I recently met a a very kind man, Dr Chuck Wall, a retired professor and our local motivational speaker. He has been on Oprah and invited by Presidents to the White House on several occasions. Out of his kindness, he is helping me improve my public speaking skills for free. He is blind but is living a full life. I have a great time with him – we go walking, we go for lunches, we spend many valuable and enjoyable hours together in which I always learn something.
His main motto in life, which I see him live by, seems to be: ‘Do one random act of kindness, every day’ I have modified his to make a motto of my own: ‘Do one random act of giving, be it money, or time, or goods – every day’. Since I started this, it has brought me tremendous joy and inner peace and the best part is that: the more I give, the more everything shows up – the teachers, circumstances, even money! It’s as if there’s an intelligent Universe that seems to say ‘Keep it up, my son!”
But beyond the seemingly random good fortune one receives when one gives, there are known medical benefits of giving that have been studied: it can, in fact, make a person heal faster for it increases the good hormones like DHEA, Prolactine, and others – and brings down the catabolic (breakdown) hormones like cortisol and epeinephrine. Let me tell you, my friends – believe it or not – giving is the best anti-aging therapy and anti-depressant there is!
I am sharing this not for my ego, but so that somebody else can also experience the “Joy of Random Giving”. The wise Indian sage, Ramakrishna said that when one donates with the right hand, the left hand should not know of it or how much – let there be no attachment or intellectualization or vanity derived from the act of giving. Simply give. And be done. So I had doubts to write or not this blog. But it is the joy I get of sharing this experience of giving, is the reason I am writing my experiences – perhaps someone reading this will also be motivated to give.
Going back to the medically associated benefits of giving – it has been shown as ‘Teleomeres’ length in people who give and who live with an attitude of gratitude - their lifespan is much longer then otherwise.
Lao Tuz said, “By serving you, I serve myself.”
A great saint of India Ramakrishna said, “We serve Shiva(god) by serving Jiva (individual soul).”
Deepak Chorpa also talks about it in his now famous “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” when he refers to ‘The Law of Giving’. This law could also be called the Law of Giving and Receiving, because the universe operates through dynamic exchange. The flow of life is nothing other than the harmonious interaction of all the elements and forces that structure the field of existence.
Let me share with you a list of the last six days of random giving – perhaps you will want to experiment on your own:
- I was crossing a street in Santa Monica. The person next me was carrying a can and a collection bag. He did not ask for anything but I gave him $10. He was surprised but very thankful and I was equally joyful with his surprised expression.
- At the Starbucks drive-through, I paid for the person behind me too. Just imagining what the reaction of that person would be brought great joy to me. Who was he? Did I know him ? And yet I was able to connect with him!
- In a grocery line, a man ahead was looking for change in his pockets and was short of money, so much so that he was going to return an item. I told the cashier to just put it on my bill/check. He was very thankful – and so was I very thankful to have been able to support this man.
- Today, I found myself very upset at my assistant; my old self would have fired her, but then a thought came me, why not choose to make this my “random act of giving” for today? And all anger disappeared and I felt at peace and relaxed. My stress disappeared as if by magic. I felt gratitude and appreciation for the hard work she does otherwise.
- Yesterday I consulted a spiritual mentor and she asked me for $30 for her time but I actually gave her $50. This is what she wrote back: “All is well – in Guru’s grace.”
- I recently blogged about seeing the Divine Mother in every woman, from a CEO to a sex worker:
After seeing my friends dedication, on my own I decided to donate $500 to her to help teach yoga to sex workers. This is what she wrote back:
“Thank you so much for your generous offer of donation for courage to rise. I was just needing to send $500 to the sex workers organization in Calcutta who I work with to provide the women yoga.”
So friends, my mantra is “Do one random act of giving every day”.
This giving is Seva – service with gratitude – and it is proven way to reduce stress, depression and help the body heal.
It is my personal favorite prescription for an anti-depressant for the day. Every day.