Welcome to the Law of Giving & Receiving, #28 on the Wisdom Wheel. This is the first of the three stepping stone Laws in the South Direction; Immortality and Ultimate Reality are next.
After spending your last three months in the Eastern mental quadrant, with its stepping stone Laws of Creativity, Courage and Commitment, it is time to shift your focus to the territory where the heart and the emotions are represented.
Notice for example that Trust is the anchoring Law on the South side of the Wheel. Those who lack Trust will find it difficult to practice the Law of Giving & Receiving. Unresolved emotion, old wounds and fears, which tend to put people on the defensive, also make them prone to attempt to control the outcomes when Giving & Receiving. This greatly affects what is possible when it comes to the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual kinds of Giving & Receiving.
Take a moment to write down the names of ten people you know. Then organize them in two columns, Givers and Takers. Do most fit into one or the other? How many can keep the two sides of this Law well-balanced? Why do people seem do one aspect better than the other? For more on these issues, see the book by Cris Evatt and Bruce Feld, The Givers & The Takers.
How would you characterize yourself, in most of your relationships? Are you better at giving than receiving? Why have you adopted this stance? (Or its opposite?) Which is easier for you, the emotional or material Giving? As you recall the last time you felt deeply appreciated, can you put your finger on the exact behavior which made it so memorable? What made you feel it and believe it?
Self-sacrifice is never entirely unselfish, for the giver never fails to receive, reminds Dolores E. McGuire.
When we offer things like praise, unless it comes in forms the other person can take in, it may not be well received and could even backfire. This Law is quite complex when you examine all the elements of it and how they affect us individually.
This Law is often referred to as the Law of Abundance, but Giving & Receiving is actually about reciprocity. How do you prefer to be reciprocated for your time and efforts? With money? Recognition? Or time off?
Reciprocity is about making ‘suitable returns for the benefits we receive from others, and to resist retaliating for the harm others inflict on us, and how to make restitution for the harm we ourselves have caused,’ according to Lawrence C. Becker, author of Reciprocity
There are always moral judgments operating at the bottom of our exchanges whether we are aware of them or not. Elinor Ostrom and James Walker point out some of these Giving & Receiving issues in their book Trust and Reciprocity, ‘The central problem is that while all gain from cooperating, each individual has an incentive to free-ride on the good will of the others. Cooperation will not continue unless the free rider problem is successfully addressed.
Most of us are ‘free riders’ when it comes to our relationship with Mother Nature. Her abundance is astounding, but can it continue in a world full of Takers? How can we reciprocate appropriately for everything we eat and wear and walk upon?
Nature is our best teacher, when it comes to Giving & Receiving, and all the other Laws. Never does Nature say one thing and wisdom another, wrote Matthew Browne. The multidimensional, organic, biologic Giving & Receiving the Earth does without ceasing can never be grasped completely by the human brain, yet people have the audacity to believe they should command and control Nature, when we scarcely comprehend all the Giving & Receiving that goes on.
Each day, more and more manmade items are introduced (or dumped) into our shared ecosphere, further complicating the web of Giving & Receiving on the planet as a Whole. What impact will all this have ultimately, upon our lives and our health?
You can use the Wheel, and its quadrants, to sort through some of this intricate interdependence. When there are imbalances between the Giving & Receiving going on around you, take the issue(s) to the Wheel.
Put a symbol of it in the place(s) where it is represented. Then look across the Wheel for clues to what might be necessary to start redressing the imbalance. When too much mental energy (East) is being expended for instance, look towards the West for solutions. Draw upon the physical, sensing, intuitive, dreaming, healing and other aspects to restore reciprocity. Going for a walk, in a beautiful natural place, after sitting too long at a desk can begin to relieve the imbalance. For a person who had to run around all day, perhaps curling up with a good book or sitting quietly is better than a pill. Irish author Oscar Wilde said, Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.
The Law of Giving & Receiving itself is balanced by the Law of Cycles in the North. Where are you in the natural Cycles of Giving & Receiving in your life? Unless you are mindful of the ‘flow,’ you may expend too much energy and become bitter and exhausted. Let the moon and the tides show you, in the wisdom of their rising and falling, pushing and pulling, that we are advised to do the same.
In the Great Circle of Giving & Receiving that our lives depend upon, the least we can do is to participate consciously. For most, the only thing they give back consistently to Mother Earth is what they flush down the toilet each day.
Try making a daily offering of food from your plate instead. This small act can have a profound affect on your psyche. Instead of despairing about the environment, respond with spiritual Right Action. Blessings and offerings help restore our sense of belonging to the Whole. As our consciousness of place and purpose grows, our offerings will change accordingly. Ideally, our Giving will become indistinguishable from Receiving, as in the very best win-win strategies.
If you’re not too tired to remember, when you go to bed, say a small prayer, Send me, use me and protect me. Sometimes our best Giving & Receiving work happens when we are fast asleep! Don’t discount what spirit can accomplish on the highest level.
As Gandhi wrote, Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. Give what you can, and be grateful for all you receive.
Many blessings, Malcolm & Cynthia Davidson
P.S. Another wonderful book about the interplay of Giving & Receiving is David Abram’s
The Spell of the Sensuous