The famous comedian Garry Shandling, who found solace in Buddhism in his late years, wrote to his journal;
Give more, give what you didn’t get. Love more, drop the old story.
In Buddhism, there is a concept called “Kingly or queenly giving”, which means one gives to someone without expecting in return. Because to be honest, even though I always tried to give other people, and told myself that “Oh I don’t expect in return” my ego was always waiting to receive. The ego can be like an accountant who is doing all these calculations in its head. “Oh I gave him this and this, but he didn’t give me anything” or “I made her this and this but I couldn’t get anything”
And when I didn’t get anything in return, I got upset, and I sulked.
The ego can also be like a parrot, repeating the same story over and over. And don’t we all love repeating this same old story over and over again?
We keep repeating, repeating, to the point where we get bombarded by all these questions which consume us. Questions such as “But why do I need to give? Why do I never receive?”
These are the exact same questions I used to ask as a kid when my mom forced me to share my toys with other kids. But the reality is, as an adult, clinging tightly these stories just makes me feel heavy. It feels like I am in a nightmare that I can’t wake up.
However, when I manage to take a moment to notice these stories and curiously inquire into the emotions behind them, which is often connected to my inner child feeling disappointed or sad, showing self-love becomes the key to waking up and moving towards freedom.
And the truth is I feel much lighter and happier when I drop the old story, when I give what I didn’t get. So now I know that if I want people to smile at me, I smile at them. If I want people to acknowledge me, to tell me a nice word, I compliment them.
Consider this: what would the one action you can take this week that can help you to cultivate giving and drop the old story?