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 generosity – the more someone gives, the more they can receive.
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?
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 long while, that was the level I was playing at.
But 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 the times when people have given to me.
In other words, I know that I violated this “generosity” principle…and that’s what stops me from giving more. On some level I feel fraudulent.
So here’s the rub. It 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 an email list that goes out to all the residents. People post all sorts of helpful things. 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.”
They finished the e-mail by saying, “the experience was great and I want this place to last”. And I thought to myself, “this person really gets it.”
The author, whoever they are, is not just a consumer. This is not someone that just pays their way through life. They’re actively making sure to share the things they enjoy. It’s a generous act to do this: other people get to enjoy something and the activity becomes more 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)
For more about our larger project of cooperative Jiu-Jitsu and martial arts training, please visit the
Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Brooklyn BJJ) website here.
I often find that the best way to bring yourself up when you’re feeling down is to do something for another person. Do this enough and it becomes a design for living. And I cannot remember ever getting a bad reaction, either (bonus!).
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