by Tommy Harrison

Friday, November 23rd, Darryl E. Owens with the Orlando Sentinel wrote an article titled How to simplify your Christmas season, and be happier for it.  It offered healthy perspectives on giving, and interestingly enough, came out on Black Friday—a day where consumerism rules the day for some.  Thank you, Mr. Owens, for that.

His article offers ideas such as giving the gift of time, sharing a skill, consideration of buying used goods, giving back to your community, establishing spending limits, and alternate giving, where one supports causes around the world.  These ideals all have merit—read this article for yourself and perhaps something will resonate for you.

There is more to glean as one looks deeper with the Buddha’s teachings on generosity.  In Pali, the word for giving is “dāna” and it means the practice of cultivating generosity characterized by unattached and unconditional giving.  Generosity is practiced in relationship with the people around you, and has the effect of purifying and transforming the mind and heart of both the giver and receiver.  At its foundation, Buddhism promotes healthy relationships – something that cannot be gift wrapped or opened.  The Buddha goes on to say that that that we should be joyful as both givers and receivers.

Generosity is often associated with “things” or possessions – and this is where the true opportunity opens up to us if we can just see things with clarity.  Generosity starts in the heart and can manifest itself through a smile, a touch, an understanding look in our eye, a hug, a heartfelt greeting that says “it is really good to see you again,” and a presence between people that words just simply cannot explain.  True presence is the ultimate gift—one that transcends anything one could possess.

Healthy relationships filled with joy – what more could there be between people?  True presence filled with love and compassion – the ultimate gifts to share.  Allow love and compassion to guide you joyfully through this holiday season, along with ideas like Mr. Owen’s shares if they fit into your life’s circumstances.  Let there be Joy.

Happy holidays.