Tag Archives: giving


“The divinity in me bows to the divinity in you.”


When the meaning of the word ‘Namaste’ was first explained to me, it moved me quite profoundly. A single word defines in its entirety, the relationship of one person to every other being on earth.

It is both humbling and glorifying.  When a person bows in recognition of divinity’s presence in the other. It humbles the greeter as he glorifies the other. And yet, as the greeting is given back the greeter is in turn glorified as the other bows in recognition of divinity of the first greeter.

Think about it.  Here lies the formula of all perfect relationships. As soon as a person recognizes that divinity exists in all other beings, then he treats all beings with reverence. And by showing reverence for all others beings he expresses his own divinity that in turn commands for it, reverence.

If you have relationships you would like to improve, try bowing to the divinity in that person. When dealing with that person, try acting as you would, if you were in the presence of Divinity.  If you don’t know how you would act in the presence of divinity, then consider how you would act in the presence of someone you hold in very high esteem, where you would take pains to look good, talk well and be gracious.

As relationships get older, we often shed all these niceties and begin acting more like our “normal self”.  This in itself is not bad.  You know you have a really good relationship when you can be yourself without being judged. You are accepted and loved as you are, both the good side and the bad. This only becomes harmful to a relationship when we begin to believe that this is what we are entitled to, that this is what the other person owes us.

If we have this ‘entitlement’ mindset in a relationship, we demand love and respect unconditionally from the other, without feeling any duty to reciprocate.

“I am your husband, you must respect my wishes.”

“I am your father, you must obey me.”

“I am your boss, do as I say.”

“Shut up and listen to me.”

We all have had, at some point, to put up with this. Yet deep inside, we all recognize this oppression that we know we are not meant to accept. And somehow we feel a deep and painful injustice when we allow ourselves to endure it.  Even young children instinctively sense this violation, and react against the oppressiveness.

The fundamental flaw in this thinking is this: Love and respect can never be demanded from anyone.  It can only be given as a willing gift to another. The wonderful paradox is that the more you give love and respect, the more love and respect comes back to you.  The more you demand it from others the less you feel you have of it. You can shout, insult, threaten or coerce people into submission but none of this will guarantee their love  or respect.

In the end it is the giver who decides to give and no matter how entitled you believe you are to the love and respect of others, you cannot ever make anyone love or respect you. And so it goes, if you bow to the divinity in others, that is, you recognize that they are deserving of your love, respect and reverence, then it is the divinity in you bowing to the divinity in the other.

If we all took seriously to heart the wisdom behind the greeting ‘Namaste’, we would all be living in perfect harmony, divine with divine no one the lesser.


Stone Soup

Stone Soup
Stone Soup

The story of Stone Soup has many versions. This is one of them.

Once upon a time, somewhere in post-war Eastern Europe, there was a great famine in which people jealously hoarded whatever food they could find, hiding it even from their friends and neighbors. One day a wandering soldier came into a village and began asking questions as if he planned to stay for the night.

“There’s not a bite to eat in the whole province,” he was told. “Better keep moving on.”

“Oh, I have everything I need,” he said. “In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you.” He pulled an iron cauldron from his wagon, filled it with water, and built a fire under it. Then, with great ceremony, he drew an ordinary-looking stone from a velvet bag and dropped it into the water.

By now, hearing the rumour of food, most of the villagers had come to the square or watched from their windows. As the soldier sniffed the “broth” and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their scepticism.

“Ahh,” the soldier said to himself rather loudly, “I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage — that’s hard to beat.”

Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a cabbage he’d retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot. “Capital!” cried the soldier. “You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king.”

The village butcher managed to find some salt beef . . . and so it went, through potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was indeed a delicious meal for all. The villagers offered the soldier a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell and travelled on the next day.

I love this story because it very simply illustrates the contrasts between two opposing mindsets, one of poverty and one of abundance.

The poverty mindset presupposes a pervasive lack.  The thinking is there isn’t enough to go around; that the more other people get the less there will be for everyone else. This mentality drives people into greed, hoarding, stinginess and ultimately poverty. They always make it a point to take way more than they need and give way less than they can. This was the villager’s way of life.

The abundance mindset on the other hand presupposes a flow of bounty; that there will always be enough for everyone at the time that it’s needed. People who subscribe to this mindset are quite comfortable giving freely.  They take only what they need and leave plenty for others. They share whatever is there confident that tomorrow more will come. There will always be enough for everyone.  This was the soldier’s thinking.

Ironically, even after witnessing the miracle of sharing, the villagers still fail to get it. They try to acquire the stone thinking that is what will make them wealthy.

It is pretty hard to wrap your mind around the concept of plenty when you feel you want for so much. But really, we have everything we need. Even more radically, we can have everything we want.  I personally find, that the more I struggle to break away from this crippling fear of lack, the wealthier I get. Doors open for me in ways I could not have imagined; in way so simple and elegant, it blows my mind.

Let me plant a tiny seed in your mind, hoping you will allow it to grow.  When things get really scarce for you, tell yourself: “I have everything I need. I can have everything I want.” Now allow yourself to have it.

Steve Jobs on Taking and Giving

“You know, we don’t grow most of the food we eat. We wear clothes other people make. We speak a language that other people developed. We use a mathematics that other people evolved… I mean, we’re constantly taking things. It’s a wonderful, ecstatic feeling to create something that puts it back in the pool of human experience and knowledge.”

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs