Dāna is a Sanskrit word meaning generosity, charity, or giving. As a practice, it is a universal part of all spiritual and religious traditions, ancient and contemporary. Neuroscience research is showing that human behavior is guided more by empathy and generosity than by selfishness. Even toddlers love to be generous; I remember one sleepy morning, my 15 month-old reached into her diaper and proudly brought out a piece of poop to share, putting it carefully in my unsuspecting hand. We give what’s of value to us! For Dharma practitioners, it is through generosity that our practice of loving awareness deepens and unfolds – and in the case of InsightLA, your annual and/or monthly donations are essential to provide a steady stream of the lifeblood that allows our doors and our classes to remain open to all.
May is the month of giving for non-profit organizations dedicated to helping. Today, we’re launching a Spring Campaign to ask you to please support InsightLA with a monthly donation. We need to establish new scholarship funds for teacher development and for young people and people of color who need support to do more training and intensive practice in retreat. We need funds to renovate the property in Benedict Canyon where we hold daylong retreats and programs to provide mindfulness and self-compassion training that serve specific communities. And next week, Rosamaria Segura, our Director for Insight in Action, will tell you more about the wonderful work happening to bring these beneficial practices out into the world beyond our centers. This work, too, needs funding.
Mindfulness could just as well be called heartfulness; in Sanskrit and Pali, the word for mind, Citta, also means heart. Cultivating generosity is not only a way to strengthen your practice and ensure that the doors of our sangha stay open; it is also a way to live a joyful life of imagination and creativity — a way to find poetry and beauty in a new vision of what’s possible for our human hearts.
Just as Mother Nature gives us an outpouring of an immense beauty in the Spring – wildflowers, birdsongs, breezes and more sunlit hours, our Spring campaign offers all of us the chance to profoundly impact our community in a meaningful, beautiful way. Please become part of our Spring Giving and contribute to calming minds, opening hearts, changing the world.
Trudy, Heather, Mark, Martin, Rosamaria, Thomas, Zia, Won, Angela, Anisa, Vince, Edward, Lindsey, Nico, and Rachel.