Generosity makes everyone involved feel good. Both the recipient and the giver derive pleasure from the act of sharing, albeit in different ways. (It’s better to give than to receive?) Generosity is one of the easiest ways to instantly manifest joy, to create what’s commonly understood as “good energy.”
We all like getting surprises; we all like being thought of by others. What’s less universally appreciated is the benefits that accrue to the giver: a sense of well-being, of bigheartedness, of grace. When you give from the heart, you have no motive other than to brighten the life of someone else; when you do, the sun shines on both of you.
“Give until it hurts” is a popular credo in the political bribery industry. But true generosity involves no pain. As the kids say, it’s all good.
We’ve been making a point of reminding ourselves to be generous, especially when negative conditioning nudges us towards selfishness. We try to share instead of hoard. We try to recognize what we have too much of – strictly speaking, more than we need – and figure out who (besides ourselves) might benefit. Giving something you have extra of – food, money, things – to someone else is a tiny but intentional way to infinitesimally restore equilibrium to a badly imbalanced world. It also forces the giver to momentarily think of creatures other than himself, and that’s a neat trick.
Americans, perhaps we’re not as generous in our giving and sharing simply because we’ve been trained by our popular culture to put ourselves at the center of the known universe, as well as many realms of the unknown. YOU deserve a vacation. This is MYspace. The first letter in “important” is I. The ME generation. Also, not that this is a big deal or anything, but we Americans collectively agree to an organizational system known as “free market capitalism” in which profit is paramount and wealth (and, for the losers, poverty) is the cherished goal, the compelling reason to get up in the morning and work instead of live. Capitalism insists that you put yourself ahead of all others, that you literally profit at the expense of others. So generosity isn’t top of mind when you’re trying to make it, or have made it, or are concerned that you haven’t made it enough, or are convinced you’ll never make enough.
We’re here to testify that the the whole generosity vibe is a good deal, as the NASCAR folk might say. Anonymous generosity is probably the most gracious and profound form, so in that spirit we’ll refrain from cataloguing our initiatives. Instead, we’ll recognize your generosity of time and attention and bring this homily to a close.
That seems like the most generous thing to do.