This morning, after a sweaty workout, my trainer gave to me … a festive paper bag containing what looked like a Christmas gift. Before I could say “gosh”, my thoughts went to I should have brought her a present and Maybe I’m off the hook because I live a monk’s life. My ego-centred mind reacted with a deeply ingrained habit where gifts are part of a tit-for-tat transaction.
Returning home, I found the second envelope in as many days containing an artful card hinting at Christmas wishes — without an inscription to say who’d sent either one. Could it be that someone’s teaching me about receiving expressions of kindness regardless of the sender’s identity?
Following last night’s meditation we again passed gifts to each other: little packages I’d wrapped beforehand so that neither giver nor receiver would know their contents. One person who’d been a recipient on Monday told us that she’d given hers to someone who was unable to attend. In response, the person opposite burst out: “Now I feel guilty.” Asked what that was about, he explained that he’d just imagined unwrapping his gift and now felt bad for being so selfish.
There’s a line in a Zen meal blessing that speaks of “the emptiness of the three wheels: giver, receiver, and gift.” By themselves all three are just as they are — until our conditioned minds come along to burden them with psycho-baggage.
May your gift-giving and receiving be free from add-ons.
May your heart be filled with joy and gratitude.