Which attention do I give when I am giving a gift – the value of giving or the value of gift? Many a times my giving is about unworthiness, about looking good, about how a person will view me by the gift I am giving – all about seeking approval from without. Seldom it is about the inner value of my own needs and peace of mind. My teacher used to ask me which importance will I give to life – outside or inside? What he meant is whether we give ourselves priority or others?
To the norm of the world, when I give myself the best, I am seen as selfish. Even the guilt is found within me whenever I give myself the best. What is the cause of this misperception? Upbringing and beliefs. There is a salient difference between giving myself the best and selfishness. There is no difference between selfishness and selflessness. Both have lob-sided discrimination. When I am selfish I ignore the plea of others, in selflessness I ignore the plea of myself. Experiencing both I come to the middle way – neither selfish or selfless – non-self.
But to come into the centre I have first to acknowledge both extremes. It is because of both extremes do I know where the balance is. So it is fine whether I am selfish or selfless, provided that I see the extreme of it. If I were to see selfishness as wrong I will be compelled to do the opposite extreme – selflessness. Both are about right and wrong which is a judgment instead of wisdom. When non-self is understood, seeing things as nature rather than a self attached to it, the action that is derived from that moment is motivated by wisdom.
Where there is wisdom there is always peace of mind to myself. Or else I cannot find a point where I will find my peace, my balance. The result will be either about guilt, regrets or anguish.
So whenever I give, do I give out of love, compassion or joy, or out of commitment, pity, or unhappiness? There is no right or wrong to both except that both leads to different consequences. I don’t expect to attain peace of mind if my giving is motivated by ignorance. In the same I can expect to attain peace of mind if my giving is motivated by wisdom.
Thus in truth, giving is about what comes out in me rather than the gift itself. The size of my gift is irrelevant. What the person thinks will not be my business, except him or her. If I am faced with guilt in the midst of offering the gift, I can be sure it has to do with my inner motivation – ideas. Even that I can take the experience as an opportunity to understand the reason of that motivation. I will do my level best not to beat myself up as I would have understood by now that every action has an idea behind each motivation. So what is the idea that I need to recognize, to understand and to see the illusion of it? I can’t remove ideas nor try covering it up with positive thinking – it does not address my root issue. What I just need is a little patience to see every past idea as a part of nature unfolding. I cannot do better than what I have done in the past – if it has come from ignorance, I am willing to accept that the consequences will naturally bring dis-ease and guilt.
So the journey of truth is about recognizing the blocks to love presence and that is wisdom too.