03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Is Santa The Greatest Yogi?

Santa rocks! Who loves us more than Santa? Who do we love more in return? Yet Santa is not just a jolly old guy in a red outfit. A true Yogi is someone who embodies love, generosity and great wisdom, and Santa is a remarkable example of such qualities, which we may all want to emulate:

1. He makes us do good and feel good. Now that's a big one, as many of us often act selfishly and badly.

2. He gives, endlessly, to everyone, all over the world, without discrimination, all at pretty much the same time. This indicates a truly generous heart, one that takes great joy in giving, without needing to receive.

3. Yet he does not give blindly. Rather he judges what is the most appropriate gift for each. This shows great discernment, as giving needs wisdom in order to be of most benefit.

4. He encourages rituals and invokes magic in every child's life: letter writing, stocking filling, decorations, parades, milk and cookies. Ritual is an essential part of honoring that which is greater than us, and magic is the beauty of the unknown.

5. He listens to our pleas and requests and reads our letters. Meaning that he takes the time to hear us and pays attention, which we could all do a lot more of.

6. He has great psychic powers: he flies in the sky with reindeer, descends chimneys without getting covered in soot, goes by many names and forms, and is extraordinarily elusive. Has anyone actually ever seen him?

7. He knows where we live. In other words, he is inside every one of us.

8. Most importantly, he lifts our spirits at the darkest time, bringing us laughter and joy, which is undoubtedly the greatest gift of all.

Through giving to others, a la Santa, we get away from selfishness and neediness, and in the process see our own self-centeredness in greater perspective. It connects us to the basic goodness within us, a quality of kindness that is easy to lose touch with. Giving--whether a smile, our time, a listening ear, food or material gifts--is profoundly joyful, both to the one who is receiving and the one who is giving. The essence of this is an open heart, a free mind, and a blissful spirit.

If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. Bob Hope

True generosity is giving without any thought of getting or receiving; it is unconditional, unattached, free to land wherever it will. Through giving and sharing in this way, we soon find that we do not lose anything; we do not have any less. Rather, we gain so much.

We were doing a booksigning at a bookstore in California and had arrived early so as to avoid the rush-hour traffic. As Deb talked with the bookshop owner, Ed chatted to a customer in the store, a man who was training to be a Zen priest. Then we left to get something to eat at a Chinese restaurant across the street. As we were eating, the man Ed had been talking to came in, nodded to us, then walked to the back of the restaurant. A while later he came back. As he passed our table he stopped and simply said, "Your dinner is paid for." Then he left. We were stunned by such a kind and generous act, and the warm memory of it has stayed with us.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill

Is there a Santa in your heart? Do you have any great Santa stories? What does generosity mean to you? Do comment below. You can receive notice of our blogs every Tuesday by checking Become a Fan at the top.

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Ed and Deb Shapiro's new book, BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You And The World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors such as Marianne Williamson, astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Beckwith, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jane Fonda, Jack Kornfield, Byron Katie, Dean Ornish, Seane Corn, Dan Millman, Ed Begley Jr. and others is published by Sterling Ethos. Deb is the author of the award-winning book YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND. Ed and Deb are the authors of over 15 books, and lead meditation retreats and workshops. Enjoy their 3 meditation CD's: Metta - Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi - Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra - Inner Conscious Relaxation, available on their website: