Generosity Loosens the Grip of the Ego

In one sense, generosity is natural: We can no more help giving than we can live without the support of everything we receive. One way to describe the act of generosity is to relate it to the natural elements: the way the earth supports us without ever demanding thanks, the way the sun shines and the rain falls. The universe is, in fact, a web of giving and receiving; to grasp the truth of this, is to know that it is a symbiotic, mutually dependent network of relationships.


But if our essence is naturally generous, the ego fears not having enough, worries about getting hurt or losing out, feels anxious at the thought of looking silly or getting ripped off, and above all, looks for a payoff. So for most of us, there's a continual push-pull between our natural generosity and genuine desire to share and the ego's feeling of lack and its desire to drive a bargain.

That's why practicing generosity can be such a boundary-expanding thing to do. Every time we make a genuine offering or even think a generous thought, especially when we can do it for its own sake without thought of reward, we strengthen our essence. In that way, generosity truly is an enlightening activity: It opens us to the loving, abundant, good-natured core of ourselves and over dedicated practice,it can loosen the ego’s grip and the boundaries that create separateness.