Living From the Heart

January 29, 2019
  • Rev. Abhi Janamanchi

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” —Rabindranath Tagore

One of the ways we come into balance and connection with each other and life is by giving from the heart. When we give to others, whether it’s an act of kindness, generosity, or compassion, it helps us live from the heart instead of the ego.

Living from the ego is painful and exhausting. It’s like feeding a hungry monster that’s never satisfied. Ego craves, pursues, and clings to status, approval, material wealth, and control. It views the world through the eyes of fear—constantly evaluating, judging, and acting in ways that are self-centered, defensive, and protective. Ego is about getting more, which leaves little room for generosity or compassion.

In contrast, generosity requires that we open our hearts to the world and each other. We accept that in life there are challenges, and we meet these challenges with humility, patience, and compassion. This is the work of the spiritual warrior, to open our hearts and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. In doing this, we open ourselves fully to life, love, and relationships.

Generosity is a quality of kindness, of living from a place of abundance. When we act with kindness and generosity, we see the world through a clear lens that isn’t clouded by fear, scarcity, or clinging. Our eyes are open to see life as it is, instead of how we want it to be. When we interact with others, our connection is genuine and based on a sincere concern for each other’s well-being. We see people instead of judgments or labels.

This may sound confusing at first, but think about it. How many times do we interact with people without really seeing them? When we go to a grocery store, for example, do we see a “person” or a “cashier?” Do we see the living, feeling human being, or do we see a “service provider?” Generosity allows us to cultivate a heart-to-heart connection.

I invite us to consider the possibility that there is enough, more than enough. Consider the possibility that there is always an abundance of what is needed, be it money, time, talents, or be it only the fullness of what the mystics call “an abundant spirit.”

And, from that place of abundance, let us all give. Give something of what we have, of what we are. Let us give our time to someone we love. Let us give our full attention to someone in need. Let us give a compliment, a hug, a card, a smile. Let us give to a cause that matters. And let us give from our heart to this, our beloved religious community. May we bring to it the embrace of our gratitude, the fierceness of our hope, the courage of our love, and the joy of our highest and deepest and widest generosity.