The Vibration of Charity?

December 30, 2010 | 32 Comments »

As many round out their year end giving this week, it made me wonder about the vibration of charity, donations, tithing and such.

One of my favorite GVU contributors recently posed the question:

“If we’re supposed to mind our vibe, close our own gap, respect other people’s ability to close their gap, not empathize and drag our vibe down to suffering, is there a role for tithing and charity?? Or does it perpetuate poverty?”

Giving back in some form or fashion isn’t something I’ve really questioned before.  But lately it’s got me wondering.

Abraham‘s relationship meditation has a line that goes:

When you believe another needs your help and you shore up their weakness with your strength, you help them not.

When you expect another to succeed without the benefit of your help, you see them as your Source sees them.

So … that doesn’t necessarily sound like a ringing endorsement of charitable giving!

Then I found an interview where Abe said tithing should be undertaken “by inspiration, not obligation.”  The reporter said the Hicks’ don’t recommend charitable giving so he went on to ask what they’re doing with all their money:

“What we are teaching,” Jerry says, “is that you don’t attract through need, but through desire. Like, we were in a little restaurant in San Francisco a while back and the waitress was just so wonderful. We gave her this envelope, with all the cash from that day’s workshop. She yelled: ‘Oh my God, you can’t believe what you have done for me. I was going to lose my apartment.’ We said: ‘If you’d told us that, we wouldn’t have given you the money. We did it because you were wonderful.’  … We don’t do charities.”

Which reminds me of what Kim Falconer recently said on the topic:

From a place of collective consciousness, giving and receiving is the awareness of energy exchange, nothing more and nothing less. It is the universe in action, responding to our collective thoughts.

We, as universe, feel moved to respond … from an energetic match at the same place in time and space as the receiver.  We are the universe in action.  Giving money, time, old clothes etc is no different than giving a smile. It’s there spontaneously (a match), or it isn’t.

Frank Butterfield shared this perspective from Edwene Gaines (I have no idea who Edwene is, but I highly respect Frank):

“Her belief is based on a biblical passage in the book of Malachi. She says tithing must be done to abundance and not poverty.”

Apparently Edwene strongly advocates tithing 10% of all gross revenue to places where you receive spiritual food.  Even if that might be a bit of wisdom from a waitress at the diner (recognizing that God had spoken through the waitress and provided spiritual food).

My current conclusion after thinking on this is that while my habits might not change, the vibration with which I engage those habits will.

Instead of sending money to my favorite non-profits because I think they are in dire need of it, I’ll send it because it feels good.  Instead of donating my give-away clothes, books, furniture, etc. because others are worse off than me and it’s my duty to spread the wealth, I’ll donate simply because I like having less stuff and it feels good to recycle and reuse.

I’d love to hear your approach to donating, tithing, and charity … what’s your practice and what’s the vibe behind it?

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32 Responses to “ The Vibration of Charity? ”

  1. Great post Jeannette!

    To follow up a bit on Edwene Gaines, she is a Unity minister and travels all over giving talks on prosperity. Tithing is at the core of her message (again, going back to the Book of Malachi, which was the source of a profound transformation for her during a low period of her life). To say that she is passionate about this would be an understatement.

    Giving money away is one of my favorite things to do. I like to do it quietly and anonymously because that almost always feels better. I can’t wait to see what else inspires people around this subject!

    Thanks!!

  2. Frank, I can’t say I have enough experience doing the “quiet and anonymous” version to agree with you on that, but you are sure inspiring me to give it a try.

    Thanks for your contribution to this topic!

  3. D says:

    This reminds me of the reaction I see repeatedly from people when confronted with the homeless or beggars on the street. Judgemental comments and frames of mind that paint the disadvantged as inferior irk me. Who am I to judge ? Life is complex, not always fair. I give money to those that beg. I look into their eyes and try to imagine what if it were my child? I just give. that is all that matters in the end.

  4. Sometimes, D, I see the beggars playing up their “helpless” role in an attempt to get more sympathy and support.

    What’s weird about that is that it seems to work sometimes. Maybe even often.

    Even the fund raising campaigns I often run across focus on the “dire need” in order to generate more financial support.

    It’s hard for me to imagine that’s really more effective than other alternatives. But it must be or they wouldn’t be doing it, right? Surely they’ve tested it?

    I’m kind of off topic now, but your comment made me think about that …

    Thanks for dropping by, D. 🙂

  5. I’m sure you’re right, Erik. It all comes down to how we feel about it.

    My suggestion is we each get more clear about exactly what that is, because some of us may be doing it either out of habit or with a vibe that delivers the exact opposite intended consequences.

    Sounds like you’ve got this one nailed. 🙂

  6. BarbaraM says:

    I give because I want to give. I don’t give money because I think I am obliged to, because the obligation for me means pressure, something not feeling good.

    Recently I was walking in the old town in Ljubljana and I was happy for no particular reason. I thought: “I want to give some money away, now.” And 10 metres away I manifested a man kneeling on the pavement with his hands turned up. I was so happy – because I manifested him, that I gave him more, than I usually give. And after that I was even more happy. 🙂

    Similar as you Jeannette I am giving away clothes and books, because I want to clear my closets and make room for new ones. And I don’t think specificaly on people in need when I do this.Again – it feels good for me.

