"After a while, the gap between my social behavior and my real behavior got so large, it troubled me. I told my problem to a teacher at Zen Center, and he encouraged me to begin a selfishness practice to see where my true generosity might lie. So for the next several months, whenever cookies were served at tea, I was always very careful to take the largest one. Whenever anyone asked me for help with something, I always said no. This was very hard at first, but eventually I got into it. After some months, I felt so personally nourished that I found myself spontaneously offering to help someone almost without realizing it. I thought about it later and realized that I finally felt completely taken care of, that I was full to the brim, and so I was willing — even eager — to share my bounty with others. This is the internal revolution that turns the social convention of courteous helpfulness into genuine and unstinting generosity. In the realm of helping or nurturing behavior, charity very much begins at home."

To Practice: Be deliberately selfish for a period of time; then examine whether your willingness to be generous has changed.

Darlene Cohen in Finding a Joyful Life in the Heart of Pain