I’ve mentioned before Connie Kaplan’s book The Invisible Garment: 30 Spiritual Principles that Weave the Fabric of Human Life, and how I’m examining my own identified pattern. Last month the principle I was studying was Reciprocity. And although I’ve moved to a different principle this month, I continue to think about reciprocity.
On the surface Reciprocity certainly has to do with giving and receiving. But that’s really just sort of an entry point into the understanding for me.
I found two really helpful ways to think about this. First is the lemniscate – the infinity symbol or sideways figure 8. You can think of one of the loops in this symbol as the energy of giving – expanding outward, and the other loop as bringing back in – receiving. But what I’ve come to understand as really important is the centered balance point between the loops. Once I saw this it all fell into place for me. Reciprocity really allows the knowing that what is inside you is what is outside you – the whole “as above so below” thing. Striving for the balance point is important because if you move too far off center (in giving or receiving) the loops get unbalanced, just as our lives do when we’re giving too much or taking too much. But the beauty, and the challenge perhaps, is that life isn’t a strictly equivalent kind of affair. If you give me three beautiful apples, I don’t have to give you, and only you, 3 apples back. Energy exchange can be complex and exquisitely multi-layered, but ultimately the goal is to be in balance.
And that’s where the other symbolic reminder has been so helpful to me. Breathing. Thousands of times a day there is the profound reminder. Inhalation – exhalation – the moment between. Breathing in and receiving; briefly holding that breath and having; and then releasing and giving. For me that’s exactly what Reciprocity is about: receiving-having-giving.
So in summary, here are the things I’ve come to know (or understand more deeply) through my examination of Reciprocity:
- What you put out comes back to you
- As you touch something, you are touched
- Each of us has an inherent responsibility to share, to collaborate, to give and receive
- There is nothing except ALL-that-is — which expresses in the outbreath and the inbreath
- Reciprocity is a way to know ALL
I’d truly love to hear your thoughts about this. What does reciprocity mean for you?