Generosity: How We Rouse the Sleeping Dragon of Separation
“Your heart is your home. Your mind your office. Don’t get them confused.”
Here at Seven Stones, and in all of the teachings I study, there is talk of unwinding the armoring against separation and isolation and dropping into our heart center. I have been a diligent student: opening to the suffering of the world, opening to my own suffering, building some kind of muscle to withstand the strange world we inhabit so full of mind bending paradox, so full of such astonishing beauty and an equal measure of cruelty. And the more I drop into the teaching, the more I open.
Then, when I approach the world with this openness, I’ve noticed that often there are these blank stares facing back at me, maybe dismay, maybe even revulsion.
And I start to wonder: Is this openness worth it? Can I stand it?
One of our practices here in the Seven Stones lab is giving. We donate at least 5% of our earnings overall, and we have a giving account. Each quarter we make decisions about where to give. As opposed to other years when we’ve given in more traditional ways to non-profit organizations, this year, so far, we have chosen to give only to people we actually know. I love this idea. I love the idea of catching each other in this way. Weaving this web of social fabric around all of us this viscerally is a direct practice of sufficiency.
For example: We gave money to a dear friend who wanted her child to get some alternative care. Then we gave money to another friend for the same purpose. Then to someone right here at Seven Stones we gave money so she could offer her child the care she really wanted to give. These acts of generosity have been so totally gratifying. They seem so right to offer, and I notice are so challenging to receive.
I think we have been conditioned to have it be easier to send a donation to a charity half way across the world than to give to someone really close to me, right here, and to simply share what I have. I’ve noticed that money is the most difficult to offer. Somehow gifting clothes or food or a dinner or a ride home do not ignite quite the same forces of separation and scarcity that offering actual money does. Giving actual money to each other seems to rouse the sleeping dragon of individualism, scarcity and separation like nothing I have experienced.
Knowing someone could use a hand, offering that hand, being with how it flies in the face of our supposed ability to handle everything on our own, and then actually having someone receive it – is a radical process of breaking down the walls of isolation. If you want a practice that gets to the heart and soul of sufficiency try giving money to someone you know who could use some. And if you dare, let us know what unfolded.