When I remember to do this, I spend a bit of time in the morning thinking of and setting an intentional practice for the day to come. There are a few favourites on the mental list to choose from….compassion is one, inner calm another. This morning, it was generosity. Having had a birthday not long ago I still feel buoyed by the wave of sweet love given so generously by family and friends. I am reminded that the generosity of others allows me to feel valued, to know I belong. And being generous has all kinds of health benefits as this research shows: Associate Professor and researcher Elizabeth Dunn found that people experience greater happiness when spending money on others rather than themselves (Science); meta-analysis by Morris Orkun and colleagues found volunteering reduces the risk of premature death in older adults by 24%(repository.asu.edu) and Brown and her colleagues have shown that helping behavior among older adults is associated with accelerated recovery from depressive symptoms that accompany spousal loss (Brown, Brown, House, & Smith, 2008)
It’s a valuable exercise to think about life in this moment and make a list of everything that is in it that is as a direct result of someone else’s generosity.
In “The Book of Joy” (HH Dalai Lama&Desmond Tutu) three kinds of generosity are mentioned: Material giving, giving freedom from fear (which can involve protection, counselling, or solace) and spiritual giving (giving your wisdom, moral and ethical teaching, and helping people to be more self-sufficient and happier). So many ways to be generous. As for me, I am doing ok realizing today’s intention