If someone were to greet you with this, how would you feel? How would you respond? This happened to me not long ago, and I was surprised at how utterly embarrassed this loving, lovely greeting made me feel. Embarrassed! Like, shame! Of course, my journey into mindfulness demanded analysis of this response. It took weeks. And it led to a major breakthrough for which I will forever be oh so grateful. So, I want to share.
Looking at the common behavior patterns throughout my adult life, I came to realize that the Art of Receiving was not something I had mastered. Not even close! In fact, I had developed subtle strategies to figuratively and literally (and immediately) slam the door on any goodness that tried to make its way to my heart. Seriously, I’ve even become one of those people who asks that my birthday not be “a big deal.” No presents. No parties. Who turns their back on celebrating their very existence?! Something needed to change, and fast.
When we look at aparigraha, we see TWO open hands. This means we graciously receive what comes, good and bad. Our souls are not here only to learn valuable lessons from challenging situations; life also serves up a heck of a lot of goodness, and we are here to experience that, too! Anita Moorjani, author of Dying to Be Me, says that when she is asked what the purpose of life is, why a soul would choose to manifest in the physical, she answers “why, chocolate, of course!” Whatever your personal belief about life and death and life, her sentiment can ring true. We are here to experience life, all of it.
It's vital that we see how much we hurt ourselves when we refuse to receive. We’ve got to fill up, in order not to become completely depleted, both physically and emotionally. Receiving not only fills our heart, but it allows another to feel the joy of giving. When we constantly give and then turn around and block our own receiving, feelings of resentment are pretty much a given. It’s just the way it goes. We are meant to receive. Period.
Learning to receive can be a long and winding road. We may stumble off course, but we need to keep walking. With a little mindfulness, we can see where we are closing our hand to goodness meant for us. The very starting point to receiving is knowing our own inherent worth. To earn is not the same as to receive. This false belief sets us up to refuse to receive, or to have to “pay back” in some way what has been given to us. Such a habit negates the entire process of giving and receiving.
My starting point to receiving was to give more to myself, because I am worthy of good things. I asked what I wanted to eat, if I wanted to sleep, if sitting on the porch watching the hummingbirds would feel good to my heart. These were the little steps I could take, and they have turned in to bigger steps in a short amount of time.
The more good things that showed up along my path, the more I encouraged myself to receive. A tip from a good friend has made a huge difference. Now, when in the position to receive, I say to God, “Yes! Thank you. This and more.”
There is a lot that goes into being human, isn’t there? The Art of Receiving isn’t a challenge for everyone, but it is for a lot of us. With work, and love, we can overcome the limiting beliefs that keep us from all the goodness that just wants to be ours.