    My personal opinion it would be better that we would teach people to fish, instead giving them a fish. That’s why I really like the concept of Kiva, micro -loaning and giving poor people a chance to work, feel a contribution, raising the sense of personal value…. and you know how this goes on…

  7. Nice manifestation, BarbaraM!

    You’re making me remember that often when I give away my clothes and such, it’s not because I think someone else needs them but because I think my clothes deserve to be loved and appreciated fully and that someone else can do that better than I can.

    Thanks for your response, Barbara. You’ve got me thinking about fishing. 🙂

  8. D says:

    Sending something because it feels good to you, or because it improves the mindset of others is judgemental..and tells me the act of giving is ABOUT YOU. The true test is to be able to give anonymously without expectation of return.

  9. D, even giving anonymously without the expectation of return is still about how it makes the giver feel.

    I’m not sure it’s possible to get away from that. And I also don’t think that’s good bad right or wrong.

  10. Erik says:

    Wow, giving / charity has been on my mind for quite some time. I guess it mainly depends on inspiration where / to whom / when to give. To give 1/10th of your income I think is a very good idea if it is given consciously.

    Before I give, I have to feel / have the intuition that it will improve the mindset of the person that receives. If I don’t feel like that, I don’t give.

    A good example for giving where it feels good it http://www.kiva.org – it is a site that uses micro-loans to help entrepreneurs / small-business owners / educators around the world. My impression is that Kiva is based on the feeling of increase, of wealth creation and of ‘enlarging’ people’s lives (on the side of the people organizing it and on the side of the people that receive the loans). You can choose to whom you want to donate so there is another option for intuition to chime in. So all in all, I have a good feeling about it. This would be an example where tithing / charity would feel good (to me!).

    And about giving away my old stuff: I intend that when I give it away, it finds a person to whom this very thing *increases* their lives from where it has been. For me it is releasing energy that pulls me down to someone who is potentially pulled up by it so it is an energetic win-win situation.
    For example when selling old stuff for flea market prices on eBay, I don’t just put it online and describe what it is. But I write sth. along the lines of ‘this is for you if you are looking for xyz to do / improve this or that issue’. That is I specify the vibration of the person for whom this might be of help / provide increase for. If I don’t feel, that an object could possibly be of use to anyone, I don’t sell it or I give it away, it might simply go to the bin.
    So for me it all comes down to the vibration with which we give / tithe.

  11. Stephen says:

    I like the exchange of energy where both lives are enhanced.

    This morning while surveying the 2+ feet of snow that fell on my driveway last night I thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be nice if someone with a snow blower offered to clear that for me.” About an hour later that’s exactly what happened. A guy pulled up in a truck with a snow blower in the back. He said he was just helping out people by clearing away the big berm left by the county snowplow. He then proceeded to clear my whole driveway.

    I asked if I could pay him something and he refused initially, saying he enjoyed doing it and helping folks out. I finally got him to take a few bucks, saying he could use it for gas and help more people. We had a nice chat, telling snow stories of winters past and then he left to clear more snow.

    Giving… receiving… it’s all really the same, isn’t it?

  12. Now THAT is a lovely story, Stephen.

    It may be my favorite of the day! Thanks for sharing it here.
    🙂

  13. Mia says:

    Funny – I saw a couple of guys on the street today holding out a paper to passers-by. I thought, ‘Oh no, I hope they don’t approach me’, because I’m generally ‘untouchable’ on the street. But then a young boy – maybe 13 or 14 years old – came to me with a paper in his hand, which was about the right to housing for homeless people, and a couple of names and the amount they had donated. I looked for an organization but couldn’t see any name or address, thought ‘This might be a fraud’ and then shrugged and thought ‘What the heck. Even if it is a fraud, they might as well enjoy my donation.’ So I gave a small donation, and the boy blew me a kiss as a way of saying thank you – so cute. It made my day.

  14. I like your style, Mia! (“What the heck.”) lol

  15. Zoe Routh says:

    Thanks for posting this Jeannette – it was my question at GVU and since then I’ve felt some clarity around it. Giving because I feel inspired to do so feels a lot better than giving out of obligation feels so much better. In the Abundance Book John Randolph Price cautions against this as well – he uses ‘sharing’ instead of ‘tithing’ – and insists it must be from a place of love and delight – not obligation – not out of ‘giving to get’. This is where a lot of folks get caught – the’ve heard tithing is a good way to encourage the flow of money back, so tithe expecting an increase in abundance – I think this is a kinked way to give.

    Giving in appreciation of someone’s abundance and encouraging them to feel their own prosperity is a great way to do it.

    Plus I love Erik’ Kiva organisation – I really dig this idea!

  16. Yes, what I’m realizing is that unloading the obligation to give is crucial to being able to find/feel the inspiration to give.

    Zoe, I’ve been loving this topic ever since you raised it in the GVU forums – thanks for being my catalyst to explore it!

