My Thoughts About Generosity

Generosity abstract by Rich Sigberman

“Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love.
I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.”

- Martin Luther King

George Leonard called generosity his favorite word, so I had to think about it. While I may be guilty of “hoarding myself” (another George phrase) lots of time, I’ve had moments of pure, unadulterated generosity, just giving something that I feel may be meaningful to the recipient, maybe even lift their spirits a bit. Usually, this is some piece of art I make, since that’s what I think I do best. The funny thing is that when I create and give away a particular piece of art as a gift, I’m more excited about it than if I were to receive a terrific art commission.

I need to remind myself to not necessarily expect anything in return, maybe not even an acknowledgment. Giving with no attachments, no terms, no strings attached is a most pure feeling, and I think it’s on a level as primal as that survival instinct I mentioned. After all, if you believe all living things are connected, then we must try to take care of one another, no? It is life-affirming.

To have been blessed with this life we’ve been given. It is an honor, and it comes with a certain responsibility, I believe. It’s the responsibility to look out for people, non-human animals, and the planet with reverence. When one gives on the level of “pure giving” there is a warm feeling that comes with it, unattached to the ego. So, go on, engage in some act of random generosity. You’ll be glad you did.

I will add that there have been some instances of me being generous to someone, and years later something very nice comes my way from it. Maybe it’s a karmic rule.