“No one has ever become poor by giving.” —Anne Frank
The Universe is in a perpetual state of circulation. Whether it’s the water cycle, the food chain or the changing of the seasons, everything is in constant motion, performing in a ceaseless give and take, and always seeking balance.
By observing these countless dependable cycles in nature, we can better understand the Law of Giving and Receiving, one of the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga as taught by Deepak Chopra. This law operates on the principle that nothing in the Universe is static, and in order to receive, we must continue to give. In other words, giving and receiving are simply two different expressions of the same flow of energy.
If we were to stop the flow of giving and receiving—by refusing to do one or the other—we would cause stagnation and cut off the flow of powerful energy. For example, what happens when blood stops flowing through our bodies? It begins to coagulate and clot. The same principle can be applied to energy; when it becomes stagnant, the flow is cut off, and it becomes difficult for the things we truly desire to come to us.
As humans, we tend to hold back when we perceive that we are running low in something. We believe thoughts like “I don’t have enough time to volunteer” or “That person doesn’t show me love, so I’ll withhold my love too.” We hang onto clothes we haven’t worn in years; we hide the last piece of cake. Although we believe we are being safe or frugal, there is almost always some form of fear in these actions—fear that we won’t have enough for ourselves. But if we truly understood the principle of giving and receiving, we would know that the more we give with an open heart, the more we will receive, as it truly is one constant flow of energy.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that we mindlessly squander all of our resources on the precept that we will get more. There is no virtue in waste; and there is no beauty in giving because we want to get something back. Instead, the principle falls into action when we give with a heart full of love and joy—without fear (this is key!)—and with the intention of making both the giver and receiver happy. In this way, we keep the channel of life-giving energy wide open, and the blessings begin to flow in all directions.
As you go about your day, try your best to give something to everyone you meet. It could be a smile, a compliment, money for a snack, or some other simple gesture of kindness. Remember to receive with a happy heart as well. If someone pays you a compliment, accept it. If someone wants to pay your lunch bill, let them. It will allow that person to give as well, and in turn, receive the blessings that come with it.
As you continue to give without a fear of losing your resources—and simply enjoy the knowledge that what you give will come flowing right back to you—you will open up the door to a new and joyful way of living that you’ll never want to close.