As I placed the bottle of wine on my neighbour’s doorstep to say thank you I wondered should I put my name on it? Maybe a small card just so he is certain where it has come from? Maybe he won’t connect the gift with my thanks I wondered. When I got home I thought maybe I should ring? Just to make sure he got it. Did he like it?
All of these musings coming from my wee self were my outward manifestation of being attached to the results. Wanting the praise, wanting the thanks, wanting the recognition for a job well done. When we give something to someone else there is usually a form of want attached to it. Do we want to lend them that book so we can get one off them? Do we give them a present so we will get one back? Do we do a good deed for someone to make ourselves feel better?
The highest rung of giving is to give without anyone knowing you have done it. This difficult act will shoot you up the karma ladder so you won’t be spending the rest of your lifes going back to see who thanked you in the first place. The pivotal teaching in the Bhagavad Gita is that we do our duty or we give without any attachment to the results. This means we don’t do the job expecting praise or recognition however if it comes then that is fine. The difference is we are just doing the job or the act of giving for the love of it, without expectation.
As I scroll through my giving board I think of the times that I gave with expectation. Giving my knowledge hoping for people to think I am smart, giving my time, hoping to get someone elses, giving gifts and waiting for the thank yous. It would be better not to give. It would be better to not expect and it would certainly be the best to drop your attachment to the outcome of your giving.
Practice for today: If you give anything today do a mental check am I keeping tabs on my giving? Do I expect something in return? Is this a gift of love or expectation?