12-8-19 Generosity – Honesty

Generosity – Honesty

In active addiction, we are not generous or honest. We’re self-serving, dishonest and very unhappy, no matter how often we get what we want. After our main addiction is addressed, we can still have a fearful state of mind, which will make us afraid to be authentic, honest and kind. We learn to work with the barriers that keep us from being fulfilled, and can seem to make some headway, but we may still wonder why we have not progressed further. Why we are not happier?  

We then realize that we can’t diminish or get rid of our shortcomings if we are constantly engaged in them. When a thought that is self-demeaning, dishonest or unkind begins, we must first recognize it, and then choose not to “go with it” as we have so many times before.  Instead, we must REPLACE it with a more courageous thought and an action of kindness and honesty.

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

We may fear that others will take advantage of us if we are of a generous nature. And, as we grow spiritually, our wisdom in knowing what to engage in and what to avoid also grows. We begin to trust ourselves, and we connect with healthier people and activities.

In the words of Anne Frank, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”

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. When we are generous, are we doing so in order to GET something back or to manipulate others? Generosity must be simply giving because it is the right thing to do. We give without expectation of reward from the recipient and we place no conditions on the gift. Our motivation for giving to others is at least as important as what we give.

We also experience sympathetic joy. That means we rejoice in the happiness of someone else rather than feeling what we could so easily feel…envy, jealousy, or a desire for them to be just a little less happy so we can feel happier about our own state. Which is selfishness, not generosity.                                                                                                                                                                                   

In our closing dedication, the last line, which is the culmination of the others and hopefully remains in our minds, is “May I be a source of healing for all beings.” We can only help heal others to the degree that we have healed ourselves.

“You will discover that you have two hands.  One is for helping yourself, and one is for helping others.” — Audrey Hepburn

“People who love themselves come across as very loving, generous and kind; they express their self-confidence through humility, forgiveness and inclusiveness.” — Sanaya Roman

“Who will be the happiest person? The one who brings happiness to others.” — Swami Satchidananda

If I am not touching a life, I am not touching life.

Kindness without honesty is not really kindness; it is looking for a reward.  And honesty without kindness is not really honesty; it is meanness.
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 we try to provide that for them, whether or not it fits with us. This is Idiot Compassion. For example, we might take on more work than we can comfortably manage in order to help others. 

In a conflict, we might lie about what we find difficult about someone in order to save them pain, or we are afraid of any conflict. When we are not honest it confuses others, and does not help them. As Buddha said, “Better to be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie.”  Compassionately slapped, of course.

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. But I will recognize the truth in what they say. Whenever I let go of my ego and engage my honesty I begin to grow up. It’s actually an amazingly wonderful feeling.

I also appreciate it when I can be honest and kind to myself. When I can recognize that I am demeaning myself or catering to another’s wishes when I don’t want to, I realize I need to see the larger picture with them AND ME as equal partners. I may need to kindly say “no,” or to revise what’s happening. I do not live to be solicitous of others’ demands, or to my desire 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 let it go. I graciously accept their generosity also.

As I begin to find courage and a discipline to be kind and generous, my life lightens up. Both lighter as in ‘less of a weight on me,’ and lighter as in ‘I see further and with more clarity.’ Where has this amazing world been? Ah! It was there all along…I was just too busy looking at myself to see it.

Have the willingness to pay attention to how your interactions feel to you. Take that awareness with you all the time.  When you feel the resistance to be genuinely honest and generous, find the courage to step out of your habitual behavior and grow. Take a breath, find the courage to Be.

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 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