>Generosity of Spirit

photo courtesy npanth
borrowed from The Daily Om

Generosity Of Spirit
Being Happy For Others

We all want to be the kind of people who are happy for others when they experience success or a cause for celebration in their lives, but it isn’t always easy. Sometimes powerful, dark feelings come up at times when decorum dictates that we should be feeling the opposite. Instead of reaching out and celebrating for our loved one, we may feel the rising up of our own pain. This pain may arise because we feel jealous of our friend for having something we don’t have. It may arise because our friend’s success will lead to us losing them in some way. And it may arise for reasons we don’t yet understand. The important thing is not to brush it under the rug, but to take it seriously and look at it; suppressing it will only make it worse. At the same time, we need to be sure to find a way to congratulate our friends and celebrate their successes as if they were our own.

The struggle with being happy for others presents itself early in life. If a child wants a toy and another child has it, the child will try to get it or will break down in tears. Those primal feelings are still present in most of us, and we have to acknowledge them when they arise. At the same time, it is when we care enough for someone to let go of what we want for ourselves that we grow as people. It can be a difficult dance to find ourselves suspended between wanting the toy and throwing a party for our friend who got the toy. Yet, it is in throwing the party that we share in the joy-and, to some extent, the toy-rather than cutting ourselves out of it.

Extending ourselves to celebrate the happiness of others requires a generosity of spirit that we sometimes find only in the process of doing it. So when your best friend moves to Spain with the person you had a crush on, tend to your broken heart but throw them a going away party too.

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3 responses to “>Generosity of Spirit

  1. Paul Tucker


    I searched for the term “generosity of spirit” on the web because sometime ago those words came to me in a dream as one of my life tasks. For that reason, I have explored their meaning and attempted to apply them in my life. I believe part of what they mean is attempting to share our essence, our spirit in our daily interactions. It makes me think about the words to a song I heard as a child, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” Your website would appear to represent your effort to share your spirit with others. Thank you.


  2. Thank you, Paul for those kind words. I do want to share my spirit with others and I’m so glad my intent comes through so clearly!

  3. pooz creek

    Hello Beautiful Sonja!
    Thank you for your wise and caring words. You obviously understand that there are often a lot of unresolved feelings and emotions around “wanting” that remain left over from our childhoods. But, what was it we really wanted back then, and missed out on, that makes us feel like we will never have enough of what we want and need in this life? Feelings of never having enough may rear up unexpectedly, at any time in our lives, perhaps tempting us to behave in a less than generous fashion! Like small children, we may take things. We may take and we may also withhold. Very young children do not generally know how to share things, they must be taught. Many adults fail to understand that the simple act of recognizing just what there is to be thankful for in one’s life is the first step towards freedom from wanting. Young people usually want the things that they see in magazines or on TV or online. They want the things their friends might have, new things, cool things. They want to impress others with all the things they own. As people grow older, they want for less tangible things. They begin to long for more meaning, more depth, more feeling, more time. They begin to long for a better life for their own children. They may long for deeper, more meaningful relationships, and they may long for true and enduring love. They may long for a long life and supreme health. And yet, they are still caught up inside a sprial of wanting. So many of us truly do have so very much to be thankful for when we really begin to examine our lives and perhaps even compare our own circumstances to so many others in the rest of the world. And sometimes that is what it takes for many of us to begin to be able to recognize just what we do have to be thankful for in the comparrison. Even our homeless in America are living large compared with the many other destitute populations in most third world countries! We were all born into so much priviledge, even the poorest among Americans! So, YES! Go ahead and throw a party for your friend! In doing so, you may momentarly, anyway, forget about focusing so much energy on the self. The joy of giving, be it time, interest, listening, or sharing in things, is something many of us still do not fully understand or appreciate even after we grow into adulthood. We remain stuck in our ideas that we are lacking in some way and forget to recognize just how much we actually do have to be thankful about. We still get stuck wondering: “what’s in it for me?” But until we open our hands and our hearts, we will not be able to make the space for new experiences and new inspirations to enter into our lives! So, even if it seems like a forced effort, it is well worth the risk to challenge oneself to be more appreciative of what is, and less demanding of ourselves to acquire whatever it is we feel do not already have enough of! Be thankful! Be grateful for the sheer miracle that is this life! Be thankful for the air we breathe and the ground we walk on. Be thankful for the gravity that holds us to the earth! Carry an attitude of “having” rather than one of “having not!” This kind of an attitude is one that enables us to give more freely of ourselves, which is the only thing we have to give to anyone else, anyway. And by doing so, we may find certain spiritual rewards manifesting, rewards that we were not even aware of before we began to move out of our wanting and needing into a new perspective of appreciating everything we already do have in this life! And that’s what i have to say about generosity of spirit! what you give out, you get back …. so, make it good! Thank you!

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