I would like to share an incident. A few years ago. I was walking on the pavements of a busy city street. I heard a thud sound and saw that a bird had fallen in front of me from a tree. It seemed injured, it could not fly. I picked it up but it was so scared that it fluttered its wings and fell down again. It hopped and went into the middle of the road. I started following it and stopping cars and bikes. It continued to hop, went to the other side of the road and would not let me come near it. A young boy who seemed well versed with birds went and picked it up and handed it over to me. It seemed thirsty, its tongue was hanging out. I asked someone for water and gave it drops with my hands which it drank quickly. Now that I had it in my grasp, I was wondering what to do next. The boy led me to a vet clinic just a few yards away, but the doctor had gone out for lunch. At that time, something wonderful happened. I could feel the bird sinking into my hand with its face tucking into my elbow. I could sense the trust the bird seemed to show me. The bird was receiving my kindness in such a beautiful way. The boy and I walked a little further when we came to a temple venue which had an open area with lots of trees. The boy said, “Just loosen your grip, lets see what the bird does.” I loosened my grip and all of a sudden, the bird seemed alright, it fluttered its wings, flew up and perched on the tree in the temple garden. I was so relieved and happy. Till now, the warm feeling I got when the bird sank into my elbow stays in my heart.

On the Black Lotus App, we share random acts of kindness, RAKs. We are learning to include acts of kindness as an integral part of ourselves for self-purification and spiritual growth. When reading RAK stories, one thing that stands out in many of the stories is that; the way the receiver received the kindness shown to them was a big takeaway for the giver. It looks like the receiver has also given so much to the giver by the way he has received that act of kindness. This may not always happen, but when it does, the happiness of the giver seems to have increased exponentially.

We all are blessed to receive so much from Om Swamiji. We receive grace, blessings, wisdom and guidance from Swamiji from a position of humbleness, like the flatland receives the waterfall that cascades down to it from the hills and in turn is blessed with greenery.  However, in our normal life, when I look at myself and at people in our world, I find that receiving happens in many different ways.

So, is there a way of receiving we can learn so that we can give when we receive? I would like to call it ‘The art of receiving’.  Is this something we tend to miss out sometimes in daily life? Is this something we can learn by practice? Then in addition to doing RAKs by giving, we can also do our little RAKs by the way we receive, isn’t it?

Observing animals is one way I see how they have mastered the art of receiving. Like the bird in the beginning of this story. They receive so completely, there are no reservations, no resistance to what they receive. Can we receive a genuine gesture from others without feeling obliged? Like without feeling like we have to return back at the time we receive, without resisting it or pushing it back in an act of politeness?

I remember doing a self-improvement course long back. At the end of the course, a few of us went to the trainer to talk to him. I started giving my appreciation for the way he conducted the training, etc. etc. when one of the volunteers interrupted him regarding a logistic issue. The trainer held up his hand to the volunteer as if to say, hold on and then went on to receiving my appreciation with 100% listening. After that, he just said a whole hearted thank you. That made me feel so good! Which brings me to the next way we can receive; that is how we receive a compliment or appreciation. Many times, we tend to brush it off. Perhaps we can just receive it completely and say a simple genuine thank you.

Would love to hear your opinions on what I have shared and also would love to learn more ways in which we can learn the art of receiving.

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Malini Bharath

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