We practice releasing. We practice allowing. We practice accepting. We sometimes overlook the practice of receiving. How is it different from these others and why is it important?
Is it different? In some ways all these practices are related. In one way they are all the same. But each does have a slightly different flavor. Releasing is letting go of something we hold onto. Allowing is letting energy move naturally without interfering. Accepting is seeing things as they are, without judgment. Receiving is taking what is offered with gratitude.
In the No Way Café contemplation group, for example, we practice receiving what others say – listening with our whole selves, without commenting or questioning, honoring what is offered as a gift.
Receiving can sometimes be a challenge. It is hard for some of us to receive a compliment, deflecting kind words rather than soaking in a positive reflection of ourselves. We sometimes resist offers of assistance, even when we are much in need of support. Many of us get defensive when confronted with what we perceive as criticism, instead of considering whether the observation might highlight something we could do better or differently. (Here, criticism means observations offered from love, not mean-spirited or abusive.)
We often are too busy and distracted to receive the gift of the present moment. In this moment, I am alive. I can hear birds singing. A pleasant breeze whispers through an open window.
Why is receiving important? To me, it opens my heart and fills my spirit with gratitude. Each moment is a gift from the universe, an opportunity to be aware, to connect, to experience. It is the natural partner of giving. It replenishes me and immerses me in the cycle of universal exchange, recognizing that giving and receiving are oneness in movement.
Our bodies teach us this. My heart can only pump out the blood that is received as it circulates throughout my body. Our breath keeps us alive by receiving oxygen from the plant world and releasing carbon dioxide needed by the plants.
So maybe we can practice receiving today. Enjoy a compliment. Feel the warmth of the sun. Listen to someone. Take a breath with awareness. Let someone do something nice for you.
A simple way to practice receiving is to use just two little words. Thank you.
Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart. ~Brene Brown