The older I get the more I try to think about moving through the world with principle, rather than simply convenience. One of the principles that that I find so fascinating is that of generosity – the more someone gives then the more they can receive.
And when I think about that sometimes I ask myself, why am I not receiving exactly what I desire? What’s in the way? How come I’m not meeting my goals? How come I’m not actually producing the results that I want in my life? And at first I thought, sometimes I don’t want to give more because I feel like people take advantage of me. That’s one level below the surface – it’s one way for me to ponder my results and my existence, and for a while, that was the level I was playing at.
But over time, as I dug a little deeper, I discovered that there was more to it. Now I know why I don’t give more. It’s because I know inside, in my conscience, that I myself have taken advantage of when people gave to me and I know that I violated that principle and that’s what stops me from giving more. On some level I feel fraudulent.
And that brings up an interesting question for me: how do I repair what I’ve done? How do I start the process again, and return to that principle? What I discovered – or remembered – was that we have this chance daily. Generosity in the martial arts, in Jiu-Jitsu, is everywhere. Going forward, if you see an opportunity to give, if you see an opportunity to help, if you see an opportunity to make someone else feel good, take that opportunity. Step over what’s in the way and you’ll restart the process. You’ve got to have compassion with yourself.
Step over what’s in the way and you’ll restart the process.
When giving is a principle, rather than just an activity we undertake when we’re at the end of our rope or we feel like our karma needs scrubbing, amazing things can happen. Here’s an example. The building that I live in has a general e-mail, like a listserve, that goes out to all the apartments. People post all sorts of helpful things. So today I received an email where someone said, “I want to recommend this restaurant Finch. It’s been open since December. The food is amazing and everyone in this building should go.” And they finish the e-mail by saying, “the experience was great and I want this place to last”. I thought to myself, “this person really gets it.”
This person, whoever they are, is not just a consumer. This is not someone that just pays their way through life. They’re actively making sure that the things they enjoy, other people get to enjoy and are sustainable. It’s a way to return to the generosity principle without having to break yourself in half or turn yourself into a victim. It’s gentle – a perfect reflection of the jiu-jitsu mindset.
Gene Dunn (@shihandunn) is a 30-year veteran of the martial arts with black belts in Shotokan Karate, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Brian Glick is a second-degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under John Danaher and Renzo Gracie, and holds the honor of being the first recipient of the shodan rank in judo under Sensei Teimoc Johnston-Ono. They have dedicated their time to the propagation of martial arts to students through safe, effective, non-competitive methods. Together they operate Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, home to over a thousand students training Jiu-Jitsu in a collaborative learning environment.