom you do not know.
It can be removing a stone from a foot path so that others are not hurt.
It can be picking up plastic bags and bottles from around a public place to make it tidier.
It can be pardoning a motorist who has splashed mud on your dress as he sped by.
It can be a great act of giving if:
You keep a radiant smile as you crisscross the pathways of life ……….
You spare some time to take an injured stranger to a hospital ……………
You give out a certain portion of your wealth to an unknown poor man or woman. .. …
You help your employer earn through your extra work, vigilance and care……..
You spend some time with the old to brighten their day…….
You give your seat for an invalid in a crowded bus……………
 Let me state a great secret to become richer: start giving a portion of what you earn or what you posses. What goes out comes back. Selfless giving ensures manifold return.  All the rich people of this planet are inclined to help others.  And that could be one of the reasons why they become richer. They get back what was given out, in true charity, hundredfold.  Giving is a sure way to receive more.    
Blessed are those who can give without remembering. That could be why our present world is getting filled with those who want to give without any string attached. They are quick to part with a part of what they have earned as they know giving has a superior value when one does so quickly and not waiting for to be asked.                                                                                                                                                                                   
The best way you can evaluate a person is by how much he gives and by how much he feels for others in his wallet. Giving is always a thermometer of one’s love towards others. When it comes to giving some people stop at nothing. ‘Give all you can,’ is an excellent formula for a successful life.                                                      
Living for others is the best way to live. That could be why Henry Drummond once said, ‘there is true happiness only in giving.’ Before we conclude let me remind you  Arthur Schweitzer’s words: “ There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.”

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