Whoa, I’m really going into blogging overdrive mode! I’ve been writing blog posts every day for a few days in a row now! It’s quite satisfying, actually. And I’m getting a better sense of just how long it takes to write a blog post (around 1.5 hours, more if Beth and I do any editing before submission.)
Anyway, Bethwyn recently sent me an email which she thought she could work on applying more to her own life. The author, SARK, is a brilliant and inspirational woman, and I found this article to inspire me too. It reminds me of a story I heard about the Dalai Lama…
There was a reporter who followed the Dalai Lama around for several months, trying to get a sense of the man and record some of his most important lessons. He was surprised to observe that, wherever the Dalai Lama went, people would give their belongings to him. He was even more surprised to see that the Dalai Lama took them, even when he had no use for worldly possessions. One day, in a small, poor village, an elderly woman came up to him and offered him a plain brown skirt that had seen some wear, yet was in better condition than most of the other clothes she currently had on her. The Dalai Lama accepted it with a smile, and the reporter snapped, unable to tolerate this selfish greed any longer. “Why are you accepting goods from people who clearly need them more than you? That woman is obviously giving her best clothes to you, and besides, it’s a skirt- you can’t even wear it! ” The Dalai Lama paused for a few seconds saying nothing, and as the silence drew on the reporter heard the echoes of his words. He felt ashamed at his outburst, and that he had spoken out of anger. Then the Dalai Lama said “You’re quite right. I was planning on taking the skirt to another village and giving it to someone else who needed it. But that woman needed to give me her skirt more than she needed to wear it.”
It is such a kind act to allow others to practice kindness!
Many people- including me- value their “independence” highly and just never want to “be a burden” to anyone. We fear dependence and haven’t learned to develop interdependence.
Most people wait until they’re really ill, old or incontinent before practicing receiving. While these are all great times to practice receiving, it leaves out a whole lot of experiences earlier, in the middle, along the way, and denies
other people opportunities to be generous.
I began my true receiving practice by noticing when there were opportunities for people to give to me, and accepting it-without conditions.
This is more challenging than it appears. Especially the “without conditions” part.
My younger brother was visiting with his wife and some people were coming to visit us, and he offered to make eggs.
I said, “Great, thanks!”
He asked if there was a special way I wanted him to make the eggs and I hesitated before answering and then remembered my updated receiving practice and said,
“Whatever way you make them is great.”
He looked very surprised and began making the eggs. I was reading the paper and periodically looked up at him while he was cooking. I noticed that the egg mixture was spilling over the edges of the pan and burning on to the stove. I noticed that he probably hadn’t used enough eggs for the amount of people coming…. Then I stopped noticing and just read the paper.
The next time I looked up, I saw that a paper bag had caught on fire and was floating through the air in flames! And I could tell that he hadn’t yet seen this.
So I just calmly said,
And resumed reading my paper.
He gasped in shock and shouted,
“Oh my god, fire!!!”
And quickly put it out.
Then he looked at me to see my reaction and I looked up and said,
“When will the eggs be done?”
I felt that I’d graduated to a new level of receiving, and so did he.
One tiny action for you is to notice new opportunities to practice receiving and ask yourself:
How could I practice receiving differently, without conditions?
Susan (aka SARK)
My Great Life Letter is beautifully published by