There are four levels of human mind. When we are small children we find pleasure in receiving anything because we are heavily dependent on others for our livelihood. Children love gifts, any gift- be it food, christimas clothes or simply a simple ‘well done’.
As we grow older and become more independent we start finding pleasure in providing for ourselves. Young adults find pride in taking full responsibility for their own freedoms including financial independence. At this stage , though, the emphasis is still “I, me and myself”.
But when we become more mature and dependable the emphasis shifts from us to others. We start finding pleasure in providing for others – our children, spouses, and other family members. Mature people, apart from providing for themselves, they pride in taking responsibility for other people’s success. They find happiness in helping others go far in life ; they’re glad to see others hit greater heights than they can manage themselves.
Yet, the highest level of human mind is generocity – finding pleasure in helping people that are’nt part of our family, friends, or any intimate circle from which we might expect some kind of payback for our help. As one scholar put it, the dynamics of generosity are such that givers must cross an important threshold from their most comfortable or the most intimate and helping “the other,”. According to Jesus people that qualify as “the other’’ includes needy persons that are alien to you. This, of course, includes your enemies. Doing good to this group of people (I call shaliti) attract the greatest level of blessing from God -Matt. 5:43-48; Luke 14:12-14.
Generocity, therefore, is a product of maturity. “Kids are naturally selfish and love receiving gifts. As we grow older and more mature giving gifts becomes just as thrilling as receiving them. It takes mature mind to actually find the joy of making someone happy is more powerful than you could have possibly imagined. There’s something inexplicably satisfying in witnessing people unwrap a gift and respond with unadulterated amazement and happiness. You have made them smile, and that’s worth far more than money or any material item” says one whriter.
The most comprehensive study has recently shown that generous people are healthier, wealthier and happier than non-givers. By using fMRI technology, researchers have concluded that charitable activity induces brain chemicals (endorphins) that produce a mild version of the sensations people get from food, sex, and drugs such morphine and heroin – without negative effects!
Science has now proven beyond doubt, that which the bible said many centuries ago, that participating in helping significant others, such as volunteering to help needy children or serving meals to the poor has a strong, positive causal impact on our happiness and excellent health. According to an experiment at Duke University, a compassionate act with no expectation of a reciprocity lowers the stress hormones that cause unhappiness. For relief from stress and depression, charity’s probably more cost-effective than whatever your doctor might prescribe.
Many of us wish we were richer or had more time to be more generous. This couldn’t be further from the truth. How much you give is not what matters, willingly giving anything to add value to some one is what counts. Some of us are afraid that giving something away is a total loss. It’s true that when we give money away or devote our time, we would be losing something. But what many don’t realize is that we gain a lot more in return.
Today test the fascinating feeling of generocity.