Generosity Through Giving … and Letting Go

Giving and Letting Go walk hand in hand. Both help us open ourselves to compassion for the suffering and need in the world; both help foster generosity.

This is more than just cultivating a spirit of altruism and philanthropy, or embracing a spirit of doing good. Giving and Letting Go teaches us to see, feel, act and grow. It draws us out of our small selves–that part of us which is concerned mostly with filling our desires and meeting our own needs–and asks us to look beyond ourselves. To recognize our kinship with others, and value their happiness and well-being, not just mere survival. Giving and Letting Go asks us to place the well-being of others on the same level of concern as our own.

Generosity is letting go of ourselves through our connection with others

Inter-being teaches us that there is no separate self apart from everything else in the world. I am because everything else is. Everything in this world is interconnected and interdependent. When we damage others, including the earth itself, we ultimately damage ourselves.

Take the chair you’re sitting in for instance. The sun, rain and soil were necessary to make the the tree that became the wood for this chair. The fibers that became the seat were derived from plants made into fabric. Someone had to fashion the wood into the back, seat and legs.  Another person had to make the fabric. Yet another person had to assemble them. Some people were parents to these individuals, going back into countless generations. The company that made the chair had to be in business requiring the work of many people. The finished chair needed to be transported by a truck and driver to the store and eventually make its way to you.

Take away any critical piece in this interconnected chain if events and the chair ceases to exist. The same is true of anything. The well-being of each one of us depends on the well-being of everything else. When one piece suffers, we all suffer, ultimately, and become less than what we could be.

Self-indulgence ultimately brings suffering`

The key question is, “So why should that matter to me? I can live just fine in my bubble world, enjoying what I have, thank you very much. If I am one of the haves and I am doing just fine, what does it matter to me if the have-nots go without? Why should I share or make sacrifice?”

I am not sure I know how to answer that question. Except to say I have noticed that when we live mostly for ourselves and seek to meet only our own needs and indulge our own desires, we are not happy. We suffer. We may think we are happy. We may experience pleasure, but it is fleeting and in the end, we are left feeling empty and dissatisfied.

It is painful to watch others suffering without something they need all the while knowing you are not.

Generosity is giving more of ourselves by living for others

Generosity and sharing breaks down barriers between “Us and Them”–between nations, races, genders and religions. Helps us understand more about things we share in common than our differences. Ultimately, we are one humanity sharing one planet. That is why love, compassion and empathy for others makes us a better people. It enhances our better selves; brings joy and happiness. This is something that living for one’s self alone, indulging one’s desires, could never fill.

Living for others produces a greater sense of inner harmony and peace within myself.

Whatever divinity is, I have come to believe that we are most divine when we love and show compassion for all beings. This realization has helped me see the order and beauty in the universe.

And so, perhaps the greatest challenge for us as individuals is to grow beyond our small selves and let go in order to give more of ourselves to others in this world we all share.

Think about it. Go Well.


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