We’re exploring what it means to be GENEROUS this month…
August 1st marks the half-way point to fall. It’s that time of year when the earth begins to share her treasures. Where we live, the apples are growing red and fat, green grapes are ripening to purple, pears are making branches heavy… Everything is in an outward gesture.
Looking around this time of year, we see that the earth is a great teacher of this heart-quality, generosity. But why should we cultivate this quality? What’s in it for us?!
Here’s what one wise teacher has to say about it:
“Generosity brings happiness at every stage of its expression.
We experience joy in forming the intention to be generous.
We experience joy in the actual act of giving something.
And we experience joy in remembering the fact that we have given.” – The Buddha
So it seems that by giving, we are also receiving. When we cultivate the understanding that we already have enough, the stingy, clinging mind releases. The sensation of scarcity melts into abundance. We experience happiness.
We’ll be sharing generosity practice with the children at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center tomorrow. As I imagine speaking to those big-eyed angels, I keep seeing this gesture of hands opening — of offering. Just moving our hands like this — first holding them close to our chest, then opening them wide from the heart — brings a sensation of our heart opening. It feels good. It’s freeing. Like sharing our only cookie with a friend.
These open hands are also the gesture of letting go. Of releasing. Of non-attachment. And when we let go of what we’ve hardened around, of what we expect, of our ideas of right and wrong, we do experience a great joy. Look closely at the word “forGIVE.” Maybe forgiveness is an act of generosity we give to ourselves.
Vinny Ferraro, one of my teachers in the Mindful Schools year-long certification training, gives a beautiful talk in generosity here. Vinny says, “The path begins with generosity because of the joy and unhindered delight that flows freely there… We can see generosity all around us if we attune our eyes to it. It’s in so many of our moments.”
I hope you’ll join us in attuning to generosity this month. Step outside and see the generous, open sky… breathe in the gift of the trees, feel the life-giving warmth of sun on your face. Every moment offers itself to us freely and generously. All we have to do is notice.
The Children's Program at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center meets the first Sunday of the month -- outside the zendo at 10am. For more information, visit the the website or click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.