This is the story omitted in Tampa, in Charlotte. However far we stray from any perfect union, there is something true that must be counted. Our generosity, however inadequate, is the best of who we are.
Since donations to religious groups, even uncharitable ones, count as "charitable giving," then it is no surprise that religious people give more to charity. Simply put, the study shows that non-religious people don't donate to religion.
Altruism is a lofty aspiration. The do-gooders of the world are widely revered for their pureness of heart, selflessness and generosity. Could it be that they have an ulterior motive? Even if their reward is simply to feel good about themselves?
Global warming is an undisputed scientific fact now, and there is little doubt that this ominous trend is related to human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels. I completely accept the science of climate warming, yet I don't always do the right thing by my heirs. Why is that?
This is the profound meaning of discipline: maintaining love, maintaining the hope that every living being will awaken, even in the most difficult or challenging conditions. It's a softening of the heart, a letting go of confusion, of anger, bitterness, and despair.
Let's challenge ourselves to kick our practice to higher level by practicing generosity in our lives. How often and how far can we go out of our way each day? How does practicing generosity affect our own sense of well-being?
Serving enables us to step beyond our own desires and to release any sense of separation. It takes us out of selfishness and neediness, and in the process we see our own self-centeredness in greater perspective.
That was the question we posed to the world as part of an effort to re-boot Valentine's Day as Generosity Day. The premise was simple: Could we transform a day that's been weighted down by overpriced flowers and boxes of candy into one known for active, purposeful generosity to all?
Let's give love its proper place, and I daresay that we would have a different, much happier, more balanced and harmonious, just world if we were all more in touch with the archetypal energy behind these forms of love.
In this 2012, a year of significant changes, I urge you to look closely at your thoughts, choices and reactions to life unfolding. Watch and listen as in slow motion, for the events calling you out to side-step from your ego and become all you were meant to be.
The greatest gift of love is the gesture of open arms -- let come what comes -- not because you don't care, or because you hope to steel yourself against pain, but because you care so much that you are helpless to do anything else.
Last cold Christmas morning I took a traditional dogwalk through S.F.'s fabled Haight-Ashbury. It was pretty much empty of people on the streets. But left behind were a fair number of unfortunate souls lying in doorways.
When I ask audiences what they like about being older, people often answer "Gratitude," and then say what they are grateful for: grandchildren, good health, free time, wearing what they want, the chance to travel, giving back to the community.