Law The Law of Giving and Receiving

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The second spiritual law of success is the Law of Giving and Receiving, which states that the universe operates through dynamic exchange. Your body is in constant and dynamic exchange with the body of the universe. Your mind is dynamically interacting with the mind of the cosmos. Life is the flow of all the elements and forces that comprise the field of existence. The harmonious exchange between your physical body and the physical universe and between your personal mind and the collective mind is expressed as the Law of Giving and Receiving. Because your body, your mind, and the universe are in constant and dynamic exchange, stopping the circulation of energy is like stopping the flow of blood. Whenever blood stops flowing, it begins to clot, to coagulate. Whenever a river stops flowing, it begins to stagnate. This is why you must be open to giving and receiving in order to keep the life force circulating within you.

The most important thing is the intention behind your giving and receiving. The intention should always be to create happiness for the giver and the receiver, because happiness is life-supporting and life-sustaining. The return is proportional to the giving when it is unconditional and from the heart. This is why the act of giving has to be joyful—the frame of mind has to be one in which you feel joy in the very act of giving. Then the energy behind the giving increases many times over.

During your yoga practice, the Law of Giving and Receiving is lively in every breath you take. With each inhalation and exhalation, you are exchanging ten billion trillion atoms with your environment. Right now, take as deep a breath as you possibly can and hold it. Hold it as long as you can, and notice how uncomfortable you begin to feel when you are holding onto something that is meant to be released. Now, exhale as fully as you can and hold your breath with your lungs fully emptied. Again, feel the discomfort that arises when you are resisting taking in something that you need. Whenever you resist the Law of Giving and Receiving, your mind becomes anxious and your body becomes uncomfortable.

With every pose you assume, complementary pairs of muscles are contracting and relaxing, holding and releasing in accordance with the Law of Giving and Receiving. When the life force is flowing freely through your body/mind, you are in natural alignment with the generosity and receptivity of the universe.

Make the commitment to put the second law of success into effect in your yoga practice by taking the following three steps:

1. During your yoga poses, maintain breathing awareness, effortlessly exchanging air with your environment through the inflow and outflow of your breath. Anytime throughout the day that you feel resistance in your body because things are not going the way you think they should, bring your attention to your breath and use it to regain your sense of effortless receiving and releasing.

2. Cultivate the sense of gratitude for the gifts you have in your life. During your yoga practice, tune into the life force that is circulating through your body and be grateful for the opportunity to experience life through a human mind and body. Enjoy the sensation of your body contracting and expanding as your move through your postures. Celebrate your physical manifestation that enables your soul to express its meaning and purpose in life. Celebrate the very improbability of your existence.

Our beloved teacher Brahmananda Saraswati once said that it might take a million incarnations until you gain a human nervous system; if you do not use it to remember and rejoice in your sacred nature, you have traded a diamond for a head of lettuce.

3. During your practice of yoga have the intention of surrendering to the needs of your body. Rather than forcing your will upon your body to attain a specific pose, practice listening to the needs of your muscles and joints. The impulse to give flows naturally from the experience of gratitude. You will find that through this subtle shift in your attitude, challenging postures are more easily achieved.

Outside of your asana practice have the intention to give something to everyone you come into contact with during the day. It might be a kind word, a compliment, a smile, a prayer, or a small gift. Similarly, be open to receiving the gifts that come to you during the day. They may be gifts from nature, such as the songs of birds, a spring shower, a rainbow, or a beautiful sunset. They may be gifts from people in your life—a warm embrace, a kind gesture, a helpful suggestion. Make the commitment to enliven the Law of Giving and Receiving by taking every opportunity to circulate love, caring, affection, appreciation, and acceptance.

Learn the mantra whose vibratory qualities resonate with the Law of Giving and Receiving, and repeat it silently to yourself whenever you find yourself restricting the flow of giving and receiving in your life.

Om Vardhanam Namah I am the nourisher of the universe

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