Our hearts tell a thousand stories, if not countless. Not the physical organ but the metaphysical part of it where all our mental activities resides. Where our heart is, is where consciousness lies. Within this consciousness springs amazing motivation, intention and action which probably on the surface looks similar but on deeper probe reveals a great massive of ideas behind the act.
As simple as generosity – what motivates act of generosity? Even the word “generous” reveals a deep meaning of an act that comes from wholeheartedness rather than from a restriction of conditions. One can do generosity from fear – having in mind that we will be punished if we are not generous enough. This kind of mentality can stem from childhood learning where an adult of fear-based mentality prone to instil fear or guilt on a child to inculcate generosity. It has the do or be punished concept where one does it not because of self willingness but rather from “someone” watching over. Many of our self-restraint actions come from that fear rather than from personal responsibility or wisdom.
Another person can be generous because of the meaning of cause and effect – that good will begets good. There is nothing wrong with this mentality except that it has also fear driven ideas behind it. On the other end of extreme this mentality also promotes greed – the wanting to acquire more in the future, hence more good should be done now. It does not come from wholeheartedness in seeing that the very act of giving or generosity is already a blessing itself as it brings joy to the provider and also the receipient.
Yet there is another type of individual whose act of generosity is simply to reduce and ultimately to transcend the illusionary meaning of ownership. In reality, nothing physical can ever belong to us except our meaning of ownership over it. That reminds me of a story of the Buddha with his attendant Ananda passing by two peasants (pheasant is a type of bird) arguing over a little plot of land and the Buddha upon passing by smiled lightly which caught Ananda’s attention. Upon asking what the smile is about, the Buddha expressed the delusion of ownership one can project onto a land.
This type of motivation is neither from fear or greed but from clear comprehension of the illusion of grasping an ignorant mind. It is a movement of ownership or attachment to freedom. The word generosity is simply a word but the implication behind the act is incomprehensibly unimaginable as when we do not inch our notice over the mind, each act can be motivated from selfish gain or guilt. It is like a tip of an iceberg where the massiveness below is not known. The law of nature is that what goes out will come back and hence our unwatched motivation will exactly present us back with results that we may not be pleased, either in the immediate now or future. Right information leading to right view is necessary to bring our act to purity, untainted by self-cherishing thoughts. Only then the actual spirit of spirituality begins.