The Generous Present

by Matthew Lyon

Recently I read a book by Dr. Joe Dispensa, a well-known author and motivational teacher. A certain phrase jumped out at me from the pages.

In describing the qualities of a relaxed and healthy state of mind, he referred to “the generous present moment”. The words sparked something in me, and I spent some time contemplating the meaning of this within my own experience.

I had never fully considered that the simple state of presence could be felt as an expression of generosity. How is this so?

We might think of those times in our lives – sometimes fleeting – in which we feel a natural sense of wellbeing. Perhaps in meditation, in playing an instrument, or in sharing a fine meal with loved ones, we feel a kind of wholeness that is open, spacious, and free of anxiety. There is a timeless quality of letting go of concerns that constrict our state of mind.

I’ve found that in these times of settling fully into the present moment, there is no place for fear and agitation to take hold. Usually when we are distressed, there is a kind of shutting down, a narrowing of our focus, a contraction into a self-protective cocoon. Our worries overtake our mind, and we are caught up in thoughts about what happened and what will happen. We are temporarily living more in the past or the future than in the pure timelessness of now.

Alternatively, when the present moment fully dawns for us, there is an expansive energy that allows us to appreciate our own richness and to extend a light toward others and to our world. Like an inner sun, this kind of radiance has a naturally expressive outward direction.

From this relatively expansive state, we are more focused on possibilities than upon fearful outcomes. And we are also more attuned to the needs of others.  To me, this kind of experience resonates with the meaning of “the generous present moment”. Our ability to be present activates a power within us that leads to the flowering of a generous life.

2 thoughts on “The Generous Present

  1. Thank you Matthew. I will read this several times more as seeing how a ‘cocoon’ gets formed can dissolve it as well and help one shift to a more open state as you describe!

  2. I really must agree with you. I have been reading the book and was stunned at the numerous possibilities of the generous present moment. Thanks to him I also learnt to watch my thoughts and have been able to call out a few repetitive thought loops which has helped me be a better person.

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