Rumi said “you are the universe in ecstatic motion”. And in truth, the entire universe is in ecstatic motion. In physics we call this entropy. There is randomness and movement in every atom, every cell, every being.
Sometimes we forget about this motion. With the development of the word (and concept) of “I”, we create a distinction between ourselves and others. There is “me”, and then there is “not me”. Many (even most) of our actions are designed to protect “me” and make sure that “me” is doing better than “not me”.
This isn’t a path to happiness according to Buddhist and yogic philosophy. In these traditions, they say that we are all one. That you and me are not separate. They are interdependent. AND, when we accept this interdependence and feel this sense of one-ness with all things, we are happier.
The concept of “you vs me” is a theory of scarcity: if I take more of the pie, you get less. Buddhists follow a theory of abundance: the world is a bakery, and if I take some pie, we all make more.
This theory of abundance sounds good in theory, but it can be hard to put into practice.
When I read The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra, one of his laws helped me reframe this notion of “all are one” into a practical way of expressing this in my every day life.
Here’s what Deepak says at the beginning of the chapter on the Law of Giving and Receiving:
“The universe operates through dynamic exchange…giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.”
His law says that we are all in motion. We are constantly giving and receiving, and when we give intentionally, we receive intentionally as well.
If we accept that motion is always occurring, the logical progression is that we are always exchanging energy with others. Rather than trying to conserve our good energy and push out our bad energy, we have to give what we want to receive. If we try to poison others, we only poison ourselves.
How I put the Law of Giving and Receiving into practice:
When I walk into a meeting, a class I’m about to teach, or a hang out session with a friend, I ask what I want to receive from the encounter. Maybe I want to feel empowered, or trusted, or joyful. Whatever it is, I then set the intention of giving those energies to the people around me. In the example of meeting with a friend, if I’m going there to relax and laugh, then I have to show up in a way that helps the other person relax and laugh. I can’t wait for them to do all of the work!
When we consciously give, we start to notice all of the ways that we receive as well. One step at a time, we lessen our grip on scarcity and realize our abundant universe.