by Don Reagan, UUCF Generosity Team Vice Chair.
“If generosity can be considered a spiritual discipline, then my belief in, and practice of, that discipline will move me into an ever-expanding feeling of abundance.”
Last fall, the UUCF Board of Directors announced the creation of the Generosity Team. This team is tasked with creating a more comprehensive and strategic approach to financial planning and stewardship at UUCF. Our team is now working on that task. One important element of our work is promoting the practice of generosity as a spiritual discipline. This is especially significant during our Annual Giving Campaign, as each of us attempts to discern our level of commitment to helping finance UUCF’s operating budget.
Do you and I think of generosity, and more specifically the financial giving form of generosity, as a spiritual discipline? I’ve been giving this some thought. My own mindset around the Annual Giving Campaign often boils down to responsibility and obligation. This is certainly important to consider when filling out a financial pledge form, but it can feel heavy and burdensome. That likely is not the best mindset for practicing generosity.
While doing a little personal research on generosity as a spiritual practice, I came across this quote by Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg from her book “Lovingkindness”: “The Buddha said that no true spiritual life is possible without a generous heart. … Generosity allies itself with an inner feeling of abundance – the feeling that we have enough to share.” I like this quote, and it made me wonder what comes first – a generous heart or the act of generosity?
Here is my own answer to that question: If generosity can be considered a spiritual discipline, then my belief in, and practice of, that discipline will move me into an ever-expanding feeling of abundance. It seems to me that this is a clear pathway from burden to joy. Now, more than ever, may we find that joy.