In a program called Joy of Giving, a number of IMSB members practiced mindful giving by donating to a charity of our choice. We thought hard about charities that touched our hearts, donated our own and/or IMSB funds, discussed our choices with other givers, and participated in two discussions exploring the role that generosity can play in our lives.
Most participants focused on basic human needs for food, shelter, and healthcare. Some of our members gave directly to individuals, while other members gave to organizations that help feed those who are hungry, provide shelter or health care for those without, support Buddhist monastics who live on alms, assist those with Alzheimer’s disease, and help parents of children with special needs.
We gave where we saw need. The gifts reminded us that we have much to be grateful for. Sharing acknowledges our interconnection. We hope that those who received our gifts will know that someone cares. And the practice of giving is also a practice of letting go.
Through our community discussions we realized that while IMSB’s Joy of Giving Program involved cash gifts, we also gave kind words, time, and attention. We were communicating our care. We ended the second discussion with the words of Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”