The traditional Christmas practice of giving gifts is a wonderful, open-hearted gesture of affection and gratitude which hopefully invokes warm and fuzzy feelings in both the giver and the receiver. That is, I hear you say, as long as the credit card isn’t maxed to buy it and as long as it’s not seen as a burdensome obligation. Ahh yes it can all get a little distorted can’t it! But in general, if we can afford it and we are not feeling obliged to give a gift, it’s a lovely thing to do.
However, our intention to bring a little happiness into our loved one’s life may be hampered by us being unable to find the appropriate gift. Whether it’s a practical gift like something for the house or something just for fun, who knows if they’ve got it already or would even like it. Besides, the ideal gift that I would love to receive is not necessarily someone else’s cup of tea. So often I have received a gift that has ended up in the back of my cupboard and years later passed on to someone who might like it. Of course we all know it’s the thought that counts, but how unfortunate if that’s where it stops – a kind thought but a gift that would never be used.
We are all looking for happiness, in fact that’s what gift giving is all about, the hope that my gift will bring a little joy, a little happiness to my friend or loved one. However as I’m sure we have all experienced that happiness is temporary. The happiness I got from owning the newest iPhone is now replaced with the desire for the next model up. However the happiness that I get from applying the true meaning of yoga to my life is satisfying and ever increasing in joy.
From the relief of understanding that I am a shining spiritual being to the joy of a developing relationship with the Supreme, yoga’s gift is bubbling with happiness. We can receive this gift by opening our hearts to the Divine Names of the Supreme, and we can give this gift to others by repeating them from our hearts. This is called kirtan.
Learn more about kirtan here
By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training