Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Second Week Naikan Part Two

Well, today's reflection is on "What Have I Given Today?"

I must say, that while I did not and cannot give as much as I receive (after all, there is only one of me and myriads of beings I receive from!) I was pleasantly surprised to find that I gave quite freely -- at least today!

1. I fed the chickens, the cats, and the baby today.
2. I taught a class at Tucson Yoga.
3. I tipped the barista at Epic.
4. I gave $1.00 to a homeless man on 4th Ave.
5. I did my parents' laundry.
6. I bought a pizza for two friends who came over our house for a spontaneous 'hang-out.'
7. I bought Giovanna a little swing-chair.
8. I sent a check to one of my favorite charities.

Remember, in contemplating and reviewing what we give, the motivation is irrelevant. Of  course the barista is expected to be tipped in our society. That doesn't change the fact that I gave it to her, and that's all that's necessary to qualify as "something I gave today."

How'd you all do?

poep sa frank jude


  1. 1. I bought a bottle of Chinese linament at the herb store for my husband's ankle injury.
    2. I was able to succesfully help several customers at the co-op where I work.
    3. I noticed that the lady who works at the herb store looked good and I told her so.
    4. I stood and admired the 18-month old son of one of our customers as he tried to pick up every package and jar on the co-op shelves. I don't think that his parents thought it was as cute as I did!
    5. I accompanied my mother to one of our city offices where she had business to transact.

    As I wrote this, I began to realize how much of giving is receiving.

  2. Judith,

    Your final statement opens the door to the wonderful teaching of 'dana-paramita' or the 'perfection of generosity.' When we really look into this whole notion of 'giving and receiving' we see that there is no absolute, real distinction. When we seem to give something to someone, what we overlook is that THEY have given us the opportunity to give; to open our hearts. So ultimately, who gives? Who receives? In 'prefect giving' there is no giver, no receiver, and.... no gift!

  3. One thing that I have noticed from this practice is that in reviewing my day I am much more willing to credit others for what they have given me than for what I may have given them. For instance, I'm very quick to acknowledge that a lunch companion gifted me with time and friendship, but it is difficult for me to acknowledge that I have done the same thing for my companion! Am I fundamentally selfish for being more aware of what I am receiving? Or am I fundamentally self-less for not appreciating the impact I have on others. It's probably both at the same time!

  4. Another thing I've noticed about this practice is that knowing I will practice later has actually affected my behavior. Last week I consciously let somebody into traffic specifically because I knew I had to review what I had given to others at the end of the day! Now, I often let people into traffic anyway. But at this particular time I know I was more aware of the possibility of doing a kindness for someone else precisely because I had to review my actions later in the day!

  5. Dee,

    It seems like you've generated your own like koan! I think reflecting -- and coming to acknowledge YOUR generosity may both create a more balanced view and perhaps connect you to the (potential) joy of giving so that you'll be moved to give more!

    Your second post suggests to me that as the word "sati," usually translated as "mindfulness" really means remembering,' that knowing there is a 'remembering' scheduled as part of a practice us itself enough to change our behavior.

    And that's what practice is all about!