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Generosity: An Action That Touches Lives
By Art Ramsay, Ph.D.

 We live in a world where people maintain separation and fear of one another. It is a fear that hides amongst the crowds that fill every city, and shrinks into obscurity. The human race cannot stand itself, yet continues to live in a way that keeps us tied to a misunderstanding and ignorance about who we are.

 Does Mainstream America, let alone the rest of the world, know why they are here? Do they even wonder or ask that question? I doubt that many do, yet the numbers of us who can ask this question get larger everyday. We, the human race, are beginning to discover ourselves.

 For many years, decades even, I wondered how the way we treat each other seems to change a little during what is now called the ‘holiday season’, but then returns to fearful living once more after the ‘season’ is over. Why is that? What is it during (American) Thanksgiving that begins to shift the human psyche to a friendlier and happier way of relating then the rest of the year?

 One word comes to mind to answer the preceding question – generosity. People are more generous during the ‘holiday season’ than the rest of the year. Is it a spiraling desire to give, sparked by fundraising groups and family gatherings that lifts their spirits? Yes, it is similar to people rushing to aid those that have just been through a disaster such as hurricanes Sandy or Katrina.

 What is the difference that the above examples give verses the everyday lives of the same people? The actions in the examples above come from the heart; the rest of the year people come mostly from their heads. There is something about the ‘holidays’ and disasters that takes us out of our heads, if only for moments, so that the response from our hearts can be felt.

 So how does this ‘heartfelt’ response come about sometimes, but not most of the time? We are taught that our brain is the focal point of learning and the source of our responses to life. While this may be true to some extent, it is not the area of our body from which our true nature comes forth. 

Generosity comes from our heart. While it may appear to come from our head, its source is our heart. So how can we move into a more generous way of living? And what will living generously do for us?

 Have you ever noticed that being generous seems to happen almost spontaneous? This is no thinking involved; you just do it. This is because the heart know only Love, and giving is Love expressing. When you stop and think about giving, your brain refers to your subconscious beliefs to make a choice.

 Your ‘hidden’ beliefs come from fear, and fear will stop you from doing what your heart wants to do. Being generous, by the way, is not about money. Generosity can lead to any act of helping someone or something feel better. Sometimes a simple smile to a stranger can reach into the depth of that person’s being.

 Being generous is about stepping out of your ‘me’ zone and giving your time, effort, courtesy, or even money to someone. It usually is spontaneous and responds to someone’s need. Stopping and rescuing a lost animal in the road is an act of generosity.

 What you put out, you get back in similar fashion. A story I heard recently illustrates this truth. A friend was pulling into a parking lot just as someone was pulling out of theirs space, so he stopped and waited. But another car coming from the opposite direction also stopped and waited. My friend felt he was there first and wanted to get that spot. He looked up at the person in the other car who motioned to my friend to go ahead and take the now vacant spot, which he did. As my friend got out of his car, he noticed that the other person had pulled around the parked cars and found a much closer spot to the store.

 We are not generous in order to get something out of it; we are generous because this is who we are. Begin to notice when you feel generous, or respond generously to someone spontaneously. Feel the difference in your body noticing your heart and head areas.

 Do you have to stop and think about giving money to a ‘street person’, or do you just do it? Do you rush to a person’s aid in a store, on the street, or other public places when you notice a need for help? Again, notice where you feel the desire to give, or not, in your body.

 Have you been generous most of your life, or has this desire only surfaced recently? We can be fooled into thinking that the desire to serve or be generous occurs in our head, or not notice where it comes from. For years I served in Lions Clubs participating and creating programs to serve people’s needs. I never noticed that the desire came from anywhere in my body, I just did it. At that time I had no idea of the possibility it was a heart oriented activity.

 Since most of us perform services of generosity without thinking about it, just as I did for the Lions Clubs, we probably feel it is just an aspect of who we are as a human. But it is so much more than that. Pause a moment the next time you serve, giving of your time, talent, or money, and consider what drives you to do this. I think you will soon discover it is Divine Love from your heart that sparks the impulse.

 

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