I was sharing my experiences of the campaign very enthusiastically with a friend. Instead of getting impressed, he was baffled. “What is in it for you?” “Forget about gaining money, I am sure you must have spent your own money on the campaign.” “Do you think that with your campaign the situation will change?” “With the same amount of time, could you not have done something productive?”
He was a close friend and a well-wisher. He had a habit of being direct. Concerned as he was, he bombarded me with his questions. He was right. I did not get any money. Instead I spent my money on the campaign. I knew the situation is not going to change with our one campaign. And whether I could have done something productive in the same amount of time, perhaps yes, perhaps no. I had no answer. I decided to take up the point for discussion in our next meeting.
We would make a note of points that emerged during the week and looked forward to our weekly meeting for taking them up. There was no boundary and we can take up any subject. It is not that we will get an answer to all questions. But for sure, we would get ourselves more clarified.
“What do you feel about it?” I was having mixed feelings. On one hand, I was still upbeat about the experience but I was also at a loss, as I had no answers to the questions of my friend?
“It is usual for your friend to ask the questions that he asked.” “If you observe, those questions are coloured with certain pre-suppositions prevailing in our society.”
- It is assumed that getting money is the only important gain in life. Money is certainly important, but to use our common criteria, it is necessary but not sufficient.
- A strong positive personal experience and gaining some money are not comparable. Yet they are compared.
- Self-less actions are suspected as a waste of time and energy. Self-serving actions are promoted as meaningful.
- To receive is considered more valuable and wiser than to give. It is seen as simple mathematics.
- Kids are taught to give but as they grow up, life teaches them this lesson of focusing on gain.
“These pre-suppositions are so deeply ingrained in us that we are unable to value our own experiences which are often to the contrary.”
“It is one thing to believe in values promoted in society and it is another to listen to your own deep experiences and feelings.”
“Would you feel great internally when you help others, or when you receive help from others?” I was reflecting. The other day, an elderly lady wanted to cross the road, I stopped and helped her to cross. A very small act, but I had felt very good internally.
“To give is better than to receive” I thought about it but felt that if one keeps giving money, even a millionaire can become a pauper.
“Your thinking is justified. Whenever there is a proposal to give or receive, it is common in society to reduce it to money. But money is not everything in life. You can give care, kindness, help, love and something as simple as smile.” “Do it selflessly and check your experience.”
“Compare the best moments of your life and you will find that they were invariably connected with the act of giving.”
It struck me as a very valuable lesson. The correct equation between to Give and to Receive. That is a step ahead in my journey to becoming a better person.