12-13-20 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 being generous to ourselves and others.

Generosity includes charity, or giving material help to people in want when you can. It also includes giving spiritual guidance to those who seek it and perhaps most importantly, loving kindness to all as a general state of mind. However, one’s motivation for giving to others is at least as important as what is given. We must give freely without an attachment to the result of our giving. Attachment 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. Some may seem generous, but if their motivation is for a certain return to benefit them, it is impure.

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.

We can also experience sympathetic joy. That means we rejoice in the happiness or success 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 or successful, so we can feel a little more happy about our own state. This is envy and 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? 

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, become more wise in our choices and know that honestly saying no can be generous, to ourselves and perhaps others. Rather than being caught in fear about the consequences of acting with what we know to be right.

In the Heart of Recovery closing dedication the last line, which is 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. As such, I need to have an awareness of my motivations, be aware of the habitual patterns I have engaged in for my own gratification, or in being too giving. I need to have an awareness, know what a situation feels like, and use the discipline to consider what is generous, beneficial, and honest.

In any addiction our senses, our needs, are oriented towards OURSELVES and away from others in a very sick and toxic manner. We begin to consider our health as we recover, and we begin to get a glimmer that being involved with others and the world in a healthy, compassionate way has great benefits. It is a tricky corner to turn into honesty and compassion, and we need to be diligent in our pursuit and practice of a spiritual life. As soon as we think we GOT IT, or begin slacking off on our spiritual practices we will begin a slow, sometimes unnoticed slide back into selfishness and unhappiness. The result may just be a more unhappy life, or it may lead to a relapse. Many never return from a relapse. Be diligent, be happy.

If something feels off, learn to take a breath and center yourself. Then find the courage to act rightly, through your fear and through your selfishness. The resulting action will feel right.

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

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, even though it is harmful to us.

We may feel the need to care too much for others so that we are harmed or are overwhelmed. If we are honest with somebody without thinking compassionately about them it may be just cruelty. If we are compassionate without honesty we will end up harming ourselves and perhaps enabling another.

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 might 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


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