Finding the Balance

By Matthew Lyon

In discussions about a generous life, I am most often asked about the right balance between taking care of ourselves and our desire to help others.

There is no easy answer to this, but we can contemplate some basic principles.

For example, good parents need to put a lot of energy into realizing a healthy life for themselves in order to foster a positive life for their children. Securing a dwelling place and providing food and other necessities for the family requires us to develop the personal skills to be a provider. We may have to spend years in training or educating ourselves to have sufficient income to support a household.

Beyond that, our example as we cultivate our personal qualities has a powerful effect on our children’s lives.

Our ability to help others well, to be generous, is directly related to the path of generosity to ourselves. To be a fine physician, a nurse, a teacher of music, or a helping professional in any field demands that we focus intently on acquiring expertise. There is often an intense, almost self-centered quality to our lives as we gain skills. We are willing to give ourselves the gift of personal development in order to provide the gift of maximum benefit to others.

From the point of view of the highest virtue, there is no conflict between accomplishing a good life for ourselves and embodying spiritual integrity as a compassionate person.

Generosity is the profound link that joins a life of personal accomplishment with spiritual integrity.

Taking care of ourselves properly is essential to a generous life. When we manifest as a successful person – in whatever way we may define it – and also as a generous person, we become inspirational to others. To inspire others is generosity itself.

So let us find the right balance in our own way between self interest and giving. It will be different for each of us.

And let us not hesitate to aspire to personal excellence and well being for ourselves as an integral part of a generous life.

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