Reciprocity is generally defined as the exchange of something between people or groups of people. The origin of the word means “to return the same way.”
We use the word to describe engines with valves that go back and forth. And we use the word reciprocal to describe fractions that get turned upside down—as from 3/4 to 4/3.
If you invite somebody to dinner, they may reciprocate by inviting you to dinner. Or perhaps to something else. There are so many different ways that we might reciprocate. And ultimately, it’s creative when we give back by giving the gift that is truly ours to give.
Plants absorb carbon dioxide. But they don’t give back carbon dioxide; they give back oxygen. That’s their gift. That is how they reciprocate. And so, there is a reciprocation that’s not always the same, and yet there is mutual benefit and an increase of value in the whole system.
There is a magic to reciprocity. We can track it in terms of energy and matter in the world in which we live. We can watch how it works in the world of physical science, and then we can see how it works in our own experience as human beings. We have something to give, back and forth. In the human world, reciprocity often has a financial dimension. We go to the store, we receive some goods, and we give back cash—these days often plastic cash.
It is said that human beings are the crowning creation. We could argue about that—we certainly don’t always act like it. In all this mutual exchange, we might miss out on the crowning exchange that we have a chance to share. That exchange isn’t just of substance and it’s not just of money. In fact, the exchange of physical or financial substance can get in the way of attention to an exchange of something of a spiritual nature. That is an exchange of human energy—of love, of care, and then ultimately of presence. Think of that in terms of reciprocation and going back the other way. And then think of what we have the opportunity to share in the exchange right now. Perhaps the crowning creation is not a thing but an act of spiritual reciprocation.
In the Pulse of Spirit last week, I spoke about Pater and Mater, describing Pater as simply the activating frequency and the Mater as the receptive substance for that activation. For there to be reciprocity, someone has to kick off the exchange with an activating frequency—Pater. For each of us, these questions arise:
What are we willing to put into the duality that we share with another person?
What depth of our own soul are we willing to reveal?
What level of inspiration are we willing to encode into our words? What kindness in our acts?
When we are conscious of such things, the carrier wave of our presence is moving into the relationship from our end of the duality as the Pater, into the Mater of someone else, if they are willing to receive it. To the degree of their openness, there is a carrier wave of presence available to them. There is the energy of our love and the empowerment of it.
In the energy medicine practice, Attunement, an individual session may be about twenty minutes. The practitioner is very deliberately paying attention to the quality of their presence and the quality of their radiation, allowing their energy, extended through their heart and their hands, to be uplifting, empowering and healing to another human being. It is such a beautiful practice. For the practitioner, it gives them an opportunity to pay attention to the quality of presence and energy they are bringing to the time. They have an opportunity to open to the Pater within themselves—the activating frequency—and share it with the person receiving the Attunement.
One of the earliest teachings on Attunement was from its founder, Lloyd Arthur Meeker: According to your response, so is it established unto you. Nothing will happen for the recipient without openness and reception. It is impossible to impose an Attunement on another person.
While an Attunement session has an immediate benefit for the recipient, it is also practice for life and for the reciprocity that we have the opportunity to share in all phases of life. Every exchange, however it might be dressed up, is an opportunity for reciprocity—not only the reciprocity of money as you pay the clerk at the grocery store but a reciprocity of spirit. When you are offering your hard-earned cash for the candy bar or the head of lettuce, there might be something more than that exchanged: an appreciation, a love, an upliftment, a kindness, a blessing, a liberation of spirit, conveyed perhaps in a smile. So much of what breaks down in the world has to do with the breakdown of reciprocity—a failure to give and a failure to receive, ultimately at the level of the human spirit.
Some of the greatest dramas are tragedies of unrequited love—love given but not received or given back. No reciprocity. It makes for great novels or Shakespearean plays. But in many ways, it is the sad drama of humanity, and not just in the world of romance. Patterns of reciprocity break down and the giving and receiving that is natural to us as human beings diminishes. The love that is meant to radiate from us without concern for what is going to come back ebbs. There can be expectations and conditionality. And if so, we fail to access the deeper layers of our love. We fail to come to know that our love is the very nature of our heart and our soul, and that being true to ourselves is being true to that unconditional outpouring.
