Hardwired to be Generous
Tuesday, November 11, 2011
"Human beings are hardwired to be generous, compassionate, kind and to be delighted. " I heard a great discussion on CBC (Tapestry) with Dacher Keltner who has written a book called Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life. In his book, Dacher investigates an old mystery of human evolution: why have we evolved positive emotions like gratitude, amusement, awe, and compassion that promote ethical action and are the fabric of cooperative societies? Dacher suggests that positive emotions are designed by evolution to ensure the survival of our communities, and of our species.
I've been thinking about the upcoming Christmas season and it makes sense that people want to be generous and give. We want to surprise and delight our families and friends and let them know that we love them and appreciate them in our lives. We feel good when we give. In the practice of yoga we often talk about how every person has their own unique "energetic signature" or blueprint that they bring into the class. Each person has their own vibration - some are soft and quiet, others louder and more outgoing. When you meet someone, you often pick up on their energetic vibration before they even open their mouth. When you feel immediately comfortable with someone you picking up on their energy. I like to believe that every gift I give this Christmas has it's own unique vibration. There are so many articles/ emails floating around about the importance of giving locally, supporting local businesses/ artists or helping folks locally who need a little assistant (i.e. 4C's, Food for Kids etc.). It feels good in our hearts to help the people that are around us. I feel the lovely vibration that is in the homemade Christmas card that my daughter makes me every year. I feel my mom's love immediately when I open the annual "Christmas Cake" that she makes for me. My daughter is the one who asks me every year "Mom, have we bought a bag of groceries for the 4Cs?". I love going to the local Christmas bazaars at Churches around the county and picking up little surprise gifts. The people who bake and knit and crochet the gifts put so much of their time and love into the projects and that energy comes into our home, or into the homes of the people we give the gifts to. I've been joking with my friends this year that I'm giving everyone sprouts because it is something that I am good at doing. My friend arrived at our home a week ago with dinner for 10 of us - Sweet Potato Soup and Eggplant Tortino. What a beautiful gift on a cold Friday evening in November. Some times the simplest things are the best. Enjoy spreading your unique vibrations this Christmas.