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Generosity, Gratitude, and Immunity

🕑 3 minutes read
Posted October 14, 2020

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

– W. H. Auden

Article by Ron B. Minson, MD

About Dr. Ron. B. Minson, MD: With the company since its founding, 2007 and with its predecessor, Dynamic Listening Systems, 2001. Dr. Minson was originally trained by the grandfather in the field, Dr. Tomatis, in 1989 and opened a center the following year. Following my daughter’s remarkable and unexpected emergence from a deep depression and liberated from the prison of dyslexia, I dedicated my professional life to the clinical practice of sound therapy, learning and teaching all I could from some of the most advanced practitioners in Europe. After years of clinical practice with children and adults, I devote my time supervising those tough cases that cause us all to scratch our heads, assisting with updating and editing clinical training manuals, writing and speaking about my experience in this field.

A young single, pregnant woman with a small child at home was recently released from the hospital following 5 days on a ventilator due to Covid-19  The response to her need for food, staple items, frozen and fresh vegetables was a tsunami of support and generosity. Overwhelmed at the sight of all the food and pantry items, eyes brimming with tears, she said, “I feel so loved and secure now.” Her heart overflowed with gratitude.

She had received enough needed supplies to sustain her while she recovered and waited for benefits to kick-in. Yet, offers of help continued to pour in. “Do you need baby wipes, baby food, cleaning supplies…what else can I do to help”? During the Covid-19 pandemic, generous offers of support, aid and help for one another, even for strangers, are palpable now. It is in the air; you can feel it. 

Immune Support

By their very nature, gratitude and generosity are healing. They strengthen the immune system. They are potent antidotes to the rampant pandemic of fear spreading over many parts of the country and the world. Fear, like the virus, is contagious and spreads like wildfire. Sadly, fear also weakens the immune system. Realizing that fear and gratitude are both mental states, replacing fear with gratitude strengthens and supports your immunity.

Gratitude and generosity are also intimately related. Have you noticed that grateful people are also the most generous? As it turns out, there is a deep neural connection between these two. Both gratitude and generosity activate parts of the brain known as the cingulate gyrus and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. It turns out that gratitude and generosity are related neurologically as well as psychologically.  Thus, cultivating a grateful heart encourages us to be more generous, a relationship that benefits both the giver and the receiver. 

Cultivating Generosity

Remember the outpouring of help for the single, pregnant young mother recovering from Covid-19? She had just been released from the hospital after having been on a ventilator. She needed help; her cupboards were bare, she was financially strapped, she was weak…a young mother expecting a child. The recognition of her suffering triggered a beautiful compassionate response from friends and those who didn’t even know her.  

In the words of an enlightened teacher, “The recognition of suffering awakens the heart of compassion that leads to generosity.” In the chaos of 2020, humanity is suffering on a scale not seen in decades.  As we witness the current state of the human condition, with all the tension, anger, and divisiveness, it is easy to fall prey to these negative emotions and afflictive mental states. It can be a challenge to maintain a calm mind and a compassionate heart under the current circumstances.

This is where meditation can help. Meditation is a powerful tool to calm a reactive mind yanked around by fear, anxiety and distress.  Given that compassion and generosity arise from a state of inner peace and a calm mind, a regular practice of meditation has never been more needed. Your grounded understanding of the current human condition, supported by an open heart and a serene mind, will undoubtedly awaken compassion and pristine generosity. You can truly make a positive difference in the world by acts of compassion and generosity. 

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