If we are wise, no matter what happens, we are not falling into a dramatic tragedy of unrequited love. We are falling back into unconditional love, knowing that within us love never faileth; that love in us is a wellspring that just does not stop, no matter what happens, and that it’s given to us every moment of our life, as long as we are there to receive it. And as we do receive it, we have it to give in full measure. So we reciprocate, responding on the inside to the very gift of life, to the fact that we ourselves are loved with a love so precious and so sacred. And then we have it to give to others.
This is the origination of the crowning exchange between us as human beings. It is an exchange of the sacredness of life itself. When we engage in that exchange, we generate a bubble of mutuality. We live with the fruit of our reciprocity, which is the bubble of sacredness we share with another person. Or, if we are lucky enough, with a community of people who have been true to their reciprocity and true to what they share mutually. Then sacredness becomes not only an exchange and a reciprocity—sacredness becomes a living reality. It’s the bubble in which we move. And no matter what external strife there may be—coronaviruses, economic calamities, political calamities or natural disasters—that bubble of sacredness is generated and preserved.
The crowning creation is not just a thing being named. The crowning creation is an act and a process. It is an act of reciprocity. It is an act of creation, not just a name for something that has been created. Our crowning creation is the reciprocity of the highest love between us. It is the reciprocity of sacredness that we know. It is receiving that sacredness and sharing it. That is our crowning act of creation.
Could it be that in the human sphere all the lesser acts of creation are dependent on that crowning act? Could it be that our financial system is so corrupted because at this level of primal exchange there has grown a corruption among us? Could it be that the reciprocity we share with the planet and all the forms of life has broken down because of this?
How could we, as human beings, be in our integrity with other human beings and the planet if this primal level of connection is not in place for us; if we haven’t received on the inside the fullness of what is given to us, and answered back? First of all, in acknowledgment and in appreciation, and then praise, and then love, and then by giving all of who and what we are to the source of life within us. This is the primal reciprocity.
For so many of the religious faiths and spiritual paths in the world, there is a lack of an awareness of the opportunity for this reciprocity. And that is true for many people around the globe. There is often little acknowledgment that a human being has something to give back to God, by whatever name, that is of value. So often the belief is He’s not even listening. He can’t hear you; He’s far away or might not even be there. Your love back doesn’t matter. Your acknowledgment, your praise, your heart, your soul, your spirit, your presence given back doesn’t matter. You, raising your hand, saying, I’m here, I heard you, I receive what you are giving me, you have me, and I’m giving back to you my heart and soul, means nothing. But it means everything.
An interesting thing happens when we reciprocate in that way. We don’t lose our heart and soul. We don’t give it back and then die. We give it back and live. We give it back and then we receive a rush of more. That’s how reciprocity works. It’s a back and forth, it’s a generation. It becomes a mutual building of creative power.
Knowing that mutuality inside ourselves, we know we have it to give and we have it to share. We know that in giving ourselves, heart and soul, to the world in which we live, we are not giving ourselves away. We don’t lose ourselves. How was it said? Those who lose their life shall find it.
How much can we give ourselves away? Giving away our money can be an honorable thing. Giving our money backed by our heart and soul and our spirit is an amazing thing. Our spirit, our soul, our heart, our love could be carried on the wings of our cash in that little exchange at the grocery store. Of course, it’s not just carried through money. It can vibrate through our labors of love, through our artistry, through our words, through our life.
In this Pulse of Spirit, I am very deliberately encoding these words with who I am. These words are vibrating with my spirit. They are bringing the carrier wave of my love and the light of the truth that I am knowing, with the activating frequency of creation.
We have that opportunity in every moment. Sometimes we are more vividly aware of the role we have in this crowning act of creation. But that flow is always there, just as our breath is a constant reciprocity with the plant kingdom.
In the human world, where there is true reciprocity, there is something going back and forth between two people. But something else begins to happen as those two people begin to be lit up with the generation that reciprocity brings. There is an overflow. There is not only a giving back but there is a paying forward. It is hard to be lit up with the reciprocity of the sacred without that happening. When you are really lit up, you light up the world. Even in a romantic sense, when two people are truly in love, they are lighting up their family, their community, and their world. They are paying it forward.
This is the reciprocity of sacredness to which we are called.