Withholding Does Not Enrich Us

Withholding Does Not Enrich Us

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The quote below is by Paul Arden in his book “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.” When I saw it I really resonated with it on several levels and wanted to share it with you. I find it to be a helpful standpoint both in creative endeavors and in spiritual life. Here it is:

“Do not covet your ideas. Give away everything you know and more will come back to you. … People are secretive with ideas. ‘Don’t tell them that, they’ll take credit for it.’ The problem with hoarding is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually you become stale. If you give away everything you have, you are left with nothing. This forces you to look, to be aware, to replenish. Somehow the more you give away, the more comes back to you. Ideas are open knowledge. Don’t claim ownership. They’re not your ideas anyway. They are out there floating on the ether. You just have to put yourself in a frame of mind to pick them up.”

The Bible says it is “more blessed to give than receive,” and Mary Baker Eddy says, “Giving does not impoverish us… neither does withholding enrich us.” We can share our inspiration, because there will always be more, for we are not the source of it. Mrs. Eddy also councils, “Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more.”

I often think about Jesus encouraging us to put a light on a candlestick instead of hiding it under a bushel.  On the candlestick, you might think it is vulnerable because it is exposed, but actually that is where it has the oxygen it needs to thrive. It lights up the room not only for you but everyone else as well. And even though it seems safer to hide your light, it will suffocate under the bushel for lack of air, so actually hoarding what you have to give quenches it instead of saving it.

Spend out, and use what you have. Again Eddy says, “Give them a cup of cold water in Christ’s name, and never fear the consequences,”  and “you will have all you need at every moment.” Generosity is never remiss. Not only will those you share it with give thanks, you will more than benefit from the exchange.

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I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.

1 Comment

  1. Rachel T 9 years ago

    Soo many gems of quotes in this post – thank you, Polly, for putting them all together! And the sentiment is so appreciated, so fundamental…I remember my mom teaching us to do good “for goodness’s sake”. In other words, to give and do good deeds without ulterior motives or expectation for what you’ll get in return. Just do good and be generous because it is the right way to be. Later in life, I remember so well a related conversation with a woman I was staying with for a few months who was like a mother figure to me. I had told her how grateful I was to have joined a church where I felt I could “get as much as I give.” In my mind at the time it seemed perfectly reasonable to be thinking about what I was going to get from my church community. But this woman rebuked me lovingly and very firmly. She said, “It’s ALL about what you give.” Her statement nearly literally knocked me backward, as it rang so true. I felt the strength of her rebuke and it changed me instantaneously. From that moment forward, I’ve been more able and free just to give, give, give selflessly without expecting something in return. I’m so grateful for that lesson and for all the powerful teachers/exemplars in my life.

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