Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Incoglilo on Giving

Do you help because you're selfish?
Is loving yourself selfish? Could it be related to how much you love yourself? Or do you love yourself more than anybody or anything in this world? Most mothers love their children more than they love themselves. Sometimes a little bit too much. Anyway, that is not the main point of this post. The idea I am trying to present here, is the fact that we do things for others sometimes because we love ourselves. For example, donating, or helping, or giving someone a ride, asking them to be careful in the cold weather, because well if they get sick, it is us who will buy the remedies and take care of the ill person.

I always thought that giving has a big question mark on it. We can definitely relate it to the balance of things in life. How often do you see people give away their life, doctors without frontiers for example, and those who teach illiterate youngsters, they do that just to be a volunteer in some camp somewhere remote from his/her family working just for food and shelter? Some enroll in certain well-known organization and NGOs, we're talking great benefits and awesome salaries, not to forget the amazingly rich experience they will draw at the end of their mission, so are they doing it for others or themselves? Or both?

What about donating money or clothes or toys, are we clearing our minds from any guilt? Are we happy when we know we made someone else happy? The real question is, is it so wrong?

Give when asked, but better to give when unasked
Gibran Khalil Gibran told us about "Giving" in his book "The prophet". That chapter stuck to my mind, and this was probably the only time the Arabic literature teacher was proud of me, because it was a first to participate with a knowledge I had reached due to the fact that I had read the book thanks to my big brother who left the book lying somewhere in the house. Here's an excerpt:

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
...And what is fear of need but need itself?
...There are those who give little of the much which they have - and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
...It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
...All you have shall some day be given; Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'.
...You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving." The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
...See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving. For in truth it is life that gives unto life - while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness...

Secret Giving
Some argue that giving should be in secret, that I highly respect, and is definitely very hard to accomplish. I mean, how can you give and help others without telling your surrounding of what you did, because after all you feel proud and happy, and your want your family and friends to look at you and be proud of you in return, yet is that the real purpose of giving?

We might think that maybe giving shouldn't be in secret for it might inspire others to do so. Possibly! But it's also possible that these rich people might give a very low percentage of what they have, and that is technically casi nothing to them, and as Jesus puts it The Widow's Gift Mark 12:41-43:

"This poor woman put in more than the rich people did," he said. "Here's why: the rich people still have much money left.  But this woman only had two coins."

Yet again, those who need, do they care where it came from? Isn't the "casi nothing" of the rich folks "casi a lot" for them?

10th commandment
Let's talk about the tenth commandment, which states:

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."

I was talking with a client yesterday, whom is one of the amazing acquaintances I met along this year, and I thank the greater force aka GOD for crossing my path into theirs, and while I was saying that people work hard (in general) to attain a certain position in life which is "having a better life", he continued by saying: "having a better life than the others!" And I couldn't agree more, they say here that people often accumulate money to make other people envious.

We often enjoy possessing things that others do not have. It makes us seem special. So we boast about our possessions.
A reporter asked Nelson Rockefeller, "How much money does it take to be happy?" He replied, "Just a little bit more."

All this reminds me of the sweet revenge, the best revenge is to lead a happy life. This kind of revenge is definitely much better than "an eye for an eye" kind of revenge, it puts us in a whole different level, another caliber, leading a good life which lead others to envy us and thus us having our sweet revenge is a two-sided sword. If we care enough to "lead a good life" in order to have our revenge, than are we really "leading a good life"? Depending on others envy in order to be happy is not a good variable to rely on in a formula. Best would be to change the formula into one that exclude that variable.

That same person, the client I saw yesterday, who is an interior designer, told me that people want to see his house all the time, so they can see his style of work, he said: "I give people the style they asked for, because it is what they need, this is a dose from one of the things in life they need in order to be happy(ier), or not, I don't know, I don't care, but my house, there is no style, I want my house to be comfortable, people see it and tell me, these those old chairs don't go here, I tell them, sit on it, and they do and notice how comfortable they are! I have a vase that my sister gave me, and a statue I brought back from Africa or wherever, these things are sentimental to me and bring good memories, but they don't go together... who cares, I am comfortable this way"

Back to square one
This square is hideous isn't it? So we established that people do things in order to be better than other, the client did things to be comfortable, he had possessions, is he deemed to give them away now? Is this it? Are we not allowed to have anything? Or is it the way we look at them.

Never go back to square one, just step one square prior.