3-26-17 Generosity – Honesty

Generosity – Honesty

A true spiritual life is not possible without a generous heart. The path begins there because of the joy that arises from a generous heart. Pure unhindered delight flows freely when we practice generosity. We experience joy in forming the intention to give, in the actual act of giving, and in recollecting the fact that we’ve given. Generosity is the beginning of the path.

Therefore, the practice of generosity is about creating space. We see our limits and we extend them continuously, which creates an expansiveness and spaciousness of mind that’s deeply
composed. There’s tenderness, that trembling of the heart that’s a responds to a being generous to ourselves and others.
Generosity includes charity, or giving material help to people in want. It also includes giving spiritual guidance to those who seek it and loving kindness to all who need it. However, one’s motivation for giving to others is at least as important as what is given. Attachment, then, comes from a habit of mind that sorts the world into “me” and “everything else.” Attachment leads to possessiveness and a tendency to manipulate everything, including people, to your own personal advantage.
We also experience sympathetic joy. That means we rejoice in the happiness of someone else rather than feeling what we can so easily feel—envy, jealousy and wanting them to be just a little bit less happy so we can feel a little more happy about our own state. Which is selfishness, not happiness.

AA literature talks about speech. “Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen.” We can neither think nor act to good purpose until the habit of self restraint has become automatic.”
The restraint of speech is not, however only about refraining from wrong speech, but about actively making our words a gift. Do we consider others before we speak, or are we all about ourselves?

I may feel the fear that others will take advantage of me if I am of a generous nature. As we grow in extending ourselves, our natural wisdom in knowing what to engage in and what to avoid also grows. We begin to trust ourselves.
What is wrong motivation? These include being shamed or intimidated into giving; giving to receive a favor; giving to feel good about yourself. These are impure motivations. So, we give without expectation of reward from the recipient and we place no conditions on the gift. One’s motivation for giving to others is at least as important as what is given.
In our closing dedication the last line, which I see as the culmination of the others, and hopefully remains in our minds is – “May I be a source of healing for all beings.” We cannot be the source of healing for others, if we are not ourselves healed.
“People who love themselves come across as very loving, generous and kind; they express their self-confidence through humility, forgiveness and inclusiveness.”
Who will be the happiest person? The one who brings happiness to others.”

I’ve never heard anyone say, “I wish I hadn’t forgiven.”
“If I am not touching a life, I am not touching life.”
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Kindness without honesty is not really kindness, and honesty without kindness is not really honesty.
If we are keen to be good for the people in our lives, and if we strive not to harm anybody, we may find ourselves sacrificing honesty for kindness. We pick up on what people around us seem to want from us and try to provide that for them, whether or not it fits with us.
So, for example, we might take on more work than we can comfortably manage in order to help others, claiming that we’re fine. In a conflict we might lie about what we find difficult about somebody in order to save them pain.
If we are honest with somebody without thinking compassionately about that person then we are not being fully honest with ourselves, or with them.

Kindness to ourselves enables us to look honestly at what we bring to the situation, without being overwhelmed by  guilt and shame when we realize that we are also being imperfect people and contributing to conflict, confusion and pain. Dr. MEG-JOHN BARKER

I appreciate it when someone can be honest and kind to me. If they act in that manner, I may not care for their response if I am looking for validation of my ego, or trying to avoid the truth, or promote a false but familiar deception about my needs. But I will probably recognize the truth in what they say.
I also appreciate it when I can be honest and kind to myself. When I can recognize I am demeaning myself or catering to anothers wishes when I do not want to, I realize I need to see the larger picture with them, AND ME included as equal partners. I may well need to kindly say no, or to revise what is happening. I do not live to cater to others demands, or to my need to isolate and not be touched by the world, or to control the world as if it is mine. I do not force my goodness on others, I offer it, and graciously accept their generosity also.

As I grow and am more aware of how I am acting and why, the world and my heart open up and life becomes brighter. I become more at ease, and the joy of living generously and honestly is a lightness that uplifts my heart and soul.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
“The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.”
Heart Of Recovery web site – fcheartofrecovery.com