“Generosity is revolutionary, counter-instinctual.”

“Generosity is revolutionary, counter-instinctual. Our survival instinct is to care only for ourselves and our loved ones. But we can transform our relationship to that survival instinct by constantly asking ourselves, “How can I use my life’s energy to benefit all living beings?”

~Noah Levine

The dharma say “give of this life to others.” Be generous in all things. Live this life in a generous way. Part of that is living honestly. Not pretending to be OK all the time. Allowing people to see life’s difficulties can be lived through in a way that brings greater understanding and openness. So much of the time in spiritual practice people pretend that they have no difficulties or if they do that they aren’t touched by them. But that isn’t the case. We all experience all emotions and sadness and pain and fear are a part of everyone’s life. If we allow it, they can act as catalysts to propel us further in our study and growth. As we live our lives honestly among our fellows we share what these experiences give us, and we begin to see that often what they give us is depth and understanding and compassion.

So, we are asked to be generous with ourselves: our time, attention, and love. Be generous with our material goods to the greatest extent that we can. Be generous in teaching the dharma, building the sangha, giving the teachings away to help relieve the suffering of all sentient beings. This is dana, the open-hearted gift of love.


We begin the practice of generosity in our sitting meditation. This includes the work we do and the way we behave in our relationships. When we bring generosity to our work, it becomes an activity of love and attention rather than an obligation. When we bring generosity to our conversations, just as we bring love and respect and kindness. Today, ask yourself this question by Noah Levine “How can I use my life’s energy to benefit all living beings?”

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