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The Joy in Giving!

In a distressing time like this, most of us have been tackling negative thoughts and anxieties. I want to use this post to send out a positive message to all of you because positivity is so infectious that a single positive deed can generate so many positive thoughts. And I hope this post serves as a medium to promulgate positivity in your life.

A few years ago, I read a short story and it has stayed with me all these years. I’ll sum it up here so you can understand the context.

There lived a beggar in a dusty old street of a large city. He barely received any alms to be able to manage a proper meal or get clothes to keep him warm at night. One day, the King’s caravan was passing by the city and the beggar approached the Royal Caravan in the hope to be on the receiving end of the King’s renowned generosity. The King got out of his chariot, approached the beggar and asked, “Oh Kind sir, May I have some of the rice from your bowl?”

The Beggar was astounded by the request from the powerful man and could not refuse him. He hesitantly looked at the little rice he had in his bowl and reluctantly took out five grains of rice and placed it into the King’s hand. The King thanked him and left with his caravan. Indignant from the incident the beggar went back to his street.

Later that night, while cleaning his rice before cooking, he found something gleaming through the rice. Staring down in incredulity, he found five diamonds in the bowl, one for each grain of rice that he had offered to the King.

This story shines a light on a very powerful value, i.e. the value of giving. For it is in giving that we receive. Giving does not only mean money, you can contribute your time, skills, knowledge or resources that might hold value for anyone else, even if it might not hold any value for you. There are times when we doubt if the quantity that we can afford to give might not make a huge impact and, in those times, we must realize that however small or tiny our effort may seem to us, it might make an immense difference to the person on the receiving end. There are no quantitative measures for giving; when the intentions are pure, any sort or measure of generosity is a good deed. You may start with helping out a friend in need, sparing pocket change for a needy, sharing extra food with the half-starved or giving your old clothes to the homeless; the opportunities are endless.

I inculcated the habit of always giving out spare change to the needy whenever I could. Whenever I did, I felt a state of contentment and wanted to share this feeling, so I asked another friend to do the same once in a while. He dismissed my advice showing skepticism about how the other person might use that money or how he did not want to encourage begging. I am sharing this incident because some of us are faced with similar doubts as well and to this my simple answer remains, “This pocket change holds negligible value to me while this extra money may be a means to buy proper meal for the one begging for it. Rather than think about their intentions on the use of that money, I shall have faith.” As Bob Proctor once said, “They can burn the money for all I care.” Once I have done my good deed, I should trust that it shall have a positive impact.  

Another misconception about the idea of giving is that we think if we give away what we have, we will end up having less. This scarcity mindset is sometimes holding us back from being generous with our time, wealth and resources. I have always believed and personally experienced that if we give something, more flows in rather quickly and there is always enough to give. In the simplest terms, just like money attracts money, the more you give, the more you will receive. This concept called the ‘Law of Attraction’ has been explained magnificently in the book – The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

The act of giving kindles happiness and joy. This fact has been scientifically proven as our brain releases endorphins resulting in a euphoric feeling that has so much positive effect on our mind and body. This sensation has been termed as the ‘Helper’s High’. The Dalai Lama called it ‘Selfish Altruism’ because those who give benefit as much as those who receive, and it is a win-win situation. But don’t take my or anyone’s word for it, test it for yourself.

At a time like this when the world is in shambles and everyone is suffering from this crisis, it becomes more important to think beyond oneself and help others who are in need. So, step out and help a friend who lost his/her job, a starving business in your neighbourhood, daily wage workers in need of food or shelter or anybody else that you can impact positively. Remember, just like the Beggar in the story, whatever you give, you will receive multifold in return.

Help as much as you can and as many as you can because where I come from, there’s a saying (in Punjabi)

Zindagi vch paisa kmao paave naa, Dua zaroor kamao.

In life, even if you do or don’t earn enough money, you must always strive to earn more blessings.

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