TC350: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy – Pillar 8: Generosity

TC350: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy – Pillar 8: Generosity

In this week’s podcast host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost discuss the last of the 8 Pillars of Joy from the “Book of Joy” by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Pillar 8 is “Generosity”.

Generosity is the habit of giving freely without expecting anything in return. It can involve offering time, assets or talents to aid someone in need. Often equated with charity as a virtue, generosity is widely accepted in society as a desirable trait.

Generosity is often a natural outgrowth of compassion, thought the line between the two can be hard to distinguish. We don’t need to wait until the feelings of compassion arise before we choose to be generous. Generosity is often something that we learn to enjoy by doing. It is probably for this reason that charity is prescribed by almost every religious tradition.

The Science of Giving

Generosity was so important for our survival that the reward centers of our brain light up as strongly when we give as when we receive, sometimes even more so. Renowned neuroscientist Richard Davidson and his colleagues have identified that generosity is one of the four fundamental brain circuits that map with long-term well being.

Davidson is finding that happiness is something we can cultivate and a skill that can be learned. Working with the Dalai Lama, Davidson is investigating the far-reaching impact of mindfulness, meditation, and the cultivation of kindness on human health and well-being. The video from National Geographic below features Davidson on “The Science of a Happy Mind”.

“The Science of Giving” video below gives a great summary of how generosity can improve your mood, boost your immunity, and provide other benefits.

Generosity can also be spending time, money, or labor, for others, without being rewarded in return.

Although the term generosity often goes hand-in-hand with charity, many people in the public’s eye want recognition for their good deeds. Donations are needed to support organizations and committees, however, generosity should not be limited to times of great need such as natural disasters and extreme situations.

You don’t have to be rich to be generous

Generosity is not solely based on one’s economic status, but instead, includes the individual’s pure intentions of looking out for society’s common good and giving from the heart. Generosity should reflect the individual’s passion to help others, but it doesn’t have to cost you money.  You could volunteer at a senior center, a food bank, your local animal shelter, or any of a number of worthy causes. Your time is your gift.

What of those people who want to know how they can find joy in their own life while there are so many who are suffering?

As the Dalai Lama says, we do not have to take on the burdens of the world. “It helps no one if you sacrifice your joy because others are suffering. We people who care must be attractive, must be filled with joy, so that others recognize that caring, that helping and being generous are not a burden, they are a joy. Give the world your love, your service, your healing, but you can also give it your joy. This, too, is a great gift.”

The Eight Pillars of Joy:

  1. Perspectives: There are many different angles
  2. Humility: I try to look humble and modest
  3. Humor: Laughter, joking is much better
  4. Acceptance: The only place where change can begin
  5. Forgiveness: Freeing ourselves from the past
  6. Gratitude: I am fortunate to be alive
  7. Compassion: Something we want to become
  8. Generosity: We are filled with joy

1 Comment

  1. Amy Frost
    May 17, 2017

    Love all the wonderful resources!!! Thank YOU!

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