Generosity: “… Generous is a word that is almost big enough to describe reality. After all, what could be more generous than this that allows everything to be everything? The hypothetical start of things — the Big Bang — that primal flaring forth was nothing if not Pure Generosity, no holding back — Here! A universe for you!  ~ Elias Amidon

generosity big bang amidon

Ah! the magic of the Universe being the “driver” – and the Grace in surrendering to it :-)) …

I (Sanjiv) had planned on an entirely different post for today (part 3 of Dominic’s Diamond Inquiry book excerpt series) … but upon starting the work was keenly aware of the “persisting afterglow (ongoing-glow?)” of yesterday/Nov 30th (the 2021 #GivingTuesday) : a day that celebrates generosity – by uniting in a worldwide movement. A movement that, as per Asha Curran (CEO, Giving Tuesday): “… grows both broader and deeper because of the countless people who believe in its power to transform societies through generosity …”

This “sense within” wanted to continue honoring and celebrating generosity – somehow … so decided to surrender to this urge …

As it happens often am mysteriously – and magically – led to a clarity about the “sense within” … won’t go into the details of the “meanderings to clarity” … except to mention that the “overriding sense” of the following excerpts was swirling “in my mind” (due to yesterday’s immersion in the #GivingTuesday campaign):

“… We {Giving Tuesday} celebrate and uplift grassroots generosity, and generosity as a universally held value.

The upheavals of 2020 only magnified GivingTuesday’s mission, as generosity became the common language of response, of action, of healing. Around the world, people turned to generosity as a response to the traumas we were collectively experiencing.

For many, it’s difficult to imagine any resultant good that can come from this year {2020} of division, inequity, violence and suffering. But we have found inspiration and determination in the new type of radical generosity that arose from our collective pain and fear—generosity expressed as solidarity and shared humanity.

In 2020 people gave $2.47Billion just in USA alone! (up from 1.97 Billion in 2019) …”

Turns out the Stillness Speaks “yet-to-be published content library” offered something with a unique perspective on generosity … by Elias Amidon – a Sufi master! … a perspective that talks about the “larger value or deeper essence ” of the word generosity (or what he terms as Pure, Vast, Universal, Great Generosity) … generosity that includes balance, sovereignty, … and more …

So … here is Elias’ insightful, inspiring, illuminating, and thought provoking view on generosity – expressed through his post titled The Face that Lights the Candle

Generosity: The Face That Lights The Candle

Generous is a word that is almost big enough to describe reality. After all, what could be more generous than this that allows everything to be everything? The hypothetical start of things — the Big Bang — that primal flaring forth was nothing if not Pure Generosity, no holding back — Here! A universe for you!

The nature of our sun is the same: its light given freely year after year, for billions of them! We live by the generosity of its light. Every glass of milk, every apple, every cup of coffee is given by its light, and we appear by the grace of that giving.

And what of this ever-unfurling spontaneous moment, how might we describe it but Purely Generous? Or this awareness that is the root of our being? We take our awareness for granted, we take the spontaneity of this moment for granted, and indeed they are just that: granted, given without our needing to ask.

This Vast Generosity we live within is free, unselfish, generative, unconditional — blessing us and everything with becoming. Its generosity is love itself. So if we need some guidance about how to live, this might be a good place to start — to contemplate the Ocean of Generosity we live in, and how every moment it makes its offering. There’s no need to go out of our way to do this — every given breath reminds us!

sunrise ocean generosity amidon

You might say this view of an Ultimate Generosity as a guide for living is overly simple, and it is. There is more to the story —

The Pure Generosity of transparent light is met by opaque matter. Light goes every which way yet doesn’t bump into itself. But matter, that other form of light, offers resistance. It absorbs and reflects. It waits in a form, and when it can sustain that form no longer it shape-shifts into another form. In each form it seeks to remain as long as possible. So now we have, in the midst of Universal Generosity: boundaries, self-definition, self-maintenance — that which does not to give itself away like sunlight, but seeks instead to maintain itself as itself.

