- Here you are, this is for you. - Thank you, so kind of you.
There it is. A simple act of giving and receiving, a donation of products, services or simply good will. Pure joy and gratitude. Or is it really that simple? Are there hidden meanings, precisely calculated benefits and expectations of favors in return that often get mixed into the equation? Taking a closer look at what it means to Give, truthfully, I drafted The Five Commandments of Giving. The explanations below quote Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese artist, writer and poet, who in 1923 in his best-selling work, The Prophet, wrote so eloquently about Giving.
1. Give of yourself, not your possessions. You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow? And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the over-prudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city? And what is fear of need but need itself? Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, thirst that is unquenchable?
2. Give for the joy of giving, not for recognition. There are those who give little of the much that they have − and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty. There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward. And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
3. Give unexpectedly, give now. It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding. And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving. And is there aught you would withhold? All you have shall some day be given; Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors.
4. Give without judgment. You often say, I would give, but only to the deserving. The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture. They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish. Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you. And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
5. Receive without assuming weight of gratitude. See first that you, yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving. For in truth it is life that gives unto life − while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness. And you receivers − and you are all receivers − assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives. Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings.
I wrote the above editorial for the December issue of The People We Are, but it actually applies to any time of the year, any day, any moent. Let us always try to follow the above commandments and give for joy, when unasked, without judgment nor expecting anything in return. Let’s give of ourselves. Of our time, of our true, involved presence. Let’s donate a bright smile, a warm hug, a kind word. A small donation, an unexpected favor, a helping hand. For to withhold is to perish.