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Lessons in Giving

By Bhavanjot Kaur

“The most veteran, courageous, and pious act of a human is to be with another human, because we are like stars in the sky, born at one time and space, to be ourselves. Everybody is our coherent neighbor. All we have to do is say, 'I am with you.' When you start being one with everybody, then you are actually with God, because if you cannot see God in all, you cannot see God at all.”
-Yogi Bhajan 12/20/97

I am always fascinated how educators find creative ways to teach valuable lessons to young children that they can relate to in a tangible way. It further inspires me when yogic concepts are being taught inadvertently to children in all walks of life. While the language and the delivery may be different, the message is essentially the same. Love all. Give to all. Serve all. Then your life will be happy and full.

“The best love is to serve all equally.”
-Yogi Bhajan 9/4/01

I was a guest at a Martin Luther King Day event at a local Montessori school with my daughter some time ago. One particular lesson that was shared really stuck with me. The teacher had two eggs sitting in a bowl. One had a brown shell and one had a white shell. She mentioned that the eggs were different sizes and shapes and colors.

Then she proceeded to crack the shell of each egg allowing the yolks to drop out into separate bowls. The teacher explained to the children that while the eggs were seemingly different on the outside, what was inside was exactly the same. She concluded that this is just like all the people in the world. While we may appear differently on the outside, we are all inherently the same on the inside. I cannot help but connect this lesson to the song, The Sun Shines on Everyone.”

“The urge of giving only comes in when God wants to give to you…God invokes in you something to give to others, so that there may be some empty space where God can send a better gift.”
-Yogi Bhajan 2/5/1989

Another time I was walking down the hallway with my daughter during her kindergarten orientation at our local elementary school. She had an apple that she wanted to give to her new teacher. We happened to pass the guidance counselor—a familiar face—on our way to the classroom, and my daughter ran up to her and decided to give her the apple instead. In her excitement, my daughter dropped the apple to the floor. The counselor said that it was okay and that she would wash it off to spare my daughter the disappointment of having dropped the apple. The counselor, however, did not miss the opportunity to share an important lesson with us and gave us a great gift.

The counselor shared with us that apples are one of the examples that they use to teach children to give kindness to one another. She explained to both my daughter and I that if you drop an apple to the ground it will look the same on the outside, but it will be bruised on the inside when you cut it open. She further explained that the same goes for a person. You might not be able to see that you hurt someone with your actions or your words by looking at them, but the bruise is there on the inside.

We encounter many people each day in our journey and while we may not be able to see their pain or bruises on the inside, we have an opportunity to slow down, breath and practice being a gentle source of love and give our light to them rather than being a source of more suffering and pain for them. I connect this lesson to the song, “Light of My Soul.”

 “Giving is the only way. Don’t give only to those who ask. Give to those who don’t ask. Keep on giving. Become a giver. Your faculty and God’s faculty will become the same. That’s absolute divinity.”
-Yogi Bhajan 9/4/01

My daughter’s most recent favorite book from a school lesson is called, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today; A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids,” written by Carol McCloud. It piqued my interest so I picked up a copy at the local library to read to her at bedtime. It’s a delightful story that alludes to everyone in the world having an invisible bucket that they carry around and that when a person’s bucket is full, it is filled with good thoughts and feelings about the self, and when it is empty, a person is sad and lonely. Our buckets are filled by others and we can fill others’ buckets too, with our kind actions and words.

“Taking is suffering. Giving is happiness.”
-Yogi Bhajan 3/8/1999

The book goes on to discuss a bucket dipper, which is a person who says or does mean things. It explains the important misconception of how some people think they can fill their buckets by dipping into another’s bucket, but that you can never fill your own bucket when you dip into someone else’s. I connect this lesson to the mantra, “I Am Happy” that can be chanted alone or with the Meditation for Children.

“The only power of a human being on the other human being is how much one can serve the other.”
Simran and Seva, Beads of Truth, Summer 1975

My daughter and I like to go to bed with full buckets each night by practicing gratitude for our day and for each other. One evening as I was tucking her into bed, she started to fall asleep, but before she did, she took my hand and said, “Mommy, you make me feel so happy and safe. I love you. Thank you for being with me.” And before I could fully digest the sweetness of her words, she was resting peacefully next to me and I whispered, “I am With You.”

“There’s no other way on the planet to free your soul unto the destiny and unto God but by serving those who need a hand—smiling at them, wiping away their tears, forgiving them.

“Touch a person, hold a person and then carry a person. You can’t drag anybody. You can’t lean on anybody. Carry them, simply and truthfully. And what are the words that dignify the carrying? Can you repeat after me? 'I am with you.' That’s all. One line, 'I am with you.'"
-Yogi Bhajan 12/20/97

May The Long Time Sun Shine Upon You, all ways, always.

Sat Nam.

Bhavanjot Kaur is a graduate from University of Saint Joseph where she studied English, Psychology, Early Childhood and Special Education. She is the owner and founder of Hamsa Healing Arts in Old Saybrook, CT. Bhavanjot is a Kundalini Yoga teacher, Radiant Child Yoga teacher, Reiki Master & Teacher, Craniosacral therapy practitioner, and she also offers sound therapy with a 32" gong. Bhavanjot enjoys working with children, hosting women's circles and leading workshops on therapeutic grade essential oils, medicinal mushrooms and The Art of Reiki Levels I and II. Bhavanjot is mother to a beautiful and delightful little girl, who overcame a rare childhood kidney cancer, which inspired her work as a volunteer and spokesperson for Connecticut Sports Foundation and as a partner and vetted practitioner with Lucy's Love Bus.