• 12.10.2015

Art of Receiving by Sujay Seshadri

Every time I meet someone who is stressed and has pushed themselves to the brink of a burnout, I am looking at a person who has given too much but has hardly received. As a child it was always so comforting for us to feel nourished, protected and taken care of and all that we had to do was to just receive everything that was coming from our parents or whoever took their place for us. However, as we grow up we soon learn that we need to give in order to receive. Giving could manifest in the form of pleasing, becoming good enough, controlling and seeking perfection (not wanting to make mistakes) etc... We could become so occupied in this ‘giving’ process that we sometimes forget why we started giving in the first place.

An awareness of this need to receive is where the ‘art of receiving’ begins. Some of us might feel uncomfortable that our hearts are hungry for attention, appreciation, love and support and could even deny that these needs exist since it makes us look very vulnerable and fragile in the eyes of others. One of the reasons some people decide against getting very close with other people is because we are afraid we might show them our desperation for their love and support and hence expose our inner selves to them.

In this way we are living in a society where our needs are masked and hidden; love and care are expressed through structured and defined relationships and what comes along are the duties and responsibilities attached to the roles we need to play. Relationships are more about following these rules we have created and fulfilling the duties is the priority. When relationships too become a place where we are pushing ourselves to give and that too has become another duty or work, our stress levels reach the limit. I am not against fulfilling the responsibility or even against giving but, is it truly sustainable for us to keep pushing and giving without learning to receive?

A simple feeling of ‘gratitude’ can shift our whole perception and break this habit of giving by making us receive feelings our heart has been thirsty for. When people ask me ‘is there a meditation where I don’t have to concentrate or try to sit quietly?’ or ‘is there an easy way to being happy and open my heart?’, my first thought always has been the ‘gratitude’ meditation.

When I acknowledge to myself that people have shown love, care and support all my life even through tough times, through unexpected sources, we would realize how much we are looking for love and support with a very narrow outlook. It’s an expectation that love and care should come to us only from this particular person and that too only in this particular way, and help and support should come to us only in the form I am looking for.

‘Gratitude’ is all about going beyond our agendas, plans and expectations to a place where we are open to appreciating the help, care and support no matter in what form or which person or what way it is being expressed to us. We no more see it as somebody’s duty or responsibility even if it is as small as ‘he cooked food for me’, ‘she opened the door for me’ or even just ‘smiled and made me feel good’ thereby accepting that care and support shown towards us. When we appreciate the little acts of love, care and support and express gratitude with a heartfelt “Thank you” with our nervous system joining along with our facial muscles. A good smile as if this person or the situation is right in front of us is all that it takes to learn to receive again.

The more we let ourselves feel gratitude the more we find ourselves living in a nurturing world where survival is not the only agenda and there is never a day or a moment when somebody or something is not nurturing us. It could be people around us, situations or things we have or even nature. Every time we express gratitude we receive Love into our hearts. When this habit of feeling gratitude is done in the night, I have seen people getting better rest and not only that, they wake up with a sense of greater appreciation of people and relationships. They begin to open themselves in seeing the way help and support is reaching them today. This means that they are more open to seeing opportunities and solutions rather than focus on their problems. The more we consciously learn the ‘Art of receiving’ i.e. feeling ‘gratitude’, giving is no more a stressful habit but a spontaneous act of sharing Love.
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