My wife and I took friends from out of town to Target. The women were in power shopping mold. Mindful of the giving experiment I strolled around ready to give be it a smile, compliment, aid, or even a pause to let someone in a rush be on their way, when I found myself wondering what I was going to do to pass the time.
How quickly my thoughts had turned to myself. Not that thinking about what to do with myself is necessarily bad, but it’s not the same as maintaining thoughtful engagement with the world. It amazed me the way a normal thought like that could be a form of self-absorption. It got me thinking about other normal ways of thinking that could lead to self-absorption.
I could have just as easily thought of work, which would seem like an act of productivity rather than avoidance, but it would have been avoidance. How often did I use work as a way to avoid an uncomfortable situation or conversation? That question led to the question; how often has my mind wandered instead of being present to what was happening before me? Focusing on giving made me realize how evasive my mind could be to the present moment.
“Remember to give every person more than you take.” – Earl Nightingale
Barnes and Noble was having a book drive to give children in need books for Christmas. To further offset the negative feeling about the ten dollars received for the books I sold I took out the ten dollars and donated a book to the drive. The cashier, a normally somber looking dude was surprised and delighted. His face light up beyond what I had previously thought possible. I walked away feeling warm.
At the market the familiar ring of the Salvation Army bell sounded as the man ringing it sang a Christmas carol. After shopping I dropped five dollars in the red donation pot. I didn’t really have the money to spare, but wanted to reinforce a feeling of abundance. Slipping the money into the pot the man stood up and bowed as he thanked me with his singsong voice. I felt blessed as a peacefulness washed away all anxiety. Instead of spending five dollars on a latte, I received priceless peace.
Driving home I reflected on the way giving had been much more satisfying than buying something for myself. The selling of books and returning of things was inspired by an episode on the School of Greatness podcast on minimalism. I started the day intending to remove things from my environment I no love ne’er valued, and ended excited about the change giving brings to life. From today till Christmas I’m challenging myself to focus my thoughts and actions everyday on giving.
Place your attention on your center four finger widths directly below your belly button and take slow deep breaths for 5 minutes. As you breathe notice any pain or tension in your body.
For the next 5 minutes inhale shifting your attention to the center of the earth and as you exhale return your attention to your center.
For 10 minutes continue being mindful of the center of the earth as you inhale, as you exhale feel, sense, or see your breath move from your center to your heart center and out of your hands.
If you wish you may intend the energy going from your center to your heart and from your heart to the world. Shine like the sun.
If you notice any pain or tension in your body as you breathe send the energy from your heart to the tension, not to force it to go away, but to offer it nurturing and love. The pain or tension may communicate to you so just be open.
If you notice a blockage in your heart center simply let the energy from the earth flow allowing the blockage to be cleared like water clearing a ditch.
After 10 minutes continue placing your attention on the earths center but as you exhale shift your attention toward heaven. Simply intend touching heaven as you exhale.
As you breathe offer heaven all of your pain, stress, tension, worries, anxieties, and fears. As you inhale feel the love and support of Mother Earth and heaven fill you. Receive blessings and the gift of life. Continue to send energy to your tension and pain.
For 1-5 minutes return to being mindful of the center of the earth as you inhale and your center as you exhale. When you are ready come out of the meditation.