Giving in the Spirit of the Sun

The 14th century lyrical poet Hafiz spoke often of transcendent love and the boundless treasures available therein when we are open to receiving its precious gift. The mystical muse also extolled the riches of giving — of love, light, and hope — from one’s heart. As we transitioned from the long, warm days of summer into the season of gratitude, I came across this perfectly timed gem:

All this time
The Sun never says

To the Earth,

“You owe me.”

What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the

Whole sky.

Freely given, a love that lights up the entire sky. Can you feel your eyes squint a little against its brilliance? Its radiance warming your skin? Feel its golden glow blooming inside your chest? A splendid gift, borne from the heart and delivered without expectation of recompense. One that is felt, rather than touched, and limitless in its reach.

In kind, this reminded me of wancantognaka from the Lakota Nation culture, the deeply held value of generosity. At times, this giving-away involves material items, yet most often takes the shape of emotionally giving — kindness, compassion, love, and goodwill — and through imparting knowledge, wisdom, insights, and guidance. Like the sun brightening the whole sky, these gifts are felt, rather than touched, and given unconditionally.

Native and many other cultures throughout history imparted their gifts orally, often through storytelling. Each offer of insight, bit of wisdom, tale of lessons hard learned, and pearl of ancient knowledge becomes a thread, weaving together a colorful tapestry that teaches and nurtures its recipients. And when the beneficiaries of these precious gifts choose to share with others the stories they received, in addition to their own new stories, the fabric of generational legacies and traditions becomes infinite, filling the whole sky.

The Lakota sacred tradition of generosity is firmly rooted in the belief that by giving freely from the heart without expectation of reciprocation, we are indeed giving ourselves a gift. By sharing with an open heart, we become active contributors to the creation and expansion of a rich heritage that nourishes us and those who will come after us, just as it did those who came before. Felt, rather than physically touched, we can experience the joy of being part of something magical and vast. As we give to others, we are also giving to ourselves.

This week, Thanksgiving will be upon us, a time where many gather to share in a meal, enjoy the warmth of fellowship, savor old traditions, and build new ones. A time to give thanks for the profound impact generosity has on our lives and those around us and the abundance it creates, not just in the material form, but in the untouchable, felt treasures of love, guidance, hope, and wisdom.

This year, do you have a memory to share? A piece of delicious wisdom to impart? A few kind words to give of your love, gratitude, and care? How about a story of a time you’ve been moved, inspired, or touched in a moment of synchronicity or surprise? In this spirit of giving with a full heart and without expecting anything in return, we are weaving our threads into the universal and generational fabric that has enfolded us since the beginning of time.

In this sense, Thanksgiving (or perhaps any other day), becomes a profound reminder that true abundance lies not in the material, but in the boundless generosity of sharing who we are, and acknowledging the transformative power of heartfelt giving, the kind that lights the whole sky.