To say that it is better to give than to receive is like describing a coin by saying that heads are better than tails. Giving and receiving are two sides of the same event. It is better to be aware of both sides. Don’t just put the heads of your coins in the vending machine.
The merits of giving and receiving come in generosity and gratitude. If you can adopt an attitude of generosity as you give and an attitude of gratitude as you receive, then each exchange will generate happiness. To use mindfulness in you daily exchanges, notice the giving and receiving that you do and remember the generosity and gratitude that is available to you in each moment.
You can’t determine which is better between feeling generous and feeling grateful. When you feel generous you give from a place of abundance and offer happiness and wellbeing to others. That always feels great. If it doesn’t feel good, then it is not generosity. When you feel grateful, you acknowledge your good fortune and connect with the abundance that is available to you. In generosity and gratitude, abundance can be anything. It can be food, money, art, beauty, warmth, attention, kindness or love. Like giving and receiving, generosity and gratitude are a single feeling. You can receive with a sense of generosity and give with a sense of gratitude. However you approach it, these attitudes make you feel good and generate happiness.
To practice mindfulness, you can be generous and grateful with every breath. As you breath in, you can be grateful for life and air to breathe. As you breath out, you can offer peace to the world. If you are talking to somebody, you can speak with generosity and offer your kindness and wisdom to others. When you listen, you can quiet your mind and be grateful for somebody to talk to.
As you begin your practice, it’s okay to think that you’re being generous and grateful. It’s okay to remind yourself over and over again to notice how you give and receive. It’s okay to forget that you are breathing and take air for granted. When you create a habit of remembering, you might forget yourself, but still feel generous, grateful and happy.