Giving and Receiving

“Giving and Receiving”

A Talk given by David Jones on October 3rd, 2010

In the book, The Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes stated that, “When the law of circulation is retarded, stagnation results. It is only when we allow the Divine current to flow through us, in and out, we really express life. The law of giving and receiving is definite.”

This spiritual law, which been studied by many people all over the world since the beginning of the New Thought Movement, is worth our re-exploring in this talk.

Holmes, who was actually the founder of the Science of Mind Movement is describing the spiritual principle that when the Divine is moving through us, we easily express love and courage and prosperity and fullness of life. When we stop the flow of the Divine in us, then stagnation occurs and we become stuck.

Some of the attitudes that get us stuck and keep us stuck are greed and fear, and those cause us to close down and energetically we become unable to give. It is a strange phenomena that the more we try to hold onto something, the harder it is to give openly, and generously and be open and receptive to receive the flow of God’s grace in our life.

To illustrate this principle more vividly you may recall the famous children’s story by Shel Siverstein called The Giving Tree.

In this famous story, there is a young boy and a lovely tree. The little boy loved to play near and around the tree and he would play on its branches and eat its apples and enjoy being on or near the tree.  The tree loved playing with the boy and creating joy in the young boy’s life.

Over time the boy began to grow up and from time to time he would go back to the tree, and for example, carve his girlfriends name on the tree or hang around the tree for a while, but soon he spent less and less time with the tree.  The tree always invited him to come play and have a good time, to have an apple, or play or its branches or swing.

The boy declined and as he was grew older, he told the tree what he really wanted was money.  The tree offered its apples to sell.  Then the boy wanted a house.  So the tree offered its branches.  Then the boy (who was a grown man by now), wanted a boat. So the tree offered its trunk.   So the tree gave, and the boy took, its branches, its trunk, it’s life… and the boy disappeared for quite a few years.

The years rolled on and the boy found himself to be an old man and all that was left of the tree that he had taken from for so many of his needs was, yes you guessed it, just the stump.

The old man went to the tree and the tree told the old man that he was sorry but he nothing left to give as all that was left was this tree stump. The old man told the old tree that he just wanted a place to rest. And the tree, having given so much over the years to his beloved friend told the old man to please just sit and rest on the tree stump. Thus, the old man sat on the stump of his beloved, giving tree and had rest.  Both felt happy to be with each other.

This is how the story ends.   In the book, there is a picture of them together.

This story deserves our analysis from a metaphysical and psychological viewpoint for a few minutes as there are several spiritual lessons in it. As you heard this story which character did you identify with, if either one.

Which part of the story speaks to you the most – the boy – who just takes and takes and takes until the tree has nothing left – never giving anything back to the tree – but making the tree believe that if it just gives a little more the boy will not ask for anything more – when in fact regardless of how much the tree gives – it is never going to make the boy happy.

How about the tree – Did you wonder why in the world would that tree just give and give for many, many years and become just and old stump, yet still wanted to give to the other person?

May I ask you this question?  Who, if anyone in your life, have you given and given to and it has or is never enough?  Could you have the belief as the tree did that if I can just give the right ‘thing’ it will be enough and the other person will finally be happy – and then they will want to give back to me…

Why does the tree keep giving? Is it in hopes the boy will do something in return—give it love attention, a small stroke of love or affection? Who is the unhealthy one in this relationship – the boy – the tree – or both of them?  Actually, it is both – it is unhealthy to take and take from another and it is unhealthy to give and give to another without receiving anything in return. We give and give and give with the hopes that we will be liked or valued or seen as special.

Where have we created this type of relationship – Let’s start right at the top.

How about our relationship with God?  As I ask you I also ask myself these questions:

What is your relationship with God – do you take and take from God and still want more. Or, do you pause to give thanks – do you nurture the relationship with God through Meditation, Prayer, and selfless service? Do you thank the divine often for giving you so much to build your life in the way you want it to be?

How about your relationship with Money – do you just take and take – or do you circulate it out into the universe so it can do some good.

How about with your Church – People have along long history of expecting their Church to always give and not believing you ever have to give anything back in return.

What about the relationship you have with your co-workers? Are you the giver or the taker or is it more equally a give and take relationship?

What about your relationship with your parents, your kids – what role do you play the most – tree or Boy? Are you primarily a giver or a taker?

Let’s examine what actions and behaviours we may express when we are feeling like the tree – or like the boy. When we are feeling like the tree and feeling empty we may try to numb it out, we may feel depressed, we may feel lethargic, we may procrastinate….

When we are feeling like the boy we may act out in countless ways –who often acts out, movie stars, athletes, politicians. These are the ones who take and take and don’t give in return.

The principle that I quoted in the beginning of the talk is important here. That principle of circulation that requires that we give and take in order to keep the divine energy going in our lives and in the manifestation of what we need in our life.

So, I ask you to consider where in your life you may feel stagnant and need energy to continue on your path and where are you enthusiastic and willing to give and take and create the life you want?  Let us not be just the boy or just the tree, may we all learn how to give and how to receive so that rather than having imbalances in our life and energy, we all have a flow, a purpose, a sense of the divine life in us.

We often don’t understand how our energy affects others. Maybe the tree didn’t realize how co-dependent it was and maybe the boy/man didn’t mean to take and take, but was easier than to learn to give.  Often we don’t realize how our energy affects not only ourselves but others also.

Another illustration makes this point. It is called the Crabby Old Man.


When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in North Platte, Nebraska, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Missouri. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health.  A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this little old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

Crabby Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . What do you see?
What are you thinking . . . when you’re looking at me?
A crabby old man not very wise

Uncertain of habit with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food . . . . . … and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice … “I do wish you’d try!”
Who seems not to notice… the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . . . a sock or a shoe?

Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
with bathing and feeding the long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?  . . Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse . . . you’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
as I do at your bidding as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another.

A young boy of sixteen with wings on his feet
dreaming that soon now . . . . . a lover he’ll meet

a groom soon at twenty my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five, now I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A man of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other, with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
but my woman’s beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty, once more babies play round my knee,
Again, we know, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me . . . .my wife is now dead.
I look at the future and shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing . . . young of their own.
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old man . . . . . and nature is cruel.
Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass . . . a young guy still dwells,
and now and again, my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys. I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living life over again.

I think of the years, all too few gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people open and see.

Not a crabby old man.   Look closer see ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too! “See me” is the desire of us all, and if you have seen the movie Avatar you may recall that their greeting was “I see you.”  Do you see the crabby old man or do you see a human being with needs, passions and desires? It depends on where we focus our energy.

Our energy focused in seeing the best in others and in learning to circulate well being to others keeps us in the flow of Circulation. I would like to explain these principles of circulation in a bit more depth so we can understand and appreciate the Law of Circulation in our lives.

Positive circulation is when things increase as a result. Negative circulation is when things diminish as a result. What you hold on to will keep slipping away until there is nothing left. You can never escape the law of circulation. If you try to stop the circulation of things, it will still circulate but in a negative manner.

It will be circulated through unexpected expenses such as paying for repairs and replacements of things that are damaged, stolen or lost. Look at areas in your life where you are prevented from keeping your money or being forced to spend it.

You proclaim that everything you have belongs to God when you give away a portion of it. The portion represents the whole. God accepts the portion as the whole. The portion that you give to God is blessed and therefore the remaining of all that you have is also blessed. As we circulate our money freely, more money flows into our lives.

We are all stewards of the universe resources. If you do not circulate what you have for the work of the universe, what you have will be taken away and given to another who is doing so. Don’t worry about people who are selfish and do not give.

If you keep giving and being in flow, even what others hoard from you will somehow be made by the universe to be given to you. So you can rest in the truth that you will always have whatever you want and no one can hold it from you. You never have to withhold from giving others what they want just because they withhold from giving what you want.

The food we throw away, the empty rooms, and spaces for people without homes, the money governments spend…

You should give to where your giving would do the most good so that it would flourish. You should give to someone or some place that contributes to your personal growth or happiness.

Give to the places you receive spiritual nourishment. Give to people who inspire you, help you and love you. Give to where you receive the most joy. Give to where it makes you most happy to give. You should give most of all to where you are personally involved in.

Positive circulation increases the value of things because it is beneficial to both giver and receiver. Negative circulation decreases the value of things because it is detrimental to one or both parties.

Positive circulation occurs when what is received is combined and transformed into something better and given away again. Negative circulation occurs when what is received cannot or isn’t used but is released in a state that is worse than before. An example is the moneymaking scams of life.

It is better to give in smaller amounts but more frequently than to give in large amounts but less frequently. It is consistency of giving and not magnitude that has the effect.

When you give frequently, you are in constant flow and there is no stagnation. When you give only large amounts now and then, you will be in stagnation during periods where you are not giving. Think about constant circulation to keep the water in a tank fresh and clear, compared to changing it completely only now and then.

Whenever you give something to others, you should also allow them to give something back to you if they desire to. If they have allowed you the favour of expressing abundance towards them, you show also allow them the favour of expressing abundance towards you. It is perfectly all right to set up an exchange of value by having others pay for what you have to offer. It is also a way of allow circulation to take place that will lead to the increase of your own wealth and the wealth of the world.

We can’t give that which we don’t have. It is a joyful thing to have so that we can share. When you help people by sacrificing yourself to be of service to others, you will feel resentful for it and end up paying a much higher price. That is because correct giving must be a circulation and not just an outflow. When you give, you need to receive something in return in order to enable yourself to continue to give more. You can only give in proportion with your ability to receive. The best givers are the best receivers.

The key is to be abundant and happy with yourself. Then from that space you can reach out and help others. Otherwise instead of changing the world, we are just tilting the scale from one extreme to the other. Balance is found not when one is down and the other one is up, but when we’re are all at the same level where in our own personal way, we feel abundance, happy and fulfilled, that we are sharing our talents, resources, and gifts with one another.

Always give away whatever it is that you want.

If you want love, give love.

If you want money, give money.

If you want knowledge, give knowledge.

You have already been provided by the universe with a certain amount of what you want. You just want more of it. If you give out of the little that you have, much more will come back to you. If you want to have wealth, first show others how to have wealth. Whatever you want, if you cause another being to have it first, you will have it in abundance.

You are in vibrational resonance with abundance through your physical acts of giving and receiving. Giving and receiving are the two polarities of the same frequency spectrum of abundance. That is why people who have the most are the ones that give and receive the most. God gives us his all to receive back our all.

The Law of Circulation states that all things in the universe are always flowing in circulation at an ever- expanding rate. What you give to one person, you will receive back from a different source so you don’t have to give with the expectation of receiving back from the same person you give to.  Just know that what you give will always be returned to you multiplied from other sources. It works according to the law of cause and effect where the universe always mirrors back to you whatever you do.

So from the stories I have shared and the illustrations given, I hope you will have a greater understanding of the metaphysical principles of the laws of giving and receiving and a greater appreciation of the wonderful quote we started out with in the beginning of this talk:

“When the law of circulation is retarded, stagnation results. It is only when we allow the Divine current to flow through us, in and out, we really express life. The law of giving and receiving is definite.”

I hope you will not let your life stagnate, but rather learn to use the principles of circulation so that greater good can more easily flow into your life.

Thank you.

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