There’s a wonderful parable told of Buddha and the gift of anger, I found a wonderful version of it below.
“The brahman Bharadvaja, it seems, has become a monk under the Great Monk Gotama.” Angry and unhappy, he went to where the Blessed One was. Having approached the Blessed One, he abused and criticized the Blessed One in foul and harsh words. Thus reviled, the Blessed One spoke to the brahman Akkosa Bharadvaja: ‘Well, brahman, do friends, confidants, relatives, kinsmen and guests visit you?””Yes, Gotama, sometimes friends, confidants, relatives, kinsmen and guests do visit me.””Well, brahman, do you not offer them snacks or food or titbits?””Yes, Gotama, sometimes I do offer them snacks or food or titbits.””But if, brahman, they do not accept it, who gets it?””If Gotama, they do not accept it, I get it back.””Even so, brahman, you are abusing us who do not abuse, you are angry with us who do not get angry, you are quarrelling with us who do not quarrel. All this of yours we don’t accept. You alone, brahman, get it back; all this, brahman, belongs to you.”When, brahman, one abuses back when abused, repays anger in kind, and quarrels back when quarrelled with, this is called, brahman, associating with each other and exchanging mutually. This association and mutual exchange we do not engage in. Therefore, you alone, brahman, get it back; all this, brahman, belongs to you.” (translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita
This wonderful story can be applied to many and all situations when interacting with others. I say this because all interactions involve an exchange of energy in some form. We make choices constantly throughout the day to either receive the energy offered or not. The energy may be in the form of money, muffins, a cup of tea, a compliment, an abusive comment, a judgemental gaze, or perhaps the personal drama of a friend. All these things (to name but a few) are the same. They are composed of energy and in its purest form, energy has no agenda, no defining features, it is neither good nor bad. It just is.
Imagine a scenario you’ve experienced when someone complimented your beautiful eyes, or your hair, or perhaps a jacket you were wearing. What was your response? Did you reject the compliment and offer a counter argument as to why they are wrong in believing your eyes to be beautiful? Did you make their offering smaller by saying your hair isn’t usually so shiny? Did you belittle the jacket by explaining that is was cheap and from the second-hand shop down the street? Now look at another situation, someone is angry at you because you failed to meet their expectations in some way. They criticise you and comment in an angry tone towards you. How do you react in this case? Most of us react to this type of interaction in one of two ways; either by becoming physically smaller and quieter, or you may become larger and louder – either way we are accepting the criticisms and are then diminished by them. In both situations we have chosen to receive the criticisms, they have become part of us, so we can now offer them back in kind. This is how an argument manifests, it’s like a tennis match of send and receive, send and receive.
In the first instance, we were offered a compliment. For some reason we are hard-wired to reject compliments but to accept and receive criticisms. We somehow believe that if we say ‘yes thank you, I love my hair also’ that we are being vain and that’s just not so. We may feel we must quickly offer them a compliment in kind, but this is in effect ‘mirroring’ their gift back and is a cunning way to not fully receive the gift offered to you by them. It’s like letting someone buy you a coffee and immediately reimbursing them for it. By fully receiving and accepting a compliment, we are receiving the gift offered by the other person, we are in turn helping them to feel good about themselves for offering the gift. By rejecting it, we take away the other person’s opportunity to be kind – so you see, when you receive gratefully and with an open heart, you are also giving. Don’t forget this applies to money and muffins too.
Some people don’t want to be ‘indebted’ to another person, they feel it as an imbalance within their energy field that must be addressed, these are people that haven’t learnt how to energetically replenish themselves, so they believe that if they receive from another without giving back in equal measure (not more or less, they are usually very clear on the balance of the exchange) that they then diminished as they have a debt in their energetic field. We must be able to be kind to ourselves before we can truly be honestly and unconditionally kind to others. To do this you must cultivate an open heart, to truly receive a genuine gift from yourself or another you must be able to be vulnerable and open. This takes practice. Firstly, you must learn to receive from yourself. It sounds impossible that you could offer yourself a gift because to be able to offer it you must have it in the first place. So, it takes practice. By this I mean you must recognise your true Self as being more than… more than what? Just more… Do some mirror-work (thank you Louise Hay), try listening to your ‘self-talk’ and pull yourself up when you start to receive your own criticisms – exchange them for ‘self-compliments’ – it might feel odd at first but – it takes practice. So, you see we are most comfortable receiving our own criticisms as truths than we are receiving a ‘self-kindness’, keeping this in mind and referring back to the impossibility of giving ourselves a gift because we must ‘have it in the first place’ – how can we give a truly heart felt gift to ourselves or another if all we put inside is poisonous self-talk? Similarly, we can’t give Light if all we allow ourselves to receive is darkness.
As Wayne Dyer used to say:
“When you squeeze an orange, you’ll always get orange juice to come out. What comes out is what’s inside. The same logic applies to you: when someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, or says something unflattering or critical, and out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, tension, depression, or anxiety, that is what’s inside. If love and joy are what you want to give and receive, change your life by changing what’s inside.”
The third Reiki Precept is ‘Be Grateful’ and I’ve discussed this in a past blog (The Reiki Precepts, a Path to Awakening…) “Gratitude – True Gratitude – is opening our hearts to receive. This is hard for most of us, we don’t feel ‘deserving’ enough or we only feel comfortable ‘giving’ to please others” – we don’t always equate ‘giving’ with ‘receiving’, but they’re just two sides of the same proverbial coin. The coin can’t exist without it having both sides, likewise we can’t truly ‘give’ if we can’t fully ‘receive’ and as we discussed earlier – when we receive with Grace and an open heart we are also giving, for in their purest form they are actually one and the same.
The lesson seems simple enough, but it often takes us a lifetime to learn, it doesn’t have to. But it’s okay if it does. If you’re a parent how do you teach your kids this lesson? Do you teach them to share more? To give a cherished toy away to a child more in need? To love themselves in a healthy and nourished way? Who knows, I’m not a parent (unless you count fur-kids) but I can tell you that a child learns the most valuable lessons through observation. So, the most likely way of bringing up an individual who will be able to give and receive Light with an easy Grace is to do it yourself – so that they can experience the energy in those they most love and emulate, their parents.
Now I leave you with this:
You are a beautiful being of Divine Light, you therefore are a beautiful Being. Full Stop.
I’d offer you a basket of muffins at this point if I was able… Would you receive them with Grace?