Each and every day generous impulses rise with in you. Follow them.
They’re immediate, pure, and unconcerned about results. They are expressions of life wanting to live, love wanting to love. You feel them before you think them. They evaporate if they are not acted upon.
They are the smile, the laugh, the kind word or act without any question about what’s in it for you. In fact they have no thought of you at all. The generous impulse is not a humble “selfless act”, but an act that is totally lacking of “self”.
You’ll recognize them by the goodness you feel when you follow them. You may be expansive and calm, or giddy like a kid at play. There’s an innocence and bold vulnerability to the generous impulse that is hard to describe, but you know it when you feel it, and you recognize it when you see it.
It acts and it moves on.
It doesn’t wait around to be noticed or thanked. But its goodness lingers in your cells.
The essence of you, the very core of who you are, is constant, eternal and limitless. It’s unafraid of opinions, and doesn’t care about results. It is the source of life and love and gives itself without regard. This is the birth place of the generous impulse.
When you dance for no reason, laugh out loud, hug a stranger, help an injured animal, smile at a baby, cry at a sunset, give up your seat on the bus, or tuck a fiver into the cup of a homeless man when he’s looking the other way, you’re following the impulse that comes up from the deepest part of you.
If you breathe for just a moment right now you’ll probably remember several generous impulses you’ve followed, and how true they made you feel.
The generous impulse doesn’t rise up out of guilt or duty or a belief that you should. There is no “you” in the impulse to be dutiful or guilty. There is no “you” that should. These heavy obligations don’t begin in the constant truth of who you are. They spin round and round the ever changing flux of thoughts, ideas, judgments and beliefs that flow through you a thousand times a day. They are quick to brake the flow of the generous impulse, and stop you from living your most joyful life.
The impulse to dance moves you. The weight of “I’ll look stupid” holds you down.
A hug rushes from your heart to your arms. The straight-jacket of “what will he think?” keeps you bound.
If you pay attention you’ll notice the impulses just before your mind rushes in. If you catch it you’ll feel the expansive joy of the movement inside you and the quick contraction of your mind’s response.
I feel the impulse inside me every day, and I override it much of the time … to fit in, play it safe, and not be “too much”. But when I let these bubblings up to do what they will, it puts a spring in my step every time. It wakens me back up to who I really am.
Several weeks ago I made a deposit at my bank. The teller, a man I’d never met before, tried several times to suppress a big yawn. “Need a coffee?” I asked. “A big latte”, he answered, “but I don’t have a break for two hours.” I left the bank and two blocks later passed a coffee shop. “Buy him a latte.” the impulse giggled. I felt the rush of joy. With my hand on the door knob of the coffee shop my smarty-pants voice chirped, “Don’t be ridiculous.” I felt the joy-crushing energy of that voice and opened the door anyway. “You don’t even know what he wants”, it chided, while I inched my way through the line. With the latte in hand, I headed back to the bank, when scaredy-cat voice freaked out, “What if he thinks you’re hitting on him?” “Stop” “It’s not to late to turn back”.
Like a mad-woman, I laughed at the voices in my head and kept walking. I got back to the bank and delivered the coffee to the sleepy teller. He was shocked and pleased and we both laughed. I don’t know his name and will probably never see him again, but that impulse more than made my day. Even remembering it now, quickens the joy within me.
Not all impulses are so involved. They are usually short and sweet and ever so simple – letting a car cut in, opening a door, telling her she looks pretty, putting the worm back in the dirt. And they always make you feel good.
If you feel the generous impulse to share this with someone, please follow it now!