Sacred Reciprocity: The Sacred art of giving and receiving.
What is Sacred Reciprocity. The Q'ero of Peru call it anyi and it is the sacred art of giving and receiving without the expectation of "having to" give back or take something just because it has been done or offered.
It is one thing that is really lacking in western society because we simply don't understand the concept. When someone does something for us in our society we are made to feel indebted for the gift and feel we have to give back rather than wanting because we understand the sacred nature of the gift.
The true nature of giving and receiving is one of balance. In many of the countries we have visited it is a vital part of the culture and in fact they rely on it sometimes to survive. The giver gives without expectation of ever getting something back. The act of giving is sacred to them and is why they give in the first place. The receiver looks for an opportunity to give back thereby restoring the balance. The act of receiving then is also very sacred.
On the Bandiagara Escarpment, Mali, West Africa we were hiking through a hillside village of the Dogon people when we heard many female voices singing and coming towards us..."we stood to the side of the path that wound up the hillside through to the main square. Coming past us was a line of brightly clad women, young and old, with baskets of grain on their heads. They were singing a song of greeting to the chief of the village and the people.The song thanked the chief for the milk he had given to their village and in return they were bringing a gift of maize (it was actually millet). Just a beautiful thought, sight and song." pg 177 "Set By The Ancients" The Greenstone Journeys Continue. Book 2.
The whole act of giving and receiving was done in a sacred ceremonial way. The villages are between 2 - 5 kilometres apart. Some grow grains, some herd cattle others grow vegetables and in this sacred giving and receiving everyone is looked after and no-one goes without. It is a true and balanced exchange of energy.
When we give to each other it is what is in our hearts that is sacred and or ceremonial. In todays world we take and take especially from the Earth and the more we take the less she has to give back. When we give back to the Earth and treat her and all who dwell on her with respect there is abundance for all not just the "wealthy."
Sacred giving and receiving is vital in relationships so that there is not one who gives or takes more than the other. Sometimes the giving is simply being in gratitude for what the other person offers. Or just being present for them when they need it. To be open to receiving is the other side of this sacred exchange and something that most of us find so hard to do...to receive graciously and thankfully. All gifts then are seen as something to receive. Think of how you would feel if you offered something to someone as a gift and they refused to take it for fear of being obliged to you in some way or you don't want the gift or you feel you should be the one creating the offer not someone else.
As fellow travellers on this beautiful planet how many times have you smiled at a stranger? Today no-one seems to smile at each other..in fact we don't seem to see each other or acknowledge others we don't know. Something as simple as a smile could be just the lifeline that person needed to get through. Once I (Paul) was waiting in line in a shop in NZ and the woman in front of me had over spent her budget and couldn't afford a block of chocolate she wanted to purchase. The check out person was yelling at her for not having enough money to pay. The woman was looking really embarrased and in an instant I decided to pay for the chocolate. Immediately the dynamics of the whole situation changed. The check out person backed down....the woman was really appreciative of the offer and I felt great for being able to help out. A win win for everyone.
Remember that when you do something for someone else that the chemical serotonin is released in large amounts into your body. It lifts your mood. Helps to stop depression and in fact is prescribed for depression but is abundant in a natural and "free" form when you do something good for someone else. Not only are your serotonin levels raised but so are the receiver's as well as those who witnessed the event.
Just remember how good you feel when you give to someone...you have no right to take that away from someone else when they want to gift to you. Be part of the change and learn to receive in true gratitude knowing that by taking the gift that way you have made the person really happy and then next time you give, you remember how it felt to receive in an open hearted way and you give in that way also. We learn to give and receive with no expectation other than how it makes us feel to do both.
Until next time: Remember to follow your heart and live your dreams.