A couple of years after my second divorce, I began to feel more connected to people. Feeling affection for others and compassion for difficult times they may be having, I found that I wanted to express that affection and caring. There was no reason – I simply wanted to express positive feelings.
There was a friend at work who loved the bubble tea I could easily pick up at my morning coffee shop. I began leaving a bubble tea on her desk almost once a week. She would sometimes request it. I remember being aware that I was spending money. I remember having thoughts that I was “being used by her. But when I connected to my feeling for her, and for people in general, the thoughts of being used dissolved.
Recognizing birthdays for people at work, giving special gifts to my roommate, and buying lunch for friends became an outpouring of giving that felt like a natural flow. The Connectivity I felt about the enjoyment, the moments of smiling and surprise, were like fuel.
I admit that there was a bit of surface self/ego in this. Many of these friends were beautiful girls, and I took pleasure in the association. Now, I still enjoy beautiful girls, but it doesn’t really matter much if I am “with them”. And I sense a more neutral attitude toward using the category of beauty for people.
These experiences were a mixture of what could be called “good” (the flow of generosity) and what could be called “bad” (the ego boost from being around beautiful girls). But overall, I think the mixture was beneficial in showing me something about being alive.
I had never before experienced the feeling of giving without expecting or wanting something back. This gave me that experience. And even though there was ego involvement that I don’t view as beneficial over the long term, I experienced feelings of affection and gratitude just because of the very Being of these friends. Yes I also appreciated their smiles and joyful responses, but these seemed secondary.
For the first time, I sensed an outflow of giving without needing back, without tit for tat. I felt the benefit of giving as an internally driven movement. It felt disconnected from the world of trading, the give-in-order-to-get view that I’d always carried.
I felt as though I’d discovered a secret. As long as I didn’t stifle this giving with thoughts of money or being used, I was feeding my positive energy in a way I’d never known. I began to understand why people volunteered their time to help people. I sensed that love flowing out is far more important than love flowing in.
That was also the time of life when I realized that the same applies to romance. Love flowing out is far more important to my Being than the wished for result of getting together “permanently”. Experiencing the flow of love was more important than being loved back. Because just the experience of the flow itself somehow gave me much more than the feeling of being loved.
The role of my word-tool based thinking in this are many. Part of me says that this can’t be good if it has the ego involvement of impressing or buying the affections of beautiful girls. The joke is on these viewpoints – although there was some ego involvement, I did not sense the drive to impress or buy affections as a primary motive. I felt mainly a flow from within, an internalized circle of generous affection and of allowing the good feelings to come out and around. It was a form of being like the shining of the sun or the glow of a beautiful flower – simple giving and that’s all.
Ideas of buying friendship or being used or using them – all of these were common word-based thoughts that flowed from my me-vs-them, suspicious illusion of separateness. I discovered that these thoughts were no longer real . . . at least not in me. Instead of those thoughts, I was sensing and experiencing Connectivity, and it felt so much better than the ideas I’d held previously.
I am grateful for these experiences of the shining, glow-like flow, and of becoming more aware of the functioning of my surface self/ego. It’s as if this one set of experiences carried two different lessons.
One was a lesson of what Being and connection to Source felt like. I sensed the internal benefits of shining without external reward. Another was a lesson about the workings of my surface self as my mind put out accusations of using and being used. I learned how to spot this part of my functioning just a little quicker.
Do I enjoy responses of smiles and appreciation from others? Yes. Do I enjoy feeling loved by others? Yes, absolutely. But experiencing love flowing out in these ways somehow led to feeling an enduring well-being that diminished the need for a “payback”. It was an experience that put the feeling of neediness and “little me” in the background, and a sense of goodwill through Connectivity in the foreground.