The easy way to give in today's world is by donating money, but how does that fit into the cycle of giving?
(Image source Michael Longmire on Unsplash)
Most religions have a concept of tithing or charitable donations to help support a cause. Often the organization in question takes a cut to improve and maintain its buildings and various services. Does this kind of giving count toward the cycle?
Why Does It Matter?
The giving cycle is a concept of the flow of energy that starts with a consistent act of selfless giving. The cycle itself, however, maintains itself by providing us with gifts in return: kinda like a pay-it-forward deal on a Universal level. In a way, the cycle is a lesson from "the powers that be" to reward true giving (without punishing selfishness, which is a necessary state for independence and basic development). The giving cycle is an easy way to understand how interdependence can benefit the individual through experience.
Attention Vs. Resources
Obviously money has its benefits. Charitable organizations (religious or not) depend on contributions to support their goal, whatever it may be. However, when giving to religious orders, that might not be as helpful for you (or even those they're intending to help) as you would like to think.
While there are always some seedy characters in every group (religion is no exception), this isn't about how they spend the money. When you donate money instead of supplies, time, knowledge or other specific resources, there is often a tendency to ignore the core cause. Since you've "done your part" and helped with a donation, it may be tempting to put the issue out of your mind after the money hits the plate.
Resources are necessary, and I wouldn't suggest that donations are bad or wrong in any way. However, you may need to work a little harder using dollar bills as your gift to start the cyclic effect of giving.
Not All Gifts Are Giving
Yes, it seems strange but the gift of money isn't always a true "gift." In many cases, we may give money out of guilt, pride, shame or righteousness instead of actual giving. It's not always easy to tell, either, because the ego wants to believe we're doing the right thing - and our minds can easily hide the truth from us.
Instead of worrying about your motives, you have two much easier (and more comfortable) choices:
1. Add a small giving task to offset the possibility (examples in Monday's article), or
2. Make an effort to learn more about where your money is going.
That second one can transform the financial gift into a true act of giving (if it wasn't already), without the pain and discomfort of confronting hidden motives directly. They may still be a factor to overcome, mind you, but it won't be as big an obstacle to your ability to give and receive.
It's all about attention. See, when you're caring for a plant there's no way to not pay attention to the color of its leaves, how wet the soil is, how tall or wide its grown. When you feed the squirrels, you've got to at least know when they're out of food and how much they're eating. When giving money, however, that requirement disappears. So you don't really know what's needed, how that money affected the cause, or anything that's happening beyond a few updates here and there (maybe).
If that's too much effort, don't fret. You can still take on an easy giving, like the plant and squirrels. You can still donate to your favorite causes, knowing that it does help them. But the giving on its own isn't likely to start up the cycle. When you are ready to try out the experience, give one of those two options a shot for awhile and see what happens!
The Master of Beginnings, inviting discussion, joy, healing and every shade of grey the Multiverse has to offer!
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