Today I Began: Small Gifts Could Ripple Big
--by xiao, posted Sep 15, 2015
Two days ago, I witnessed the magic of random kindness when I was having dinner with a friend who's involved with ServiceSpace. We gave a bracelet to the waitress with a message on it: "I am a sacred, worthy, luminous being. I am love and my love is for giving." The bracelet was a gift from Dr. Tom Pinkson, who shared his wisdom at the first Sacred Leadership Summit we'd just attended. To our surprise, the waitress was very happy and told us how sad she was the previous night and she prayed. The bracelet made her day! At the end of our dinner, she insisted offering us free coconut ice-cream. We were just thinking about getting coconut ice-cream from the store on the way back! Wow, a small gift could ripple big. You just never know. This is a typical case of serendipity.
Last night, I watched the interview of Nipun Mehta by Charles Eisenstein. For the first time, I realized that I'd missed the point about giving. Not only I didn't see the big effect of giving, but I tended to associate most giving with some degree of condescending gesture. After hearing Nipun's simple yet profound description about giving, it dawned on me: We give on the outside, while receiving on the inside. It doesn't matter how small the effect would be outside. For example, the homeless to whom we feed one meal might be starved to death a week later. What matters is the interconnectedness and stillness we experience inside when we give. When the person who receives is inspired to pay it forward, he or she will experience that inner transformation as well. That's what it is about. "All life is practice," Nipun said during the interview.
This morning, I felt very uplifted to practice generosity. I brought several Smile cards and a gift card with me as I rode my bike to my next thing. On the way, I smiled and said "good morning" to strangers and they all responded friendly. I saw a weary old man lying on the bench in a bus waiting booth; I stopped. I wanted to put a Smile card and the gift card next to him. Trying not to wake him up, I reached my hand from the bottom of the booth to put the cards on the bench next to his head, but my arm was not long enough and I still woke him up. Embarrassingly, I offered him the cards with two hands, but he looked away and said, "No, thanks." I apologized and then left.
Giving is a life practice. Look deeply and then act deeply, as Thich Nhat Hanh would put it. It was my first conscious attempt and I wouldn't say I failed, because in my heart I knew, next time if I pay more attention, I'll know better what a weary old man might need and then give that to him in a more skillful way. :)
"We've all been given a gift, a gift of life. What we do with our lives is our gift back." -- Edo
"It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving." -- Mother Teresa