Spiritual Life

Freedom from discord happens through choice and voice of reason

Why giving to others makes us feel good

Whether it's for a birthday or Giving Tuesday, giving a gift to someone can feel great. It turns out there's a reason for that, and it starts with your brain.
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Whether it's for a birthday or Giving Tuesday, giving a gift to someone can feel great. It turns out there's a reason for that, and it starts with your brain.

Growing up around my house, the only discord that ever existed was between me and my siblings at the dinner table. We seemed to have a real knack for pushing the right buttons to set someone off.

As an adult and as a Religious Scientist, I can say that I am much better at being able to say, when I disagree with someone, “I never thought about it that way”, or “I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree”.

That isn’t to say I won’t speak up for something I truly believe in, but gone are the days of fighting to the end to prove a point. I think I have learned to become the calm in the face of the storm.

It’s an interesting phenomenon that takes place whenever a tornado starts creating its chaos and random destruction. While devastation is occurring outside the tornado, inside the storm there is dead calm.

This is a little bit like when arguments occur or extreme challenges happen in our everyday lives. There may be chaos going on around us, but we always have a choice as to add fuel to a fire and escalate the chaos or be the voice of reason that is able to be the calm in the storm.

For example, if I am in a job that I don’t really like, or I am in relationship after relationship and I really feel that my boss or my friend or my significant other is the cause of all my woes, I am mistaken. Actually, it is my reaction to what is going on that is causing a problem.

How can I work to see the blessing in my current situation? Realize that at least I have a job -- many people don’t have one. I could talk to my significant other on my own or with a counselor. If I can’t repair the situation, I need to let go of it and then explore what I could do differently in my next relationship.

Feeling like I am stuck is a choice.

In the Buddhist philosophy, one major tenant is that the suffering of our life is caused by our attachments. So many people work to get what the neighbors have, just to have the “things”.

From your childhood what do you remember about the holidays, Christmas, Easter, your twentieth birthday? Was it a certain present you got? Perhaps, but for me, it is the love that was shared by friends and family.

When we work to understand clearly what our purpose is in life, and we connect with what our vision is, we do our spiritual work. Then the floodgates open and everything unfolds right in front of us.

Every time I am clear about what I want, the way becomes possible.

Rev. Sandra Smith is pastor of Center for Spiritual Living in Kennewick. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email lluginbill@tricityherald.com
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