Receiving Blessings

The longing for blessings is a universal human desire. It transcends religious boundaries and cosmological viewpoints and is one of the few things in common between Ned Flanders and Charles Darwin. We all long to receive blessings from life, God, the universe or whatever you might call it as you peer through the lattice of your beliefs.

The blessings we yearn for come in many forms – love, friendship, influence, health, peace, material possessions and so on – and while the blessings we seek generally harmonize with the blessings sought by others, they can and often frequently do conflict with the wants of our fellows. I saw a poignant cartoon several years ago that illustrated the point nicely: it depicted a row of hedges separating two lots; on one side, a farmer was praying for rain to save his drought-stricken crops and on the other a preacher and his congregation praying for sun for their upcoming picnic. Isn’t it ironic?

We all make appeals to the powers that be, whether we see that power as being the human intellect or a deity of some shape or form. People worship a variety of gods and they ask those gods to provide for them that which they do not possess. They treat these gods like genies in a bottle that must be rubbed the right way to grant wishes. They prostrate themselves, pray, plead, and in some cases outright demand a resolution to their problems and the fulfillment of their desires.

Blessings must be received to be made meaningful. When they are gotten by ill means, such as by demanding, begging or stealing, the blessing vanishes, leaving only the dissatisfying husk of what could have been. To receive more fully, you must expand your capacity for receiving. Your capacity for receiving will not be enhanced by increasing the frequency, intensity or volume of your request, in fact, so doing binds more than it loosens.

If I had a bushel of apples and was eager to share them with you, and you instead rushed up, demanded that you be given not just one but the finest in the bushel and then proceeded to push me out of the way and grab it from me, I can assure you that it wouldn’t sit as well in your stomach as it would have had it been freely offered and graciously received. The nature of the receiving conditions the quality of the experience.

The source of life springs eternal and as such, there is simply no good reason to demand of it. You are better off refining your capacity for receiving of the constant blessings, for in so doing you not only receive more, but you are much less likely to be in conflict with your fellows when you truly receive.

9 thoughts on “Receiving Blessings

  1. Colin

    This is such a good point to bring up, and one that rarely is even discussed. Most of the time the discussion is about being giving, but if you are giving and not willing to receive, it is really only comes off as being disingenuous. If you are really a giver, you should know how it feels to give freely and have your gifts received freely. There is no need to feel guilt from receiving, as it is a natural process. The only issue comes from when one of the parties is demanding, as you discussed in your post. Otherwise, the giving and receiving flow should be constant and natural, and the sooner we realize that as a species, the better off we’ll be.


  2. Vincent

    If we could see the purpose of our lives as centering in the consistent offering of blessing – that which nourishes, enhances and lifts up – then how far we have apparently fallen from what should be the norm! On the other hand, the tendency to demand or grasp for blessings is so utterly out of character for a genuine person, and yet it has become the norm as well.

    Given the increasing desperation of a world so depleted by these distorted attitudes and strategies, we can see the great need for a new place to begin. It seems to me that such a beginning could center in the attitude of blessing and thanksgiving expressed toward the Source of life, however conceived. From there, having relinquished judgment and the tension associated with that state, it would be so natural not only to bless our fellows but also to be in position to receive the many blessings that could come from others. A start!


  3. Joshua

    What a tremendous privilege it is to share fruit with you each morning!
    We can all use a little less wishing for things to be different and a little more actually letting them be different. Things are what they are.
    it was once said to me “if you only knew what it took to get you here…..”
    Things around us are always conspiring to bring greater blessings, we just need to be more attentive to the opportunities presence, and as you put earlier this week “Pull the trigger!!!!!!”


  4. Ricardo B.

    I was reading the other day that in times past, we used to put a limit on the excesses of this desire to receive for they brought on problems and conflict. This desire to receive is part of what makes us who we are, but as in everything intrinsic, there is a balance to be found. The philosophies of old, those of the far East as well as those of ancient Greece, talked about tempering the will and found great peace in the relaxation of the desire to receive. That doesn’t mean to eliminate it, but simply to relax and let it unfold naturally in a sense, for you can see that competing wills must have their own aim and there will be friction. This leads to great ambition and great competition, and somehow that just doesn’t sit well in the long run. Some argue well that’s how we progress in society, that’s how things advance – but then again, we must look at the casualties in terms of personal well-being. People live lopsided lives this way and develop highly polarized, one-sided natures where I believe life wants us to develop into well-rounded people, happy people, balanced people.
    What you write is of critical importance here, for to refine our capacity to receive means to relax ambition and trust in the wisdom beyond yourself, or maybe even just to begin to entertain the idea that there is something greater beyond that can help, given the chance, to harmonize things for you. This would entail seeing things differently, seeing opportunity because you are open, seeing every thing in your life as a possibility to enrich your life so you won’t be so one-tracked by simply following your natural strengths. Lots of good can come through this!


  5. strawberryfields

    Thanks for outlining the practical approach to happiness. Complaint and whining become second nature if we don’t get ourselves in check. Does the first thing you think about always involve what’s not happening for you? That’s toddler behavoir and unacceptable even at three. It’s not too late to change it and your life will change if you do.


  6. Scarlett

    I haven’t seen many topics on receiving blessings as usually the focus on giving. However, it’s such an important point and they really are two parts of one thing and you really can’t have one without the other. Your point about the nature of receiving conditioning the experience is well taken (or should I say, received). Demand, greed, desperation, impatience – all of these taint the blessings in life that are actually looking for us to receive them. Based in fear, these feelings do nothing but hurt us and those around us. Why not let go of those feelings (they really suck anyway) and learn to relax and receive with grace and dignity.


  7. Coco

    When we allow our higher nature more room in our heart we see things so differently, often just the opposite. If we’re not seeing the constant flow of blessing the problem is probably what eyes are we looking through. I know for myself the lense of appreciation makes everything different. It’s not like “rose colored glasses” but inspite of the mess in the world I see the hand of the Omnipotent . Beautifully said today, thank you.


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