Lessons in generosity

This afternoon I went to a yoga class at a meditation center that I sometimes visit.  As the session came to a close, the teacher stated that the center runs entirely on a donation basis, and then explained the concepts of dana and generosity as it relates to a meditation/spiritual practice.  At the end of the brief discussion, the teacher wrapped up with, “Being at either extreme is not skillful.  If you give too little, you won’t be happy.  If you give too much, you won’t be happy.  So pause, listen to your own heart, and then give what you feel is appropriate to give.”

This closing statement really struck me.  When I give what I deem to be “too little” (be it money, or time, or effort), I feel guilty afterwards.  I know inside of myself that I could have (“should” have) done more, and I didn’t – and guilt arises.  That side of the equation I understand.

What was a new awareness for me was the concept of over-giving.  Yet this is also very true in my life: When I give “too much” (be it money, or time, or effort), I feel angry afterwards.  I know inside of myself that I was taken advantage of, and I should have been more courageous – and I wasn’t.  And anger at myself, and resentment at the other, both arise.  This I didn’t “see”/realize/have words for until the moment the teacher spoke them – and then they clicked.

Any time I have a moment of insight – a new, deeper, clearer understanding of myself, or others, or the world – I am simultaneously excited, delighted, awed, and grateful.  Today was no exception.

I put what I felt was a very appropriate donation in the bowl on my way out the door – and happiness did follow.  🙂


About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
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8 Responses to Lessons in generosity

  1. Joss says:

    what a great principle and lesson about balance. I will ask myself, in the future if I am giving too little or giving too much to a person, a situation, an experience. Thanks muchly for sharing this.


  2. Hallysann says:

    Sounds like a very wize teacher … 🙂


  3. Touch2Touch says:

    Absolutely positively RIGHT ON.
    Recognition value: 100%, and just where you said, on the “giving too much” side of the equation.
    Thank you, Stef.


    • Stef says:

      Judith, you are very welcome. I think the “giving too much” thing is common among many people I know, women in particular. Many individuals want to help (which is wonderful), but don’t fully recognize/realize/want to admit that “too much helping” is actually not helpful at all – for themselves, or for the other(s).


  4. This really struck a chord with me. I love the sentiment behind it. It stayed with me all day.
    Thanks for sharing.


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