Giving and getting presents is a way to happiness. The giving is a great way to be generous. The getting is a great way to be grateful. The exchange is about love. It’s not at all about the present. The present is a token of love, generosity and gratitude. If it were only about the present, we might overlook the love and generosity that went into it. We might miss out on the gratitude, if we become too focused on an object, which might, or might not, bring us happiness.
The gift-wrapped present is a good analogy for our search for our True Nature. We look at ourselves and we see a wrapped gift. We are here because of the generosity and love of others and for that we can feel gratitude. When we look at ourselves as a wrapped present, we can see all the potential of greatness within us. Beneath the wrapping lies the potential for unbounded happiness.
Imagine we are given such a gift and told what is inside. We can’t wait to unwrap it, so we tear into it. Then we find another wrapped box. For a while that is amusing, but as we keep unwrapping layer after layer, we lose sight of the generosity and love that created the present and we become too busy trying to get at that happiness inside to feel gratitude.
We get so caught up in ripping through the layers of wrapping that we miss how carefully and beautifully each layer is wrapped. Getting to the center becomes a tedious chore. Because we know that the gift contains unlimited happiness, we slog on, layer after layer, hoping that the next layer will be the last. Even though we would like to get through all that wrapping, we have other things to do with our lives than unwrap an impossibly concealed treasure.
Fortunately, we got the gift down to a size that we can put it in our pocket and work at it in the few spare moments in our busy schedules and in the middle of the night when we can’t sleep.
Carrying that gift around, however, begins to affect our lives. With unlimited happiness in our pocket, we don’t get so concerned with the ups and downs of our busy lives. Whenever we get overwhelmed and lose touch with love and generosity and gratitude, we can sit down and unwrap a few more layers of our present. That brings us great peace.
Whether or not we ever get to the unlimited happiness at the heart of our gift, depends on how we approach it. When trying to get to the center of the present has filled us to overflowing with gratitude, love and generosity, then naturally, we will give our gift away.