Look carefully and see the abundance in which you live. Cultivate generosity in thoughts, words, and deeds. Give with a warm heart. Offer your gifts without thought of receiving. When you feel a sense of lack or scarcity, give some more. Allow generosity of Spirit to ripple into the new year.
Cultivating the virtue of magnanimity begins with awareness. Magnanimity is generosity of Spirit and the ability to forgive. It is perhaps the most challenging of Swami Sivananda’s 18 ities because it requires us to be vulnerable: to admit we have been hurt or have hurt others.
Freeing ourselves from the destructive effects of injustices big or small is challenging and takes time. Acknowledging there is anything that needs to be let go of or released is the first step. This awareness however does us no good if we are unable to let go of our position, our need to be righteous.
Forgiveness is not the excusing of harm done, it is not forgetting. It is the acknowledgment that a wrong was committed or experienced. This is uncomfortable and we tend to steer clear of discomfort. Having the courage to move through the discomfort of this stage allows for release and growth. When working toward forgiveness, it is possible to condemn the act, but not the perpetrator.
Viewing any act of harm or violence, as a symptom of perpetrator’s suffering? Challenging though it may be, especially when we are directly harmed, is how we move towards forgiveness. No injustice, big or small, was ever perpetrated out of a deep sense of connection and community. Think about this for a moment. Negative self-talk and gossip are rooted in our own suffering. No news report on school bullies or horrific mass shootings for that matter ever sited the offender’s deep sense of connection and belonging.
Forgiveness is possible when we become aware of suffering, our own and others. Release and growth occurs not when we shut down and build walls of protection, but when we acknowledge our truths, connect to one another and foster community.
When cultivating the virtue of Integrity, think integration! Examine your own behavior, thoughts, and speech. Pay particular attention to any inconsistencies between what you say and what you actually do. Note when your behavior is inconsistent with your beliefs.
A person of integrity is living from a place of intention. We often find ourselves reacting to situations out of habit or conditioning. However, when we take the time to choose our thoughts, words and deeds carefully, we create a union between our bodies and minds. We become whole. We are trustworthy and honorable.
Tenacity is the practice of persistent determination as we move towards fulfilling our intentions. Once we choose a specific goal, we must cultivate the patience and stamina to get up when we fall or refocus when we lose our way.
When exploring the virtue of tenacity, I struggled to find much in-depth writing from the yogic perspective. The following quote is sourced from my original inspiration to work through the practice of the 18 Ities – Happinez magazine. It reminds me of the importance of returning to my intentions. When things get tough for me, when I feel myself grasping and clinging on for dear life – if I return to my intention ALL IS WELL.
Perseverance. Life is a spiritual search and this search is not a straight, vertical line, it’s a winding road. Dark patches, mountain roads, side-paths, crossroads where choices have to be made, getting lost, stumbling, getting back up again. These aspects are all part of it. This is where we learn to be tenacious. What was the objective? If we bear this in mind, we won’t easily let go. Don’t be discouraged if something fails. But more importantly: don’t be discouraged if you sometimes fail. Hold on to who you are as well as who you want to be.