Charity can be applied to giving material goods or having a charitable attitude. Usually giving things to an organization known as a charity means we are recycling what we have - or giving some of our money for a worthwhile cause.
A charitable attitude can be nurtured by seeing the best in others’ motives and deeds - even when the consensus is against them. An example would be feeling charitable when we see someone taking what we consider more than their fair share of cookies off the plate. We know most people would see that as hogging the cookies, but a charitable attitude would think that perhaps they missed a meal and are hungry.
Charity does begin at home - we get lots of practice being charitable when we are around the same group of people often. The home ground is our training ground in learning how to live compatibly and harmoniously with others - in fact how to act so we will feel happy ourselves.
Here is a meditation to reflect on substituting a charitable attitude for judgment
Begin by choosing a quiet place where you will be undisturbed. Ideas include a corner of your bedroom, a space in the attic or out on a patio in your garden. Sit up straight and close your eyes. Fold your hands in your lap. Take time to establish an even breathing pattern such as one count to breathe in and one count to breathe out. Continue this rhythm throughout your meditation.
Spend a minute following your breath. This is to calm body, mind, emotions. Even breathing does all that. When you are feeling centered and still, turn your thoughts to charity. What practical ways can you use a charitable attitude in your daily routine? Could you concentrate on one person at a time and really make a concerted effort to be kind in your thoughts and actions with them?
Now take a moment to send one person charitable thoughts. Even while you are thinking about this project notice that you feel better just adopting a positive attitude. Notice that kind and charitable thoughts leave you peaceful and relaxed.
End your meditation by taking a deep breath and slowly releasing it. Open your eyes and stretch out. Go forward with a charitable attitude and make someone’s day brighter while becoming lighter and brighter yourself.
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Article by Susan Helene Kramer