Generosity of Spirit shows itself in many ways, but so often it goes unnoticed. True generosity of spirit seeks no recognition, however, and it is at its best when unforced – a natural and constant state of being.
I have been reflecting upon the nature of this quality for some time, attempting to notice and to honour it when I see it around me. In a sometimes dark world it is heart-warming to see it often, expressed in a small word or a major public event, and it has made me realise the importance of paying attention to what I am hearing or seeing.
Two examples of generosity of spirit were given to me yesterday: one event was the cover of the latest Charlie Hebdo magazine, saying, simply, “all is forgiven”. Many have decried the cartoon as disrespectful and sarcastic, but while it made a political point, I found it remarkable as a poignant, perfect, spiritual expression created by journalists who had every reason to be savage, but who were not.
The other event occurred in a supermarket. At the checkout, the assistant noticed my catfood among my purchases and started talking about her cats, of which she has 16 – all rescue cats. In the time it took to bag and pay for the shopping I heard how she acquired them, how she had converted her home for them and the happy life they had. She was a quiet, friendly woman who has experience tragedy in her life and yet who chose to help animals in need. “Every animal that is born deserves a life”, she said. She saw herself as nothing remarkable, but I saw otherwise and was touched by her kindness.
The world of nature has constant examples of generosity of spirit, whether it is in birds of prey, usually at war with each other, playing together or even helping each other, parents denying their own needs to feed their young, and animal communities defending each other at their own risk. We can learn from them, just as we can learn from the humans who give so much of themselves to help others. To all such ones I give gratitude and respect, and thankfulness that there is so much generosity of spirit in our world.