QA135 QUESTION: Could you tell me why I cannot accept gifts without feeling obligated to such an extent that I must repay them in some way? And until I repay them in some way, I don’t feel free. Now, what possesses me to act that way?
ANSWER: It is the feeling of not deserving. And you feel, as every human being feels, not deserving because there is something that you do not like in yourself. This something must be hidden from you, for otherwise it would not take this roundabout way of denying yourself receiving something.
You must find specifically what it is you really do not like. You may even dislike something for wrong reasons. On the other hand, you may be oblivious of something that should be changed.
QUESTION: And yet, when I do repay these people, I feel free. It’s a wonderful feeling.
ANSWER: But it is always a mathematics involved and therefore spontaneous giving and receiving cannot exist on those terms. You deny the giver his joy by not allowing him to give, because this is buying.
QUESTION: I always feel there are strings attached.
ANSWER: That’s right. I can only say you have perhaps to find a parallel deep inside of yourself, not on a material level but perhaps on an emotional level, where you attach strings, where you make demands, where you have emotional demands that you make.
QUESTION: Well, how can one overcome such a position?
ANSWER: By working on any kind of vigorous path of self-discovery, of looking deep into yourself.
QUESTION: One more thing. There are some people from whom I can accept and I don’t feel a compulsion to pay back. Some I will accept, but most people I cannot.
ANSWER: Well, all these things I’m sure would be very interesting clues once you decide to examine yourself and take stock of your hidden being, of your innermost level, for then these may furnish very interesting clues. And I venture to say it might work both ways simultaneously. On the one hand, your old feelings toward such a person may be much freer. You may have less emotional demands and less guilt toward them, and at the same time they may have less guilt and less feelings of obligation toward you – and therefore the giving and receiving is much freer.
While with others – whether it is absolutely so or merely a displacement and transference from other people where you experience that person emotionally and unconsciously as someone else – where the strings attached exist on both sides, you have a difficulty.
QA218 QUESTION: I find that I am in a lot of confusion and can’t seem to break through what I recognize as a misconception: that the position of being a receiver is a humiliating one. This seems to lead to the opposite compulsion to have to be always a giver, and I wonder if you could help me with this.
ANSWER: Yes. I would say for you the common denominator that you need to be aware of in order to break through this obstruction is to make yourself realize that there is a part in you – hidden and ashamed, but nevertheless a part – where when you give, you look down on the person to whom you give. It is precisely because of that, that you then cannot receive. Because you automatically assume that the other person who gives you will also look down on you.
In other words, you have to arrive at the opposite part, the other side of the coin, as it were, in order for you to free yourself of that bind, when you would give without that attitude, and really give from the heart – although you can do that too. But it is infiltrated with this other attitude so that you do not know at times to what extent is your giving really giving, or to what extent is your giving a way of setting yourself up above people.
As you pray and commit yourself to not wanting to do that, to give freely, to respect the person to whom you give, then you will feel not the slightest trace of humiliation when you receive, and that is really your key. Do you understand that?
QUESTION: Yes. I’m not aware of how to change that attitude toward the receiver.
ANSWER: The only way to do it is to realize it is a misconception. You are not above when you give, and you are not below when you receive. Really, truly meditate on the deepest level of your being, that the whole universe exists of this constant exchange of giving and receiving, and there is nothing above or below, or superior or inferior about either of these two universal expressions.
If you meditate and really build your own thought processes according to truth, and want to be in truth, little by little, you will no longer believe in it. It is also here a question of pride, of very, very strong pride that wants to be in control and above. And, as you see this pride and realize that it is to your harm and it is to your detriment, you will make an inner commitment to come down from that high place you want to be in.