This last week I heard so many stories about what people would do if they won the lottery. What struck me was the common theme of helping others. One woman said she would pay off her parents’ mortgage, another said she would take her mother on a much-needed vacation. A man said he would pay for college for all his grandkids, another said he’d buy all his kids new cars and new homes. One woman said she would give half to her church. While I am sure they also had a list for themselves, what they spoke of was helping others.
Someone wrote a book entitled Wanting What You Have. It was a guide to inner peace by curbing the constant yearning for more, bigger, better. It suggested that we find pleasure in what we have in our lives right now and stop looking to the future for future happiness. Be Here Now, as Ram Das wrote in his classic book from the 60’s. When we are present in this moment, we have a chance to be content with ourselves.
When we are content with ourselves, we can be generous with others. We can be patient, understanding and non-judgmental of others. It is easier for me to be OK with you if I am OK with me.
What are the ways you are generous? And what are the ways you could increase your generosity? Are there clothes in your closet you don’t use that could be given to those in need? Are there toys, books, household items that you could donate to those with little? Could you donate a few hours a month to a local animal shelter, library, or food pantry?
On a personal level, could you give up the caustic comments, the critical looks, the snide remarks, the ways you “prove” you are right? I once saw a question: “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Could you give up some stance you have made and just let it go for the sake of more peace?
Could you stop gossiping, stop putting other people down as a way of making yourself look good? Could you assume benevolence, not malevolence in others? All these things are acts of generosity. All these things bring some measure of peace.
There is a tremendous jolt of life-giving energy that comes with living with an open and generous heart. What changes could you make that would move you in that direction?