This is a story about my 11-year-old son. I’d love to take credit for what a neat kid he is, but he truly came to me as this kind and compassionate spirit.
He and his best friend both play piano and take lessons from the same instructor. During a lesson overlap, my son was listening to his best friend play a very challenging piece of music. Never one to filter his thoughts, he reacted aloud.
“I’m feeling so jealous right now.”
The remarkable thing is what he did next. He went on to acknowledge to his best friend how difficult the piece was, how hard he must have worked on it, and how impressed he was with him.
What comes so naturally to my son is something I call generosity of spirit. Despite the fact that he felt jealousy arise, he was still able to be generous with his love and support.
That isn’t always the case for us though, is it?
When a feeling like jealousy arises, the ego is under attack. If we are not particularly attached to our ego at that moment, we can be generous. But sometimes when the ego is under attack, it fights back.
Someone might behave in the same way my son did, but on the inside minimize the other person’s success or do a lot of justifying about why THEY haven’t had that same success.
- It’s not really THAT hard of a piano piece.
- I don’t have as much time to practice as him, because I’m doing all of these other important things.
Someone who lacks maturity or who is completely controlled by their ego might actually say those things out loud to the person.
I like to use generosity of spirit as an indicator of how connected I am to either my ego or the universe.
- It’s the difference between pushing your own agenda because you don’t trust the world around you, or believing that everything will work out for you.
- It’s the difference between feeling jealous of another person, or feeling happy when you see other people succeed.
- It’s the difference between being guarded, or sharing your love, time, ideas, etc…
So how do we make that shift when we don’t feel generous?
You know MY drill. Return to the practice…
Step 1: “Well, hello Ego.” Recognize when the ego has been triggered by feelings of jealousy, lack of faith or worry, guardedness, desire to control, etc…
Step 2: Replace the Ego’s message with a generous one.
“I am genuinely happy for her success.”
“I have faith that it will all work out.”
“There is no reason to be afraid to give.”
Our generosity of spirit is just about the most meaningful and powerful gift we can give ourselves and others.
It’s completely normal to go through moments when we are not feeling generous, but we ALL have access to that generosity of spirit.