Giving

by Kahlil Gibran


Original Language English

You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?
And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their wealth naked and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life -- while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

-- from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

I hope everyone here in the US got through the presidential election. The media megaphones are powering down. The candidates have claimed their offices. Now is when the real work begins -- pushing our representatives to actually represent us, insisting that political, economic, and societal structures do a better job expressing the aspiration of the human spirit and the needs of the planet which is our home. A daunting task, but isn't that why we're here?


...Which sort of leads into today's poem by Kahlil Gibran.

Who do we help? Who do we give to? Who do we choose to care about and feel connected to? It's a very reasonable response to say, "I would give, but only to the deserving." The problem is that reason, for all its usefulness, is stuck in the head; the questions of giving and connection are questions for the heart, not the head. And the heart knows what the head does not:

They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.

When we work deeply with service and giving as part of our spiritual path, we begin to understand that the meeting of needs and the sharing of resources is not enough. That surface approach is usually a sign of ego's touch, a way to crown oneself as the giver. We haven't yet discovered what it means to be worthy to give. When we see clearly, there is no personal merit. Giving is our nature. It is the natural flow of life, and we are part of that life. When we give we have simply ceased to constrict our own spirit... and then our hearts untighten and we can witness life flowing through us all.

For in truth it is life that gives unto life -- while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

We should daily ask ourselves, "What gift can I give?"



Recommended Books: Kahlil Gibran

The Prophet The Beloved: Reflections on the Path of the Heart Broken Wings Jesus the Son of Man Kahlil Gibran: His Life & World
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Giving