Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Power of Giving

Giving impacts our lives in many ways, all of it positive, the most important being that it adds value both to our life and to the one who receives from us. But this positive impact happens only when we give selflessly, without any expectation. Quite often, we carry the burden of expectation even in our giving. We often feel terrible when a friend to whom we have given a gift, forgets our birthday. We expect to be remembered because we have given. This expectation negates the effect of giving, and affects our future relationship with this friend. This is not practcing 'giving' in the way it should be practiced.

An incident Subroto Bagchi (CEO Mindtree) writes about his mother illustrates wholehearted giving beautifully. Bagchi writes of how his mother after finishing her household chores for her big family, would, equipped only with kitchen implements, work very hard to create a garden in the small patch of land in the government quarters where they were housed. It did not bother her that she would not be around to enjoy the benefit of her hard labour or see the flowering plants, for by then they would have moved house. For her the joy was in creating a beautiful environment and giving of herself with zero expectation.

Such joyous giving does not come easy to most of us and has to be practiced. Giving has to become a way of life and those who don't recognise its inherent presence in their lives, must learn to do so. One of the ways to do this is to think less about our feelings and ourselves and more about others: praise your co-worker, give up a seat for the tired person in the bus, smile at the man selling pens in the local train, share a cup of tea with the household help, help the kids kick a ball, leave the public toilet clean for the next person, cook your partner's favourite meal. Numerous are the ways in which we learn to give and the result would be the same : to enrich our lives and to turn us into more contented individuals. When we practice 'giving' consciously and constantly, we will reach that stage of giving where we give totally of ourselves with no expectations and like Subroto Bagchi's mother we would be able to embrace death courageously in the satisfaction of having lived a full and fulfilled life. Let us "Go Kiss the World".

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