An Elder once said, “In sharing you show kindness, and honor the kindness you received from others.”
Included in the teaching of generosity, are sharing and kindness. The opposites are selfish and greed.
Generosity is caring, because you care enough, are thoughtful enough, to give and share with others. Through generosity comes happiness. When you receive a gift, do you remember the happiness you felt, that someone cared and thought enough to give you something?
It is better to give than to have more then we need, being greedy, hoarding and keeping things for ourselves. One can never give to much. For why should we have more then another? We must always remember to open our hearts and share with others. Generosity opens our hearts and touches the hearts of others.
Generosity is the first teaching, and was first given at the time of beginning, when Kishelamakank, the Creator, gave of himself to bring the Universe into being.
In the natural world, we are taught generosity in many ways. For Kishelamakank, the Creator, is constantly creating and giving gifts to us; our lives, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the animals and plants which sustain us. So, we should learn from all the world around us to give freely and not to stop the flow or stop the giving. We must keep this energy, this giving which we can see working around us; keep it going in our lives. If Creator kept the air for himself, all life would die; if he kept the water for himself, the Earth would dry up, and all life might thirst and perish; and if he kept the animals and plants from us, we would die from starvation. Everyone and everything shares in the gifts of light, land, air and water from the Creator. These gifts are not intended for anyone alone and cannot rightly be denied to another. All, having received, must humble ourselves before the Creator and all of creation, and we must acknowledge the great bounty in thanksgiving.
The sun rises giving light to all life, to all the Earth. Life receives this light, is nourished and grows, reaching maturity, giving forth more life, eventually becoming old and letting go of this light to enter darkness and death, like the setting sun, thus completing the cycle of giving and receiving, of light and life.
It has been our way, shown to us long ago, and practice our Ancestors since ancient times, that we should always remember to open our hearts and share with others, to always think of others before ourselves, to always be helpful to others, as the Creator and all life shares their gifts with us, keeping us alive. When we take the life of a plant, tree or animal it should only be when we have need of this life. For all life is sacred, put here by Creator, and is not to be wasted or killed without purpose but only taken to allow us to live. Remember always to give an offering of thanks in taking life, giving thanks for it’s giving.
When we give to others, we give the best that we have. The Creator didn’t give us polluted air to breath or bad water to drink. Once, when the Creator’s gifts for life were not defiled and desecrated, the air was fresh and the water pure. The Creator gave us the best that he had, and it is up to us not to take these gifts for granted, but to respect and give thanks for the sacred gifts of life and pass them on to future generations as they were given to us long ago. In showing gratitude for these gifts, we develop attitudes of right and good mind in ourselves and others, that these gifts be kept pure and clean as when first given.
One should not give to others because we feel we have to, or to make ourselves feel good or inflate our feelings of self-importance. We should give because we want to, knowing that it is what we should do, the way given to us by our Ancestors and in keeping to the Original Instructions of our Creator and in his example of unselfish giving to all the Earth, to all land and life.
As the giver gives freely and generously, so the receiver must acknowledge his gratitude in the same spirit. There is no giving without a receiver. With giving comes receiving. We should always accept the gift given by others. In refusing to accept the gift of another, we give insult and offense. As we learn to be generous, we must also learn to receive.
Generosity, giving and receiving are like one breath, in and out. Stop giving. Stop receiving, breathing stops and death comes quickly. Learning to receive well makes generosity grow in others. Always give thanks for the giving of another, for it is an affront to not accept it gladly. The giving flow of the Creator must be allowed to continue and must be supported when it comes from others. Take nothing for granted, always give thanks, and remember humility, or one day the giving may stop, our life may end; then what would you do?
We hold a person to be truly great, not by their wealth, fame or material possessions, or status, but by how much one gives and does for others in their life, by what one can do through giving for their People. This is the way of the Creator, the giving of life, a precious gift, on this Earth.