… receiving .

I used to be part of a family-of-heart, The Sufi Way, for many years. Various fateful events in 2004 made the hub of this family move to the USA. In the wake of this loss, a group of local UK friends huddled together to hold and honour the memory of a place, friendships, and the gifts of remarkable teachings we had received.

Now our small group has lost a dear friend, who unfailingly showed up and contributed to monthly events we organised together.  His Sufi name was Aranth. He was called to move on, much too young, with many projects on the go. We miss him very much. May his guiding spirits bring him home.

In a moment when I strongly sensed his presence, received his being, something fell into place. He liked to give, and loved it when his giving was received. He was giving generously of his attention, his presence, and the embodied wisdom of his experiences.

So I pondered about how we receive. Today, when everything has a price, giving can be regarded with suspicion. Or a too well-meaning parent may have set up a default warning against receiving anything with strings attached, a condition I battled with in my early years, which made me super-independent, and hesitant to ask for support when I needed it. And there is the profusion of good advice, from self-help books, quotes of gurus, or recipes – like how to write a book in 30 days. The growth industry of advice-giving requires a filter, firm choices as to how we spend our time, and what we open up to.

Yet something given from the core of our being resonates subtly, is easily absorbed, and nourishes the giver and the receiver in lasting ways. To Aranth, this kind of giving was as natural as breathing. It’s how I’ll remember him.

Here the story of a small workshop he offered some years ago, on money, and the various ways in which money is perceived – as energy, power, or talent. We stood in a circle and Aranth pulled a substantial bundle of £50 banknotes from his pocket. Our eyes popped. There was once a period in my life when £ 50 notes wandered through my purse, but not then. ‘Go on, let it go round,’ he said. With a mischievous smile he proceeded to feed the crisp notes into our circle, clockwise. ’Faster!’ he said.

Many fascinating processes happened among us. In the rush of energy, bank notes would take on a life of their own. They would stick to hands and accumulate, or notes were dropped in confusion. Some people got impatient when the flow was held up. And there were those who quickly handed the cash on to the next person as if the notes singed their hands – I was among that group. ‘How comfortable are you dealing with energy, money?’ Aranth asked. ‘There would be enough for everybody if it was allowed to circulate and flow freely.’ Yes, there is that, a fact of life, money gets hoarded and piled up in oxbows. But what about people handing on energy too fast, like I was in the habit of doing?

My lasting insight during that day was – insufficiency, as well as sufficiency, are states within us. And our environment tends to confirm the state within us. I gradually managed to stop worrying about money. Yes, it would be nice for a few wants to materialise, but I always seemed to have enough of what I need. Attending to my inner state, I shifted my focus towards holding and developing my talents.

unfading rose

I receive Aranth’s giving that day, and benefited  Yet many times a giving is concealed to me, or appears like an obstruction, and I miss its blessing. Like the beggar in a Hindu story, who stumbled over a sack of rags and cursed, not realising it contained gold.

As it happens often, it is only when we lose someone who has been part of our life that we are able to gage the depth of what we were able to receive. When a giving is truly received and valued, something of beauty is exchanged that lives on – like the unfading rose.

So I figure, this little quote they assign to you, dear St Francis of Assisi

‘It is in giving that we receive,’

has its equally valid mirror … ‘It is in receiving that we give.’

I imagine the Saint would have smiled and agreed.


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26 responses to “… receiving .

  1. Monika

    beautifull Ashen, thank you


  2. silentnovelist

    This feels like a blessing, Ashen, amidst the sad reality of the loss of your dear friend. Thank you. At a time when I am going back to full time employment in the commercial world (in order to keep our home), this also feels as though you are speaking to me directly. You give so generously of your spirit, I hope you know how much I have received from you during these last few years. Far more than I express in my inadequate responses to your blog. I feel your presence like a guiding light – that’s how I sense you. Diana x


  3. Yes, it is an acquired ability, receiving. Knowing when to stand still, mind open, and just inhale. How many of us hurry about our day, cursing at stacks of rags in our path? You were lucky to know this man and I thank you, as always, for sharing your inspirations.


  4. What a wonderful post and a lovely tribute to your dear friend. Terry Pratchett has said often in his books that a man is never dead while his name is spoken and so your friend, I am sure will live forever in your hearts and your minds. There is also a spiritualist piece talking about death, one little part of it which I love says that “The stars go down to shine upon a fairer shore” I am sure that Aranth’s spirit is shining brightly on a beautiful shore.


  5. Ashen, your depth of thought has touched my heart…as did the presence of Aranthe….i love the energy that you have given and shared, inspired by a dear one, now moved on….Please keep giving of your self in such a creative and sensitive way…it helps the Universe to turn, and my heart to open.

    Love and Light your way,


  6. Ashen, this is my favourite of your posts that I’ve read, so far. It has also come into my life at a very appropriate time, when I am thinking a lot about the nature of receiving. Thank you for your gift.


  7. Derek

    More than once my spontaneous gifts have been met with suspicion. But that’s an aside, thanks for another insight into the character of this wonderful man i would like to have known better


  8. Hi Derek. I’m working on this. My deeper receiving may improve the reception of my giving. An aside, Aranth wrote three books in the last few years. They all need more editing, but I heard his daughter feels inspired to take the task in hand.


  9. nicely put, Ashen. I often think we need to reinforce the flow and remove the blockages, then our society would breathe freely


    • When I left a comment on your G-whatever receptor post earlier, ending with ‘humans are amazing,’ I had in mind an incident earlier – the tiniest trace of smell I picked up when collecting the wheelie bin from the road. While rolling the thing over the sewage cover, I bent down on a whim and lifted it. This hasn’t happened for years, but there’s a blockage in there. Freeing it will be my contribution to flow tomorrow.


  10. Oh I would love to read what he has written (and would offer to help with editing, should his daughter want/need help). I hope he is in a happy place where he can breathe and move free and easy.
    This is a lovely piece – in my projects I think I am maybe starting to find a balance between giving and receiving as both are part of the same cycle with the books / space.
    Thanks for throwing light in this. xx


    • Thanks, Amina, Ruth suggested we should offer support with editing, Brilliant. After the stressful time for the family, of coming to terms with the loss, I’ll communicate your offer.
      The cycle of giving and receiving, yes, there is much food for thought. Let me know what you come up with.


  11. Quietly moving, hauntingly true, simple, beautiful. Well done, Ashen. I hope the loss of Aranth’s presence is not too raw for you. Think of him smiling, his laugh, his spirit…I do this for those I have lost and it never fails to bring a smile, albeit a sad one. Like the shadows we cast, there is always a vacancy there, the physical space in which someone occupied and the lack of it is always noticable. But memories are precious especially of those small but special moments. 🙂 xx


  12. Pingback: Money and the Paradigm Shift. « LIFE HARMONY

  13. thank you for sharing your thoughts, they bring a lot of memories to my mind that make my smil

    Liked by 1 person

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