This past 3 day weekend I have been hard at work in my back yard doing some major gardening in a race before the fall/winter frost. I love this hard physical labor which is like therapy for my wrists/arms/body which is normally sitting in front of a computer every day. I spent all day digging irrigation trenches; That was tough! Nothing like a good sweat. My muscles are so sore today. Any way getting off track
Today on my lunch break I drove to the local hardware store to pickup some things I needed for the project. As I was loading the stuff into the trunk of my car a woman walks up to me in the parking lot. She tells me this whole story….and I’m not sure what to make of it all (all while I continue loading my stuff in the car). She said her husband was a into drugs, alcohol and abusive and her and her daughter had to get away from him. She basically wanted me to give her some money for gas/food. She got a bit sad looking and tried her best to convince me that she was for real; inviting me to see her daughter in the car. I didn’t quite believe her…but I gave her $5 and drove off watching my thoughts. Was she for real? Was she just a scammer or drug addict herself trying any which way to get money from people? I started thinking about it while driving back to the SikhNet office.
This all reminds me of my days in school in India where I used to come across a lot of beggars. Or on the street here in the USA where people hold a sign asking for help (money). One of the lines of thinking is "don’t give money to people like this since it encourages them to do it more & they take advantage of people.".
I used to be pretty cautious of who I give money to and try to tell if they are really in need. Sometimes when driving and I saw a sign that someone was holding asking for money for food I would give them some food. Sometimes these people were ungrateful since they were maybe just using it to get money. Sometimes they were happy to get something. I find that too often when someone is in need and asking for help it triggers a mental process of trying to "judge" them if they deserve my charity or are really wanting the money for the purpose they are asking me. It is often hard to determine who is for real and if what they are saying is the truth…and even if they are not telling the truth they might be having a hard time in their life. So now when someone comes to me I give them something and mentally ask for Guru to bless this person. It’s their karma to lie…and my blessing to give.
What is a few dollars to me or you anyways? The way I figure it, God takes care of me and provides all that I need. I have plenty that I can share with others (especially a few dollars here and there to random people). I have no way of knowing if the person uses the money for drugs or alcohol, but that is not for me to judge. I figure give with a smile and bless them. If someone came to the Gurus for help I would think that they would have given them help too. So rather than getting caught up in the mental process of "judging" if the person is truthful I just give something. I would not want to turn away someone who was really in need. So even if 4 our of 5 people are lying and just one was really in need and truthful then great!
Everyone has a hard time in their life…and many are stuck in poverty and hard situations. It’s easy for any of us to just say…why can’t you just get a job, though for many it is not so simple as that. Homelessness and poverty can be complex situations. I’m not saying you should do the same thing as me, but I find that I personally would rather give from the heart and pray for the person, than turn away someone in need.
How do you deal with these types of situations? Curious to hear others thoughts on this topic….