Awaken to Your True Gift
In the spirit of the holiday season and its rich tradition of storytelling, this month I’d like to share an archetypal tale about a monk and a thief. Many variations of this story exist in the Eastern wisdom traditions, and according to this particular version, there once was a monk who was traveling by himself and teaching the dharma in the villages along his path. One day as he made his way through a forest, he came upon a large clearing and sat down beneath a tree to rest in the shade.
Just as the monk opened his sack to take out some food, a thief happened to pass by and noticed that the sack also contained an enormous diamond. The thief followed the monk for many hours, looking for an opportune moment. As dusk fell, the thief hid himself in the trees, waiting for the monk to come by so that he could pounce on him and steal the diamond. When the monk approached and the thief leaped out, the monk calmly asked him what he wanted. “The diamond you’re carrying in your bag,” the thief replied.
“You followed me all this way just for that?” the monk asked. “All right, please take it then,” he said, freely holding out the jewel.
The thief eagerly snatched up the diamond and hurried away. He hadn’t gone far when he looked back to make sure the monk wasn’t coming after him. What he saw stunned him. The monk was sitting cross-legged under the stars, meditating peacefully with a look of complete bliss on his face. The thief had a moment of transformation and went running back to the monk. “Please,” he begged the monk, “teach me whatever it is you know that allows you to give so freely and be so happy.”
This ancient tale is a beautiful illustration of giving, receiving, and true generosity. When, like the monk, we know that the source of happiness, energy, abundance, peace, and wellbeing doesn’t lie in anything outside of ourselves but is our essential nature, we can become generous of spirit. We realize that giving and receiving are different forms of the same energy, and our spirit overflows.
Instead of chasing or grasping for the symbols of abundance, we let go of struggle and enter the flow of life. We understand that the more we give and the more we open to receive, the more we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our life. And as we awaken to our infinite, unbounded nature, we can be generous at every level of life – including not only material gifts or money, but also the gifts of our attention, appreciation, affection, joy, kindness, and acceptance.
In this final month of 2012, I encourage you to take some time to become still and reflect on all the gifts that you have received this year, as well as to consider how you want to give and serve in the year to come. Please also enjoy this guided meditation on the spiritual Law of Giving and Receiving from the Chopra Center’s most recent 21-Day Meditation Challenge: Creating Abundance.
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When we look deep within the silence of our heart, we feel our shared existence with humanity and experience a natural desire to give, receive, and be part of the expansion of happiness on the planet.
About Dr. Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra, M.D is the author of more than 65 books, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His medical training is in internal medicine and endocrinology, and he is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and an adjunct professor of Executive Programs at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is also a Distinguished Executive Scholar at Columbia Business School, Columbia University, and a Senior Scientist at the Gallup organization. For more than a decade, he has participated as a lecturer at the Update in Internal Medicine, an annual event sponsored by Harvard Medical School’s Department of Continuing Education and the Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.