Recognized Or Hidden
Generous spirits embody a generosity helping and allowing others to do what they desire in the pursuit of their dreams and goals, or sometimes just to help them survive with dignity. Gifts given with conditions attached are not generosity but levers of control by the giver to make them feel better about themselves and get others to do their bidding.
What are generous spirits? People inhabited by generous spirits give to others mostly with no thought of personal benefit…wanting to add value to other beings and the greater society.
It is not only their actions but a state of being.
Generous spirits manifest themselves in many different ways. Some by giving away large sums of money they are blessed to have. Others through random acts of kindness.
A few by dedicating their lives in service to other beings and the broader society. These all are acts of generosity with intentions to serve the greater good.
What motivates people to have these intentions? Why do they do it? These are questions often pondered by observers of these actions.
Many are motivated by the desire to benefit others and make the world a better place. Often being grateful for their good fortune and desiring to share it with others.
Some are motivated by their egos to get recognition and adulation from others. While their spirits may not be as generous they still benefit other beings through their gifts and contributions.
Extending generosity to ourselves and others gladdens our heart, is a direct way of healing division, and brings joy.
Christina Feldman, Heart of Wisdom, Mind of Calm
Generous spirits realize the importance of extending generosity to themselves as well as others.
Taking care of their own needs and holding themselves in compassion and self-forgiveness when necessary.
Generosity to one’s self creates a foundation for extending generosity to other beings with loving-kindness and compassion.
These actions convey a message as to what they value in their lives. It is a message to them as well as to the greater society.
A way to touch the sacred humanity deep within themselves. It is a lesson to us all that we can embrace and appreciate and perhaps emulate in our own ways.
Let’s look at the stories of some of those with generous spirits. Mostly seeking nothing in return other than the satisfaction of knowing they are helping and benefitting those who need help.
We read about the Bill and Melinda Gates, the Warren Buffets, the George Soros types and other prominent people of great public wealth who establish foundations for the greater good.
They give away substantial portions of their fortunes in the billions of dollars. They are obviously to be celebrated and commended for their generosity as they often are in the public media.
Hidden Generous Spirits
But what about some of the lesser known individuals who are never in the news appearing in their lifetimes to have modest means. But making significant contributions often unrecognized and unheralded until their deaths.
I am talking about people like Margaret Southern of Greenville, South Carolina. She taught special needs children and was a caregiver to her ailing brother. At her death she left $8.4 million to the Community Foundation of Greenville.
In addition there were hundreds of thousands of dollars gifted to other charities and her relatives. Friends in the community and family members were shocked when she died in 2012 and the gifts became known.
Then there was Ronald Read of Brattleboro, Vermont. He left $4.8 million to the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and $1.2 million to the town’s Brooks Memorial Library. His only known jobs were 25 years at a gas station and then 14 years as a janitor for J.C. Penny.
Eugenia Dodson of Coral Gables, Florida was another unknown spirit of generosity. She gifted $35.6 million upon her death at 100 years of age.
It went jointly to the Diabetes Research Institute and University of Miami Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her two brothers died from diabetes and she had been treated for cancer.
Eugenia grew up in rural Silver Creek, Minnesota. She came to Miami when she was 20 and worked in a beauty shop. She lived a very frugal life and invested wisely.
What all of these generous spirits had in common has been an intention to contribute to their communities without any desire for recognition…truly selfless motivations.
Another type of generous spirit is a being with their life devoted to relieving the suffering of other beings.
This includes people such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Mahatma Gandhi of India, Malala Yousafzai of Afghanistan, Albert Schweitzer, a French-German humanitarian and physician and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the United States. People who constantly put themselves at risk for the benefit of all beings.
Gandhi died at the hands of an assassin. He had become the soul of the movement for Indian independence after initially leading a movement for civil rights in South Africa.
He was nominated but never won the Nobel Peace Prize but now has the International Gandhi Peace Prize named after him.
Malala was nearly killed because she and other girls just wanted an education. Now Malia has become the global spokesperson on behalf of girls’ education having won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
Mother Teresa and Albert Schweitzer constantly comforted and tended people with deadly diseases that others would not come near. Schweitzer received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 and Mother Teresa in 1979.
Marin Luther King, Jr. led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States until his assassination in 1968 being arrested and jailed several times. He was the 1964 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Also organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and Human Rights Watch with people putting themselves in danger every day to help other beings often just trying to survive. They are comprised of many doctors, lawyers and others volunteering in dangerous places to make a difference in our world.
The people described above are all generous spirits seeking to serve others in their own ways. Of course, there are many others in our society and around the world expressing generosity in their lives every day.
Some by giving to their churches, to organizations and foundations with a mission for serving the well-being of people and societies. Others with random acts of generosity like giving the homeless woman or man on the street food or money to help with their survival. Still, others are contributing money to various causes for the good.
We all have the innate goodness within ourselves to be generous spirits in our own ways. Why do some of us choose generosity while many do not? It is a question each of us must answer for ourselves.
It is a question of our deepest values and how we manifest those values to the world and other beings. It comes down to the age-old question, “Who am I”?
Who are we and what is our message to the world? Only each one of us can truly know the answer for ourselves.
It a critical component of our self-identity and how we regard ourselves.
If we extend generosity to ourselves we will likely extend it to others as well. Our happiness and well-being are largely the results of how we regard ourselves. Whether our spirit is generous or stingy has a strong influence on that feeling.