A Priceless Gift

from a talk by Mary Michal

As we approach the Holidays, how can we as practitioners bring our practice to the essence of the season? In our culture it is easy to get wrapped up in busyness, consumption, and more than a little anxiety, especially at this time of year. Thay’s teachings help us to look deeply into how intentional generosity may be a gateway to the true joy that calls us.

Let us make an inclining of the heart and mind our intentional practice. True, we can’t make ourselves happy or generous, but we can allow joy and gratitude and generosity to be more present in us by being intentional. Each of us has our own joys and sorrows. This practice is not to take us away from what is, but is meant to draw us up close, so that whatever is happening, moment to moment, will be seen as precious and meaningful.

Thay talks about the generosity of our presence. That means bringing our solidity, our freshness, our freedom, our caring, our full presence to others. Generosity comes in many forms: giving of material things such as money, food, clothing; giving of the Dharma; giving refuge and protection to living beings. No separation. We inter-are.

Where do we see and practice true generosity?

  • Stopping everything to sit and meditate.
  • Bringing our freshness and solidity to family gatherings. Especially now, in a time of polarization and division, we may find ourselves in holiday family gatherings where there is the potential of conflict. Our opportunity to bring curiosity and space for deep listening.
  • Bringing our solidity to rallies and public events where tensions are high.
  • Bringing our compassion and mindful presence to people who are in prisons of all kinds.
  • Bringing our solidity, our gratitude and our wholehearted presence to our beloved teacher and to the teachings Thay has shared with us.
  • Bringing our gratitude and deep caring to Mother Earth.

We see that essentially generosity is about presence. The deep generosity of our mindful presence has the power to heal. And that is a priceless gift