By Sarah Wolfgram
Community Meditation Teacher
If you have been graced to have been minimally impacted by COVID-19, I would like to introduce an idea to you. You may have some resistance to it, and that’s okay. Keep in mind we often have the most resistance to that which will truly help us grow.
Many people have been seriously impacted financially by all this and are now fearing for their basic needs and those of their families: jobs, homes, and food being at the top of the list. This is in addition to all the other changes to daily life and fear for our health that none of us have escaped.
I know we are all eagerly awaiting the arrival of our stimulus checks, and are grateful for the extra assistance. However, if after honest and self-compassionate reflection, you determine you don’t need every penny for your own immediate expenses, please consider giving just 10% of it to someone who has been hit harder than you. What if we came through this together, feeling stronger and more supported by our communities than ever before? Instead of spending this small influx of money on an exciting new purchase, we can offer others a much-needed safety net. When so much is uncertain and scary for us all, the time is ripe for generosity. Please take a moment to pause and check in with your heart to see who is there and needing your help.
Numerous authentic religious and spiritual traditions teach the joy of giving, whether they call it almsgiving, charity, tzedekah, zakat, or dana. Often, these traditions link the very practice of generosity with the highest expression of their religious practice. Sometimes this practice is expressed as obligatory, but if it remains at that level it can devolve into a grim duty, to be done even when we don’t feel like it. The eastern religious traditions express giving as a paramita, a perfection that both embodies the ideal way of living our lives and a positive force of self-transformation that leads us away from our fearful grasping at our own desires. In the meditation traditions, exaggerated self-concern is often thought of as a root cause of depression. By giving, we can demonstrate our commitment to our fellow human beings and reposition ourselves as part of the larger human family. We thereby combat our own tendency to self-alienate.
If you’re feeling isolated and separated from others during these trying times, why not try giving a little? You may find you get a lot in return.