Generosity, The Second Impulse
Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 11:24AM
Jayant Kalawar in Charity, Impetus, Not Ayn Rand, One Percent, Philanthropy

Generosity is a natural impulse that we have, second only to the one for survival. Insecurity in surviving leads to greed. The fear and anxiety of failure to survive leads to voracious appetites, grasping, consuming and digesting. To genuinely unleash the generosity impulse, the survival impulse has to be successfully managed. How do we go about doing this?

First let’s set the stage: most readers of this post are managing their well-being, the other side of the survival coin. There are two levels of well-being we manage on a daily basis: one is physical and the other is mental. The environment we find ourselves dictates to a large extent our physical and mental well-being and longevity. But there are still considerable choices within that constraint that we can make in terms of our daily activities and the directional goals we decide to head in.

How do we manage our physical well-being? As we know, the goal of physical well-being is to make sure we eat well, exercise and sleep in a way that keeps us healthy and energized. We try various methods to move towards that goal, including diets and exercise regimes. Sleep probably gets a lower priority as it competes with our getting to an apparent state of mental well-being.

Mental well-being is a state of mind free of anxiety and fears about the future and sense of joy about the present. In our current social environment we assume we can achieve this by accumulating goodies for the future consumption to ensure future physical well-being. This is another way of saying we are engaged in the pursuit of happiness. Which ends up being just that: a pursuit. Always. One which does not end up in a place where you are enjoying happiness at the moment, without fear and anxiety about the future. We call this the treadmill of life: we are busy racing with the carrot hanging just ahead of us. In this state, when fear and anxiety drive many of our actions, we sleep less soundly. This in turn impacts our physical well-being. In such a state, we are not sure of our survival at a physical and social (status) level we have come to expect. And when that persists our impulse for generosity, that powerful compassionate aspect of ourselves, lies deeply hidden. Lack of play for the powerful compassionate aspect, which is an integral part of ourselves, makes us into caricatures acting out our pain.

How can we act in a way in the present that leads us to being happy now and in the future, a state of mind free of anxiety and fears? Is that even practically possible for humans?

Jayant Kalawar is the author of The Advaita Life Practice, available at Amazon.

Article originally appeared on advaita life coaching (http://www.advaitalifecoach.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.