Monday, August 12, 2013

A Brief Exercise in Non-Duality

I have a series of small Facebook posts that start like this:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to...

These posts are sometimes silly. Other times they are quite serious. All of them are designed to stretch reality a bit. I have been out and about and have friends of friends tell me how much they look forward to the posts. Of course, they say they perform the tasks.  I have to confess that I don't do all of them. 

Today's left me with a sense of cognitive dissonance and wonder. So, for your enjoyment, here it is:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write down three ways you give to others and three ways you take from others. Then seriously consider how the take column is really giving and the giving column is really taking.

Give this one a try and if you like, let me know how it goes in the comments section.


SM said...

Three ways I give to others
I give money to charity (churches and charity boxes)
This is me taking by hoping my generousity is rewarded
I give my time and attention to other people's concerns
This is me taking, because I feel important and validated when others listen to the advice I give
I clean up the house
This is me taking because I feel useful and feel like I am an important member of the household when I do it
Three ways I take from others
I take money from those that offer it to me as a gift (I received money to get a lunch from a new place that just opened)
This is me giving because I gave that person a chance to feel how I feel when I do something nice for someone
I depend on others for a roof over my head
This is me giving because I provide company for the person who does it, it staves off the isolation the other person would feel if I was not there
I take information from others
This is me giving, because I validate and make other people feel useful

I think these are pretty valid, and it was a pretty interesting thought experiment.

Robert said...

Nice! Very similar to my list. When you went through this, how did that juxtaposition make you feel?

SM said...

Well, initially it made me feel guilty, because most of my giving is, essentially, ego-propping (and I have been giving myself a hard time about acting selfishly r.e. the taking column). The taking column, well, it took a lot longer to look how it is giving, it made me feel a little bit better and it altered the perception of myself. It gave me complicated feelings, and challenged a lot of, what I consider, my virtues and the negative image I hold myself in.

I then received an idea, and further expounded the experiment by looking at what sorrow there is in the joys I experience, and what joy there is in the sorrow I experience. That was quite illuminating.

Robert said...

Excellent work! That is exactly what happened to me. The third thing that I would not relate to giving or taking appeared and it shocked me. Nicely done my friend!

I saw elements of both service and ego in my list too. In pondering that, I have no problems with it because those interactions are more than just what I receive. IN fact, in giving there is a reward that is somewhat earned. Hence, 'giving is better than receiving'.