As I sat in stillness this morning and focused my attention on asking what it is I want to feel today, I heard the word benevolence. I wasn’t surprised. It is, after all, only a few days until Christmas and I am inclined to feel especially benevolent during this season.
As I contemplate my motivation today for delivering Christmas presents for a charitable organization, I realize that I do not have to manufacture feelings of benevolence. These feelings rise up within me, with a clarity I don’t anticipate or prepare for, when I see someone in need or when I see someone acting out of kindness to help another human being. It is a natural reaction.
This awareness leads me to question the source of and the reason for these emotions. I believe we are hardwired for emotional reactions. We are hardwired to care about and love others. Still, I don’t think we are always consciously aware of the purpose of these natural inclinations. We race through our busy days and focus on taking care of ourselves and those we are immediately responsible for. We reason that it is enough to ask of ourselves.
But, as we see people we don’t know suffering, or observe someone helping another person, our awareness is heightened. We find our way to empathy and park our ambivalence as we shift, almost automatically, to “there but for the grace of God go I” attitudes. Our natural inclination toward empathy triggers benevolence and we are inspired to take action when we see someone in need.
Perhaps I received the word benevolence, as I meditated today, to remind me that it is the season to give to those who are less fortunate. But, I realize as I write that it is more of a reminder that I should not lose this sense of benevolence after the season passes. Today I challenge myself, and I challenge you, to sustain this awareness as you consider the possibilities for benevolence in your life.
For inspiration and ideas, visit sourceimperative.com/#giveahandup.
Sourceimperative.com came to life as I encountered people who are looking for purpose and feel as if they cannot find it. I incorporated #giveahandup as a key part of my website to call attention to the fact that many of us have, at some time in our lives, had a need that was filled by someone who was benevolent. That doesn’t mean we needed long-term assistance, but during the moment of need we were grateful for the benevolence of another human being.
Note: After many failed attempts at meditation, I decided to take the advice of music mogul, Russell Simmons, who wrote Success Through Stillness. He suggests setting a timer for twenty minutes and sitting still regardless of distracting thoughts. I wrote after each session to create this thirty-day blog series.