By May 1, 2016 Read More →

ZenView – Generosity

By Mary Layton

What makes a person generous? Is it because he or she readily shares his or her material assets with others? Gives lavish gifts? Spoils the family and the pets? Donates to charities? Does generosity pertain mostly to the giving of material things? There is more to generosity than meets the eye.

Searching for the bigger picture, I’m finding in the dictionary definition of the following : “Generosity is a quality a lot like unselfishness. Someone showing generosity is happy to give time, money, food, or kindness to people in need. Generosity is a quality – like honesty and patience – that we all probably wish we had more of.”

Notice that giving time is listed before money – it is easier sometimes to just give a person one’s money than giving them your time. Time as we all know is a precious thing, it cannot be accumulated like money. We cannot save it or stretch it. Once it’s gone it’s gone. I’m realizing that actually it is time to put a much greater value on someone’s willingness to give their time to me, or vice versa!

But I’m still puzzled why often the less fortunate are more generous than the ones that really don’t have to worry about money. Is it fear that makes some people be misers? Is it may be the experience of scarcity as a child that is so internalized and impossible to forget? People who have experienced poverty and hardship can often not shake that feeling that they must be frugal even if there isn’t any reason to be so tight now. Sometimes the exact opposite is true, people who were poor before and worked hard to reverse their fortunes do whatever they can to share their abundance, often without expecting anything in return. And sometimes, a person is just born with a generous disposition. It’s a quality you either have or don’t have. Can one learn to become generous? May be.

So contrary to common belief generosity is not only limited to sharing money, gifts and belongings. One can be generous with one’s knowledge, talents, energy and patience for others, helping them even when it is difficult. Someone’s presence and attention can be enormously enriching, even transform us. Then there is the kindness toward animals and plants as well as our concern for our planet, which also comes from a generous heart. Another way of describing a giving person is to say he or she is “large”. Being the opposite of petty, this person has an open, bigger vision of life and will be more accepting and able to handle challenging and unfamiliar types of situations. I think all in all that makes for a lot of generosity going around!

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About the Author:

Mary Layton has practiced T'ai Chi for 35 years and co-founded T'ai Chi Ch'uan Academy of Modesto in1995. She and her partner have taught hundreds of students. Mary travels frequently to learn from her teacher Grand Master Kai Ying Tung. Interested in every aspect of health Mary likes to follow a natural path. She loves writing, painting, gardening, hiking and playing piano.