One of the greatest gifts that any person can give to another is simply to be fully present, in a spirit of relaxed and attentive openness.
The fact is that we aren’t very often present to one another in this way. Instead, we are – in the words of T.S. Eliot – ‘distracted from distraction by distraction.’ It is especially easy at this time of the year to be caught up in a rush of frenzied activity. Being present, therefore, requires some extra effort, some spiritual discipline.
I don’t know if it is more blessed to give than to receive, but I do know that in order truly to give, one must first be open to receiving. When we try to give of ourselves without a deep sense of connection to our own spiritual wellsprings, we soon deplete our resources, and we may begin to feel resentful, depressed, and cynical about the very possibility of self-giving. As we become more willing to open ourselves to the richness and depth of each present moment, we begin to embody and express the spirit of generosity.
Then we can offer our gift from a place of overflowing gratitude, rather than a desperate attempt to purchase affection and love.
First, open the ‘present’ that has already been given to you, and then extend yourself into the world, reaching out from that soulful place that can never be exhausted. This holiday season, offer the simple and beautiful gift of your personal presence.
In good faith,