Some Thoughts on Dana: the Practice of Generosity
A compilation from her reading, by Gina Sonne, President of the Valley Insight Advisory Board
The practice of generosity, or Dana, in our tradition means giving freely, without expectation of receiving anything in return. Gil Fronsdal reminds us: perhaps Dana is more about how we are than about what we do. The practice of generosity is two-fold: it connects us both to others and to ourselves. Giving creates a relationship between the giver and the receiver. It helps us to learn about the nature of relationships. Through the practice of generosity, we begin to see where we hold back and where we feel fear.
Of course, generosity is not just about giving money or material things. We can be generous with our time, our kindness, and our receptivity. Because giving involves letting go, it develops our capacity to relinquish clinging. It also helps us to develop qualities of the heart such as kindness, compassion, and warmth. *******
Ways to give to Valley Insight: Some people participate simply by attending sitting groups or retreats or by receiving our monthly e-newsletters. Others volunteer their time in various ways. A volunteer advisory board oversees and provides ongoing care for the organization. Valley Insight relies on financial contributions from the sangha.
Team Leader: Michael Stoner
Description: External community outreach, building stronger communication between the sangha and the board, newsletter reconfiguring and oversight, website updating and oversight, use of VIMS mailing lists. The team is looking for a “Listserv/Email wrangler,” a volunteer to handle the posting of various VIMS events on the area listservs and to check email correspondence at the Valley Insight Inbox. The time commitment: an estimated 30 minutes/week. If interested, please contact Michael at Contact Us.
Description: The finance team oversees the financial well-being of VIMS, including reviewing quarterly and year-end financial reports, creating an annual budget, reviewing tax reports, making recommendations for investments, and suggesting limits on significant expenditures such as hiring staff and renting or purchasing new space. One occasional but important duty of a team member will be as VIMS’ liaison with people who manage the spaces we rent. This person would also negotiate rates for new classes, etc.
Description: The membership team works to increase the engagement and number of VIMS members with a fall membership drive mailing. Acknowledgment is made for membership contributions and other significant gifts.
Team Leader: Doris Hampton
Description: The retreat team plans and implements logistics for daylong and weekend retreats, and other special teaching events.
Support Sangha Team
Team Leaders: Connie O’Leary, Claudia Brandenburg, and Kate Schaefer
Description: Works to cultivate and foster connections within the sangha and in the larger community.
President – Gina Sonne
Treasurer – Suzanne Champlin
Opportunities for Giving
- Come to a sitting group or retreat and join us in “practicing peace”
- Become a member of Valley Insight
- Contact us to sign up for our mailing list and receive monthly e-newsletters for information and inspiration on living a wakeful, compassionate life
- Help set up or clean up at our weekly Monday and Tuesday sits.
- Serve on the advisory board
- Help with organizational details such as maintaining a mailing list or assisting with organizing events
- Support our teachers financially in their work of teaching, writing and guiding the organization
- Make a recurring or one-time donation to Valley Insight
- Support the prison sangha with a contribution ear-marked to help pay for gas used by the volunteers who make the monthly drive to Berlin, New Hampshire (2.5 hours each way).
- Be creative! Tell us another way you can give
- Whatever you do, take time to feel the effects of giving in your mind and heart. Notice how it feels to be anonymous in your giving and notice how it feels to be named. There isn’t a right way in this respect. Just keep noticing intention and how it feels in the heart. Remember: “When you walk in the mist you get wet.” ~Dogen …Feel the moisture!