Generosity in Fearful Times

By Matthew Lyon

In these challenging times in the world, fear and uncertainty abound. We face multiple sources of anxiety as our personal health, the well being of society, and our financial stability are all threatened.

Emotions are raw and at times turbulent. Today I was in line at a bank drive-in window, and the man ahead of me was yelling and cursing at the teller for not doing a task that she clearly was not allowed to fulfill. She tried to be polite, but he kept on, and finally I decided to intervene. He stopped and drove away in a huff with some choice words for me, too.

Everywhere we look we see the impacts of the spreading virus.

It’s natural and understandable to feel fear in these circumstances. We’re concerned for our own safety, that of our loved ones, and for the fate of our jobs, income, and savings.

One reaction is to give in to neurotic emotions, like the man at the bank. We could also hoard groceries out of panic, acting from a kind of cocoon of self protectiveness. Energetically our being can contract and we lose stability of mind.

How can generosity help us to work with all of this?

Expressions of generosity are an excellent antidote to fear. A generous gesture is a powerful statement of confidence, like turning on a light in troubling darkness. Energetically, generosity is expansive, and when we invoke it, we can feel like an inner sun has dawned which illuminates our anxiety.

Without ignoring the troubles of this crisis, we can personally choose to manifest kindness and a view toward serving others. We can avoid being a prisoner of negative emotions – like the man at the bank in that instance.

Generosity at this time can involve money, but if our income is in doubt we can find other ways. We can reach out to a friend spontaneously just to talk, to share comforting conversation.

We can call our loved ones to reaffirm our affection. We can thank the cashiers at the food stores and the other workers we encounter who are still on the job, and who are heroically holding our society together. Do we know a health professional that we can contact, to express our gratitude?

Small acts of generosity are empowering, and as we ease the fears of others, we also transcend our own anxiety. Invoking a generous heart, let us find ways to act from confidence in these uncertain times.

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