Vanity arises when you believe beauty is a moral or social virtue. True virtue needs no classification.
Greed and generosity are not the diametric opposites people think them to be, but why do we separate and oppose these in our minds? It’s sort of how our society is structured. There are those with drive, and when we are angry at them we call them greedy. They tell us that we should be generous, as in submissive to their ambitions, because they are “moral”. Sometimes they are, but it’s sort of a drama we play, and our society does not encourage us to reflect on what’s actually motivating us. When we are told we are being greedy we think “Oh no! I am being greedy”, “That means I’m not a good person!”, and we become remarkably obedient don’t we? But our obedience is then secured not for the truth, but for the cycle we are stuck in.
Are we not somewhat hypnotized by society? We are, and if you know something about hypnosis, it doesn’t actually require being relaxed and at peace. It requires focus. Hypnotic suggestion is often very emotively charged, and it’s what gives it its potential therapeutic power.
Anxiety is hypnosis’s best friend. Yes, because it makes you become very focused. Strangely they say “You can’t hypnotize me if I don’t want you to”, but there was a whole TV program from England where the host proves that is very far from the truth. Desire can in a sense be freeing. Hunger can wake you from sleep, as can pain.
Desire has caused the fall of tyranny governments. Yes, the Marxist movement was bloody because of judgment, but successful because of greed. Even Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War tells the student to rely on it, and to motivate their subordinates with it. It goes on to elaborate that it’s both a strength and a weakness. Greed does in fact have no opposite.
Now to move onto generosity, generosity is hailed as a virtue, yes? They say generosity starts at home, but very often selfishness is the rule. The home is the seat of self interest for very many people. It is perhaps why the worlds divorce rate is so high. So if what they say is true, then is there generosity anywhere? I would say that our understanding of generosity is eschewed. We say it’s the opposite of greed. That it’s acting outside of the bounds of self interest, but what can you give if you have nothing? Why supposedly is having nothing virtuous? The person who has nothing chooses to take less part in the world, if functionally any part at all. Did Jesus himself refuse money, or food, or shelter? Did the Buddha after his enlightenment? The Dali Lama attends elaborate dinners, and doesn’t bat an eyelash.
The Buddah didn’t preach against having. His whole message could be reduced to abstaining from false identification. He spoke of attachment, which isn’t having. It’s becoming identified with what you have. People often misquote the Bible saying money is the root of all evil. The actual quote is love of money is the root of all evil. Attachment to stuff. A lot of stuff has been money, and in Egypt glass was money.
We’re indoctrinated to attach to stuff we don’t want nor need. Indeed we are, and because we are, we also associate desire with the evil. When in fact desire is not evil, it’s natural.
Generosity is not limited to the distribution of money. Oh, indeed. In fact, receiving from another can be generous. Compromise with your partner can be generous, more so for it being a middle ground.
Then you would be referring to generosity of the spirit? Yes. The spirit is inherently generous, and inherently greedy. By greedy I don’t mean selfish as they are not the same thing.
Perhaps true generosity then would be to give from your essence, not your surplus? Indeed. Every day of your life can be spent generously, and every day of your life can be lived with vigour, appetite, enthusiasm, spirit. We do not gain by judging ourselves. Ego itself is a judgment of self, and as far as our minds go our judgements are limited, but our brains just aren’t that powerful.
We can only see what we allow ourselves to see. Ultimately that is the spirit of generosity. Generosity is ultimately that allowing. Allowing yourself to see, allowing other people to be, and if you give to them, allowing them to show you what they need, rather than deciding from your ego what they need to be “better”.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.One World class participants. Thank you!)