As seen from the natural state, what’s the essence of generosity?
The essence is caring for another.
The essence is a moment of self-forgetfulness, in which a seeing of the other has a chance to arise.
The essence is the rise of a desire to assist, to extend a helping hand, to clear a space for another to enjoy, heal, and come alive again.
What’s the reward for generosity? That’s where our spiritual currency comes in. Bliss is the reward for generosity. Bliss, love, joy – those are really coin of the realm. The higher realm. What we experience in return for our generosity is bliss.
I had the example of generous people presented to me when I was young. Like the couple who, in the late 1960s, when Mother separated from Dad, which in those days was a matter of shame, would come visit and leave Mom a $50 bill under her pillow. In those days that was a small fortune. We looked at it with open mouths of amazement.
Or the entire group that she organized who worked as volunteer usherettes at the new Queen Elizabeth Theatre when it was built. They generously gave their time to help theater patrons in a day before voluntarism was widespread.
Or Uncle Tip or Uncle Herman, whose very natures exuded generosity. A ready smile, a helping hand, a tendency to put themselves last.
Or my brother and sister-in-law who in 1970 bought me three expensive bags of groceries from the corner grocery store on a Sunday night, rescuing me the minute they heard that my fridge was empty. They could have waited till Monday morning and paid half the cost. But no, they couldn’t wait to make the statement that they would not watch me starve.
These people made an indelible impression on me, one I was drawn to emulate. And soon I’ll be able to.
Which would you have: Endless wealth or endless bliss? If you answered wealth, you clearly haven’t experienced bliss. And you will.
The only value of endless wealth would be to purchase endless bliss by giving most of that wealth away. Not all of it. Of course not. But enough that we feel it.
No bliss comes from getting as much as possible and giving away as little as possible. That may (or may not) work for animals but it won’t work for us.
“Generosity” begs our conviction that we’ll survive in life without needing to hoard everything that comes our way. It presupposes that we have enough faith in God, Providence and the universal laws that we can entertain and act on the notion of giving at all – and giving without an expectation of return. No loans. Just gifts.
Generosity is made easy by unitive consciousness and transformative love. The farther one is from those two, the more difficult generosity becomes and the more the excercise of the generosity muscle is needed.
Generosity, when it becomes contagious, sees one person pass something along to someone else, who passes something along to someone else, and so on, until it comes back again to the original gifter, not necessarily in that order. Those who wish to jump the line can pay it forward. And, yes, random acts of kindness are (almost) always in order. (1)
On the Gender Equality Project, we’ll have to gift with caution. Put $50,000 into the hands of an Afghan woman and you may have signed her death warrant. Try to force western medicine on an African village and you may turn husband against wife. Discernment will need to temper generosity.
Generosity at essence is offering an open heart to others. It’s like saying “I love you” with currency and the appropriate return is a simple “Thank you.” Exchange complete.
Let us be a channel of thy abundance, Holy Father; a steward of thy bounty, Divine Mother.
(1) Some discernment is required. Those on the downslope, the decline may only use the gift of money to feed a habit or addiction. Due diligence is always assumed.