Sharon Salzburg says that “when we look at others, we see ourselves as well; when we look within ourselves, we discover all beings and all things in the universe. Every event, every entity, every mind-state, every experience we have is born out of a web of interconnectedness.”
Dana is also generosity of spirit. Generosity of spirit allows us to see how alike we are and that indeed, we are all connected. Our compassion and loving-kindness come to the fore-front of our minds and hearts. We begin to want to be of benefit to others; to want to open our hearts; to want to be accepting, loving, supportive and generous because it feels so good to give. The more we give the more our heart opens and fills us with joy. Generosity seems to grow itself in our hearts and in the hearts of those we give to. The very act of giving someone our entire attention and interest is so very powerful. We don’t have to give advice or a solution to their problems, just the act of listening, and caring is enough. When we are completely interested in the thoughts and feelings of another, they feel valued and important; they feel loved and supported. Isn’t this what we all really want in our relationships? This kind of generosity empowers others with the courage to be genuinely themselves.
Thich Nhat Hanh says that every time a negative energy is embraced by the energy of mindfulness, it will lose a little bit of its strength as it returns as a seed to the lower level of consciousness. “The same thing is true for all other mental formations: your fear, your anguish, your anxiety, and your despair. They exist in us in the form of seeds, and every time one of the seeds is watered, it becomes a zone of energy on the upper level of our consciousness. If you don’t know how to take care of it, it will cause damage, it will push us to do or to say things that will damage us and damage the people we love. Therefore, generating the energy of mindfulness, to recognize it, to embrace it, to take care of it, is the practice. And the practice should be done in a very tender, non-violent way.”
Today sit with the breath and the sensations in the body, include the emotions as they arise. When you notice your thoughts release them, saying “thinking” and return to the breath. Sit as long as you are able with openness and mindfulness.