I spend a lot of time thinking about life - especially the spiritual life - so I have a lot of theories about it.One of my theories is that life has a lot to do with two types of loving attention: attention to charity, and attention to truth.
With charity it’s about giving and receiving: giving what we can of ourselves to others and You, and opening ourselves to receive what others and You give to us. Charity is a giving and receiving proposition embracing both active and passive modes of being. There is a line from the Prayer of St. Francis that says,"... it is in giving that we receive...” When we give unconditionally we lose a little bit of ourselves. This has a lot to do with the spiritual life.In losing that little bit of self we gain insight into our life and into our relationship with You. We gain some truth; and truth is what we seek and what we need to lock onto.
As a race we are usually much more in tune with the spirit of loving others by giving than we are by receiving. We do love to receive but we are often at a loss to recognize the truth of loving attention in receiving. We, especially in America, are doers. We extol the active role. Giving is, therefore, active and more tangible to us. Giving of our time, money, and self in various ways is all about the spirit of loving attention. But there is much truth to be learned and gained in the spiritual life by cultivating the passive loving attention of opening our minds, hearts, and spirits to receive that which others offer us. It might also be said that in receiving we give. There is much truth here. In the active mode of loving attention to charity we lose self. Losing self makes us better receptors in the passive mode, thus in the passive mode we receive by loving attention to taking in the truth of the other.