by Sequoia Elisabeth Carpenter
What is charity and why is it important, or more to the point - is it important? Buddha and Jesus practiced a form of charity that can only be described as generosity and agape. The dictionary defines charity as “generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless, as in something given to a person or persons in need”. The key words here to me are generous and given, but that is contrasted with “in need”. So let’s look at need. The dictionary defines need as a lack of something wanted or deemed necessary, or an urgent want, as of something requisite. Again words jump out and help to further understand this question. The words lack and want present themselves. Are you getting a clearer picture now? This can be very confusing, so let me go deeper for you. In order for me to do that, I need to share my cosmology or understanding of Universal Law with you.
“There is but one mind, the mind of God and that mind is my mind now!” This quote by Ernest Holmes says it all. There is only one! One mind, one God, one Source, and in order for this one source of all to experience itself fully it chose to individuate or diversify. We are each an individual point or part of the whole. This being true, we are each “made in the image of our creator” or an extension of GOD! We are not separate, not some toy God made to amuse itself and not at God’s mercy. We are God’s Mercy! All that we do is an extension of God. Sort of like agents for GOD. Of course this is merely the surface, but you get the point. Who and what we are can be taken much deeper, but that is beyond the scope of this article. Let’s get back to charity. Now that we know what it is, let’s look at why or if it is important. This question is much trickier.
How do we decide what is important? Does someone else tell us that or do we decide? For the sake of this article let us just say that whatever is important in this world is up to you. Bottom line, nothing is important lest you make it so! I reached this conclusion after much contemplation and meditation, not to mention real life trials and tribulations. So once again why is or is not charity important? This is something that only you can answer, so make up your own mind. (This is why we individuated!) My role here is to share my perspective and hopefully deepen our understanding of this concept, Charity.
The way I see it is we each make choices every day and as we do this one thing leads to another and we experience “that which we create” - our Lives! Life is made up of a combination of choices and fate (choices we made before we were born). Each experience we have is from a choice we made at some point in our eternal journey of Life. It is not up to us to judge these experiences as good or bad, but to simply experience them to the fullest of our capacity. So how does one decide who is “in need”? Who gets to choose your wants or desires? Who decides who is lacking and what they lack? Take your time here as these questions are pivotal to the future of mankind!
I feel it is an individual decision to make the choice of what we want or desire! Another important concept is the mirror principal, which states that what you see is a reflection of your thoughts! What you see is what you get! ... Ouch! or ... Ahh HA!
If you see LACK you are experiencing lack, therefore you are thinking and acting it also! You are creating the very thing you are trying to eliminate!!! NEED! (Because what you see is what you get) This is a paradox of our dualistic world, but it is Universal Law. By providing charity, you are creating the need for charity and thus is the paradox of all life activities here on earth. For example, when you meet a person on the street who is limping with a crutch( see the little Cratchit boy, Tiny Tim), what thoughts go thru your mind? Most use the ego mind which attempts to explain the condition of the person we meet (poor little tiny Tim – feel sorry for him), but I would suggest to you now that the truth is not evident to our human eyes! Consider the possibility that Tiny Tim chose his experience, just for the experience of it. Who are you to judge it as good or bad? The Spirit self or Christ within knows nothing of good or bad, it only is! Now when we go on a “Charity Trip to an impoverished country” what are we really doing? In my opinion we are attempting to rescue ourselves from false belief. Do we see Christ’s children being the best humans they can or do we see “a poor starved child”? Do we see lack? Or do we see Abundance of Spirit expressing as it chooses? When we see a homeless person sleeping under a tree or begging for money in the subway, what goes through our mind? Is that a choice? Of course a choice has been made, the deeper question is why? I still do not believe that it is up to me to decide for another their experiences. If a person is in harm’s way and I am able to assist them, I will, but only if they ask. If someone asks me for assistance, I will always do what I can! This is the tricky part, giving is receiving and we all enjoy receiving, so why not help everyone? Maybe not everyone needs our help. Maybe our need to be needed is the very problem to start with! Asking if they would like assistance is still assuming that they are needy. I am here to see them as happy, healthy, and vibrant; nothing less will do!
So let me recap for you. Charity for the sake of “the poor, the sick or downtrodden” is a self fulfilling prophecy. The giving of Charity to a person who asks is simply put, Agape. This is the Charity Jesus practiced. He saw each person he met as the Christ fully realized and in this was the gift! This is the gift we can give each person we meet! If we see a person as one way or the other that is what you get! So why not see them as the Christ? If they ask for something give it to them, but let’s not go looking for needy people, so that we can feel good about how good we are. The Buddha said that “If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of selfishness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared, if there were someone to receive their gift. But because beings do not know, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they eat without having given. The stain of selfishness overcomes their minds.” Khuddaka Nikaya, Itivuttaka I.26 Life is so simple, easy is up to you! I think that this is what is meant by the quote, “Be the Peace you desire in this world”. Share of what you have, be kind to others, and see Peace everywhere you go. See beyond the apparent chaos, and the illusion of war. See Peace! Now this is Charity!