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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

We Are The Gifts We Give

To welcome this holiday month into our lives, we invited several Atlanta spiritual leaders to share messages of the season.

New Thought leaders Rev. Richard Burdick of Unity North and Rev. David Ault of Spiritual Living Center of Atlanta offer similar counsel. Burdick writes “play your part,” and Ault nudges us to embrace “living out loud.”

And they both see that we all share a similar desire. “It is a deep and abiding hope for a better world,” says Burdick. “The gift that people crave the most is the gift of inspiration,” says Ault.

Burdick and Gen Mondrub, resident teacher at the Kadampa Meditation Center of Georgia, acknowledge the tenor of our times, and the latter reminds us that “turbulence exists only in the mind.”

And so too does peace; it exists only in our minds. Mondrub tells us that “meditation is the main cause of inner peace,” and then quotes his teacher, Gen Kelsang Gyatso: “Only by first creating peace in your own mind, and helping others do the same, can we hope to create peace in this world.”

All are telling us the same thing: We are the gifts we give.

If this sounds intimidating, Natural Awakenings columnist Lucretia Robison reminds us that we are “Divine Creators.”

“I allow creation to flow through me. That serves humanity as a whole,” she writes.

I believe not in coincidence but in divine coordination. This message is coming to me from all directions today. Otherwise, how was it that the first thing I read at 5 a.m. was:

“What I want you to consider is another form of giving . . . you let the woman who is in a hurry go ahead of you in the grocery line, or you send love to the guy who cuts you off on the freeway. You do these things even if the woman has more items in her basket than you do or if the guy scowls at you when he takes over your lane.”

This quotation is from Toni Galardi’s book The Life Quake Phenomenon. Her example of just sending love is part of a practice that I have not actively engaged in for some time. But as I sit here, I am moved to consider a 21-day round of my favorite meditation called Taking and Giving.

This meditation is coordinated with the breath. To do it, breathe in and visualize taking away the suffering of others as if it were a thick black smoke. Then hold the breath for a moment at the heart center and visualize the smoke dissolving your self-cherishing, that attribute of ego that values one’s own happiness above that of every other living creature. Then breathe out and visualize enveloping others in the light of love.

When I do this meditation consistently, I become mindful that we are the gifts we give. On my best days, I walk into stores, pause, inhale the suffering of everyone in the store and exhale the light of love to touch them all. I look at each person I walk past and continue this practice.

As we ease into the holidays, let us absorb the truth of “we are the gifts we give.” And in this truth, may you find not a challenge but the joy of embracing who we really are—spiritual beings, creatures of light, embodiments of the Infinite, of Source and, therefore, of inexhaustible love and peace.

From all of us at Natural Awakenings to all of you, may the spirit of the season live within and without.




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