Our lives are balanced right there — part of the Great Give-Away and yet charged to be these unique forms, for a time. Now the question of generosity as an ethic to live by has more depth. If you continually give away all the food on your plate, you’ll starve. If you never give, you’ll wither alone. How then shall we keep our balance between generosity and self-interest?

transparent light amidon

We see this question being played out in the politics of our time: for example, the desire to welcome refugees and the fear they will threaten us or weaken our identity. We see it in our personal relationships, when by always putting others’ wishes before our own we risk losing our sovereignty. My sense of this question — finding the balance between generosity and self-maintenance — is that in stating the question we’ve done most of the work. The act of holding the question reveals its answer. We find balance the way we do when we walk, by always being off-balance and then correcting. It’s a good example of how non-duality shows up through duality: left foot, right foot, giving, keeping, so the flowing flows without getting stuck at either pole.

But there’s something else here, something this little contemplation on generosity and sovereignty might faintly point to. These words — generosity and sovereignty — are stubbornly spatial: sovereignty or self-maintenance is a concept that denotes a special place, a location where “I” am sovereign. In a parallel way, the word generosity denotes a transaction from “here” to “there,” from giver to receiver. We conceive both of these ideas spatially. But that conception leaves us in a dualistic and fractional view of how things actually happen.

There’s a beautiful phrase from one of Rumi’s poems: “the face that lights the candle.” It makes us stop. What? How could this be? Candles light faces, not the other way around. But we’re invited here to escape the linear logic of our language, just for a moment, and allow the generosity of the light and the uniqueness of the face to mutually arise, without one causing the other.

face that lights the candle amidon

Mutually arise? How?

The apple ripening in the sunlight allows the sunlight to appear, to be sunlight. Without the apple, or any “thing” of matter, the sunlight would not be revealed. It would just go on and on, and never become visible. At the same time, as we know, the sun gives birth to the apple. No sun, no apple.

And so it is with our sovereignty: our being this unique being is made possible by our generous reciprocity with All Being. No generous reciprocity, no unique being. Likewise the Great Generosity itself makes possible what is sovereign, what is unique.

The candle lights the face, and the face lights the candle.

~ Elias Amidon

And, here’s a gentle reminder to help those in times of extreme need … to that end we highlight two “hubs” of giving from which you can select your desired recipient(s) …

1) Direct Relief, which is “… a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies – without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay …” … and since 1948, it “… has worked to help people who confront enormous hardship to recover from disasters and improve the quality of their lives. The tradition of direct and targeted assistance, provided in a manner that respects and involves the people served, has been a hallmark of the organization since its founding …”

2) Go Fund Me continues to be a platform (amongst many others) for exercising – and deepening – our kindness and compassion. To this end, we have selected a few “pertinent to this time” campaigns that bring relief … for animals during natural disaster (like the llming IDA Hurricane) … for a family that lost the father – a marine in Afghanistan – while expecting a new baby … for small businesses … for restaurant workers – the world over …

Also, … here’s a GoFundMe blog post Fundraising for Coronavirus Relief: How You Can Help the Fight that offers a very comprehensive map for the COVID relief efforts including how you can help, what to give to, and lots more … We are supporting some of these campaigns personally and also as Stillness Speaks (through donations).

— — — —

We are all facing financial challenges but IF your situation allows you to donate and help then please do so …

Of course, there are many more worthy and noble efforts – the ones highlighted here are simply suggestions that may inspire you to donate to whatever effort you are drawn to …



May your life be infused with  Pure, Vast, Universal, Great Generosity  … and …

May you be the   face that lights the candle   … and …

May you remain safe and healthy as you navigate these unsettling times.


Elias’ writes a monthly Notes from the Open Path which are short contemplations on an approach to living wholeheartedly and in clear awareness (aspects of his Open Path teachings) … visit his website for more of his work: The Open Path – The Sufi Way.

The entire text of The Face That Lights The Candle above is authored by Elias and is excerpted from his March 2017 monthly email Notes from the Open Path (also available on his website). He has graciously given us permission to freely share these notes with our readers.

Italicized excerpts in the 1st block quote re GivingTuesday are from the 2020 GivingTuesday Impact Report.
Images (edited and logos added): Featured and 1) Glowing cosmic vortex or super nova illustration by Mermolenko, 2) One of GivingTuesday Logos from their website, 3) Beautiful sunrise over the sea by valio84sl, 4) 3D detailed illustration of a drop of water gold color by Irochka, 5) Woman by mihtiander.All purchased from depositphotos and are for use only on our website/social channels (these images are not permitted to be shared separate from this post).


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