I created this intuitive drawing several years ago while sitting in my car during my lunch hour break from the art studio. My drawing seemed to illustrate a tentative new belief in giving that went beyond my habitual self-concern.
I was starting to consider the possibility that I could be revitalized by giving. As generosity flowered in my mind, I pondered how much I withheld my fullest self. I had an ego fear that if I gave too much I would become depleted.
Giving must come from an authentic place. Depletion through giving is an untrue logic that our defensive ego likes to purport. True giving requires that we set healthy boundaries about what we can and cannot give. As we learn how to discern between genuine and false giving we become much more alert as to where to place our generosity.
It is possible to give in ways that feel comfortable in familiarity and yet draining in actuality. Many of us are conditioned to give in ways that are not genuine. This lack of awareness about discerning generosity can underpin a lifetime of confused giving.
When you use your intuition to choose where to give and where not to give, you build a strength of generosity that feels good. The basic rule of thumb is: false giving feels wrong in your body. The more you generously give from a true heart place, the more right it feels, and the more energy you build.
"For many people, the higher power need not be concerned with a deity or anything spiritual. It simply means rising above their self-regarding ego, committing to serve something other than their own immediate desires."
~ Gabor Mate
Many of us give to try to prove to others that we are good people and we rarely invoke the warmth, richness, and power of authentic generosity. When we genuinely give with our whole heart, we are enlarged beyond our emotional pain and feelings of inadequacy.
When you forget your self-concerned self and give wholeheartedly, you will go beyond your limited emotional capacities. You will become energized by your own spiritual power to generously offer love to others. When you give truthfully, you will always be rewarded with emotional healing.
Here is a quote from Sakyong Mipham that deeply speaks to me:
"Helping others represents a new approach to life. We often draw a blank about how to help, because our caring energy isn't flowing outward yet."
"Care and warmth invite a different energy than thinking we should give. When we think we should give...we'll feel tired because we are not really thinking about others. We're thinking of ourselves. "Enriching our thoughts and actions with love and compassion releases tremendous positive energy. When we churn "What about me?" into "What about you?" we are consciously changing our molecular structure by engaging the big mind chromosome."
Creatively Forgetting Yourself
There are many ways to transcend your limited psychology. All forms of transcendence involve losing yourself in some form of all-absorbing activity - whether it be falling in love, genuine generosity, deeply focused creative work or physical activity. This self-forgetting of the defended self can lead to heightened states of consciousness.
True giving can take many forms. Even saying "no" can be a way to give to another's soul. Giving to what is higher in another, by refusing to indulge in what is smaller, can make people angry or upset. True giving often involves finding the courage to say "no" to the ego demands of others.
You can learn to discern when your true generosity is required, and when you need to set healthy boundaries. We all have our own way of false giving. My early childhood experience of false-self giving was to smooth things over, and not ruffle feathers. In this way, I disappeared into a cloud of niceness and often felt drained.
We can feel enlarged and even enlightened in the process of genuine giving. And, we actually do not have to "give" as much to others as we might think. Life does not require us to spread ourselves thin in untruthful ways. It does require, however, that we intuit where our true generosity is needed. We are all called to uplift the quality of life for others in some genuinely helpful way.