12-30-18 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 recalling 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 with joyful intention. 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 or pushing others away, and a tendency to manipulate everything, including   people, to your own personal advantage. which can include isolating and being afraid to engage.

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 recognize when someone is trying to manipulate us, and we have compassion for them, and do not enable them. We begin to trust ourselves, and become more honest and kind.  Honesty and kindness MUST go hand in hand, or it is just being rude all dressed up. 

Our motivation for giving to others is at least as important as what is given. 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. In our closing dedication the last line, which I see as the culmination of the others, 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, and then do what we can to help others to not harm themselves.

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.

An addiction promotes dishonesty and selfishness to an extreme. As I am less affected by my primary addiction, I am more honest and kinder. I do have a ways to go with recognizing        opportunities to grow and soften, when I choose to hide in my continous neediness, ego and fear. 

I can learn to use the breath as a tool to calm myself. I utilize it when I am feeling unsure,       aggressive or  fearful. When I feel tension or doubt, I take a few seconds and breathe and relax my mind and body. It helps to then move forward with a more open heart and clearer head. If someone is pressuring you to do something it may be good to tell them you will get back to them later.

I’ve never heard anyone say, “I wish I hadn’t forgiven.” Try being kind, or at least civil, to someone you have difficulty with. Not to gain anything from them or to change them, but just because you should. “If I am not touching a life, I am not touching life.” 

If we want 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, even if it is harming us.

If we are honest with somebody without thinking compassionately about them, it is a form of violence against them and ourselves. Rigorously honest, not brutally honest.

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 need to kindly say no, or to revise what is happening. I do not live to cater to others demands, or to my fearful need to isolate and not be touched by the world. Nor to control the world as if it is mine. I do not force my goodness on others, I offer it, let go, and graciously accept their generosity also.

As I grow and am more aware of how and WHY I am choosing to think and act as I do, 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