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Power of Receiving

Close up of honey bee on knapweed flower

In day to day life, the act of giving holds more of a moral significance than the act of receiving. In fact, we often view receiving as a reflection of some kind of inadequacy on the part of the receiver. But this is not so. Receiving is as important as giving – listening, witnessing, observing and paying attention are all part of receiving, and we cannot be truly spiritually open until we are as open to receiving as we are to giving.

There are many reasons why we feel uncomfortable receiving. Some people feel they are weak or have failed when they have to ask for help. However, if we seek help in areas where we are not particularly accomplished, we benefit a lot and give other people a chance to give.

Some people fear that if they accept something, they will owe something in return. We all practice reciprocity at some point in our lives. For instance, if you receive help from someone, it’s natural to want to help them in some way. There’s nothing wrong with that. If someone offers to help you, accept it. One day, you’ll have a chance to return the favor, but it shouldn’t be a burden.

Whether or not we realize or acknowledge it, we are all always receiving in some form or another. For example, nature gives us abundantly every moment; sunlight, the wind, food, the shifting seasons, the sheer beauty of the earth…the list is endless.

Receiving and giving are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other. We all exist because of this endless cycle of giving and receiving.

Reflect on the following questions:

• Do you graciously accept a compliment, feedback or a gift?
• Do you feel that receiving is a sign of weakness?
• Do you ask for help when you need it?
• Do you worry about paying back after receiving?
• Is independence more valuable to you than interdependence?
• Do you receive graciously and pay it forward by doing a kind deed for someone else?

This quote from Khalil Gibran beautifully summarizes the beauty and power of giving and receiving:
“And now you ask in your heart, ‘How shall we distinguish that which is pleasurable from that which is not?’
Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For to the bee, a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower, a bee is a messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.”  – Khalil Gibran

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