Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”
— Simone Weil
True generosity also requires non-attachment to outcome. We give freely, without conditions on how gifts are used or whether something is received in return. This sort of giving has nothing to do with I, me or mine – it is free from ego. Through the act of giving, something precious is received – essentially the giver and receiver become one. Giving without attachment to ego or outcome connects us with the whole of humanity and awakens us to our true nature.
- Be generous with yourself; give yourself time and compassion.
- Be present for others, allow yourself to be authentic; don’t mask your feelings or who you are.
- Allow others to be themselves.
- Truly listen and pay attention to others.
There are several studies that show kindness and generosity can have a whole range of benefits:
- It can make us happier. This might mean spending money on others; it might mean volunteering, it might be something as simple as a smile.
- It can relieve pain. Performing acts of kindness and generosity releases endorphins that can interrupt the transmission of pain signals through the brain.
- Practising the kindness meditation can increase feelings of positive emotions such as love, joy, gratitude, contentment, hope, interest, amusement and awe.
However kindness does come with a health warning
- When we spend all of our time caring for others and forget about ourselves we can become exhausted and burnt-out.
- It is therefore important to be generous to yourself as well as other people – even if this means saying no occasionally!
For more on the benefits of kindness, see ‘Why Kindness is Good for You’ by David Hamilton
Generosity in practice
We are usually pretty good at being kind and generous to others. It is kindness towards ourselves that we often find more challenging. Meditation itself is an act of generosity towards ourselves. Spending time doing things that are nourishing, as well as doing for others is a way of practising generosity. When we remember our own shared humanity, why would we treat ourselves any differently to anyone else?
If you would like to practice generosity by supporting Mindful Therapies, you can do so for free by joining easyfundraising: