When you think of different types of giving, what comes to mind? Do you think of giving money or your time or an item of some kind?

The most popular types of giving – money, time, and resources – are only a few of the ways you can provide to help others, yourself, and the planet.  No doubt, such generosity is vital to promote worthy causes, alleviate suffering, and fuel action that makes the world, and your corner of the world, a better place. But they only paint part of the picture.

In addition, there are many other types of giving that benefit you and others when done with intention and a positive attitude.

The paradox of giving

The thought of giving more than token amounts of our possessions or time brings up negative and positive connotations for people. It may feel like resistance, an energy drain. Just one more thing “I have to do” that I don’t want to do.  Marketers understand this reluctance. They know that to get, they have first to give you something you like. In exchange for your email address, money, or attention, they give you a video or special report about relationships, money, and weight loss. It is called “What’s in it for me?”

Give, and you shall receive. Good for good. Evil for evil. That is the paradox of giving all kinds of gifts. It is a spiritual principle shared by many faiths. Some call its cumulative effects karma. The more incredible your generosity from the heart, the more you receive. Maybe not right away or but you do receive. Your immediate return on a heartfelt gift is a feeling of satisfaction, happiness, and interpersonal connection.

Spiritual Teachings about Giving and Receiving

Here are a few samples of spiritual teachings related to all giving types.

The Buddhist dana paramita teaches the perfection of giving with pure motivation to self-transcendence and enlightenment.

The Hindu Bhagavadgita (17:20-22) speaks of different gifts:

  • Gifts bestowed without any expectation of appreciation or reward. This virtual gift benefits both the giver and receiver and encompasses the following two giving types.
  • Performing one’s religious duty, or dharma, toward family, society, and all living beings.
  • Providing food first to one’s family and then to those beyond the family. This is also one’s dharma.

The Jewish Torah teaches that those who have the means to give to the charity above the required ten percent should do so, not from ego, but as part of their duty toward those in need.

New Testament Christian Scriptures tell us that what we give, what we do, how we treat others always comes back to us. Giving is a reminder to give good gifts, gifts we would want for ourselves:

  • “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
  • “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

The virtue of generosity and its effects on both giver and receiver in the present and future moments are shared across religions worldwide. Giving isn’t spiritual woo-woo. Plenty of science proves the benefits of all types of giving.

Quoted by Deepak Chopra- Giving and receiving are different expressions of the same energy flow in the universe.


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