A speaker at a conference I attended advised people to give people anything they asked for a day and watch what happened inside and out. He was encouraging people to play around with the idea of generosity.
Generosity is one of the Buddhist paramitas. The way I learned it, and there are three types of generosity.
- Stuff – you can give money or other material things.
- Attitudes – you can approach life with fearlessness and other positive perspectives as a gift to the people around you.
- Information – (traditionally: Dharma) you can teach people what you know.
In Buddhist thought, the lines separating you from me are artificial. There is no sense that if I give you some I will have less. What I have, I can share. (At the same time, teachers warn against “idiot compassion.” It’s not necessarily a good idea to give all you can give.
In your journal:
- What might change if you saw everyone (including yourself) as parts of one great organism?
- What stuff do you give now? How do you feel about it? Would you like it to change?
- What attitudes are you communicating? How do you feel about it? Would you like it to change?
- How and what do you teach?
- “Generosity is…”