Selfless Giving

love-in-handsWhile going through my first Yoga teacher training one of our assignments was to “give an anonymous gift” to a fellow classmate. We were instructed to resist the temptation to give up our anonymity. I thought this was a rather clever and simple assignment. Not so much!  As instructed I secretly chose my “givee” and I was of course the “giver.” It seemed like a fun game of give and take. But, what to give, how to give it and reconciling my feelings of  giving anonymously was no easy task. This of course made perfect sense and was to be expected because there had not been a single assignment in six months that was short of  grueling mental and emotional challenge. Hmmmm…..What was he trying to teach us this time?

Well, of course I knew. The greatest form of giving is to give anonymously. Why? Because when we remain anonymous, completely taking our ego out of the equation while doing something or giving something to someone else without needing or wanting credit, attention or applause it becomes solely about the other person-”the givee.” Giving anonymously also releases the “givee” from possible feelings of embarrassment and obligation.  Every once in awhile you will read about someone in the newspaper who anonymously gives a million dollars to charity or buys a homeless person a house or pays off a daunting hospital bill. Literally, helping free another human being from their suffering. Their gift while incredible and beautiful is even greater because they do it without needing others to know. Their gift comes from a special place, a selfless place, deep in their heart and soul. I am not suggesting we give up our traditional ways of gift giving but perhaps exploring the rewards of an occasional anonymous gift. It’s a whole different kind of” high” to give and not want or need anything in return other than to make another person feel good. So, after careful and mindful consideration I selected my gift, one that I hoped would bring real joy to my classmate (I’m not going to tell you what it was) and I arranged delivery. It was a crazy experience for me because I would never see the expression on their face or feel the joy in their heart when they opened it. All I knew was that in a small way, I gave joy to another person and no one in the world would ever know it.  Except me, and it felt good.

On Valentines Day or any day this year considering giving your love anonymously!

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