  17. Kathryn says:

    It seems to me that giving is whatever we make it to be – for ourselves – and then everyone else creates whatever experience around it that they choose to.

  18. Based on the comments here and on my fb page, Kathryn, that appears to indeed be the case.

  19. Lisa says:

    In my house we tend to refer to all forms of giving as the “karma toll”. That said, we don’t mean it. I like to give because it is an affirmation of my abundance. I don’t tithe and a rarely give to organized charities. That said, I give to just about everyone on the street who asks. I carry cash in my pocket when I’m downtown for that purpose. When I hand out cash, I feel wealthy, plain and simple, and that’s a feeling I like to have. I don’t care what they do with the money. Really if they spend it on booze more power to them. When I am in the act of giving to those “most needy” I can’t say it even feels charitable to me. Mostly I’m just thankful to them for giving me the chance to share my wealth in a very personal way.

  20. Oooh – I like this, Lisa! “Giving as an affirmation of my abundance.”

    I like that a LOT!

    That makes it so much more about me, and not them (and I know D doesn’t like that but I believe it’s always about me in the end no matter how I spin it).

    “I don’t care what they do with the money.”

    Wow, this is going to do a lot for me, I can tell already. Sometimes I give money to friends in need because I see what they need and when the money doesn’t go towards that need and they’re still in the same hole they always were I get a little mad at myself for having given money that didn’t change anything for them. (Which I know Abraham says no matter how much money you dump on another person you cannot change their vibration. Duh Jeannette.)

    Not hard to feel the liberation your approach would give me.

    Thanks for it, Lisa!

  21. Lisa says:

    I think you have the correct approach. I find that I often have to take some of the things Abraham puts forth with a grain of salt. Or I have to wait until I find a further, deeper discussion on the issue, which often arises and clears up misunderstandings. However, I’d rather have some things fully resonate with me before I incorporate them.

    I believe in the power of circulation. When I look at the writings of the “New Thought” generation it’s something that I see again and again. And when I read about it, it actually lifts me. I don’t feel a sense of sacrifice or believe myself to be a savior. Giving can be an act of confidence. It says you believe in that person’s or that organization’s ability to meet their goals and it will fill you with joy to see it happen. It can be enriching.

    For me the key is believing in the self-determination and abilities of those to whom you are giving. Seeing them as fully functioning and using your gift to go out and help create the world that YOU are intending to manifest.

    Giving simply out of guilt or bad feelings (See: Poverty Porn) often does more to prolong the conditions one wishes to eliminate. I’ve worked in the non-profit sector off and on for years and I know that many people doing that work cannot a envision a day when they will not be necessary. In fact, their visions of the people they are helping and conditions they want to change often holds the conditions in place.

  22. Lisa says:

    I think you have the correct approach. I find that I often have to take some of the things Abraham puts forth with a grain of salt. Or I have to wait until I find a further, deeper discussion on the issue, which often arises and clears up misunderstandings. However, I’d rather have some things fully resonate with me before I incorporate them.

    I believe in the power of circulation. When I look at the writings of the “New Thought” generation it’s something that I see again and again. And when I read about it, it actually lifts me. I don’t feel a sense of sacrifice or believe myself to be a savior. Giving can be an act of confidence. It says you believe in that person’s or that organization’s ability to meet their goals and it will fill you with joy to see it happen. It can be enriching.

    For me the key is believing in the self-determination and abilities of those to whom you are giving. Seeing them as fully functioning and using your gift to go out and help create the world that YOU are intending to manifest.

    Giving simply out of guilt or bad feelings (See: Poverty Porn) often does more to prolong the conditions one wishes to eliminate. I’ve worked in the non-profit sector off and on for years and I know that many people doing that work cannot a envision a day when they will not be necessary. In fact, their visions of the people they are helping and conditions they want to change often holds the conditions in place.

  23. Jeannette says:

    Hey, I totally just practiced it! My ex was going to a fundraiser for a guy getting out of jail. I said he must be a good guy, huh? He said the guy’s been in jail for quite a while for liberating some animals that were bound for the slaughterhouse or something like that, and they were gathering funds to help him get an apartment once he got out.

    I didn’t feel like he needed any help, I didn’t feel like he was less than me (in fact, I’m kind of looking up to him), I didn’t know whether the money will really end up for rent or something else, it just felt great to show some support. I said put me down for whatever amount is appropriate and it felt FAB. Not tax deductible, probably not politically correct, but man does it feel good to support a guy who gives up his freedom for a worthy cause he believes in. woot!

  24. Great thread, Jeannette. Two things I’ve heard, from Jack Kornfeld and Wayne Dyer: One is to always honor the first impulse of generosity because your mind will always come in quickly to explain why it’s not a good idea. The other is to see the person in front of you, and ask yourself, “What if this is Jesus or Buddha in disguise?” I try to give from those vantage points and also from what feels good to me — it’s wonderful to remember that I always have enough that I can give some away.

    Chellie Campbell has a great affirmation: I have great abundance in my life and plenty to share with others.

  25. Katie says:

    Every year at Christmas my sister’s and I don’t give each other gifts. Instead we adopt a family through a local organization whose motto is “giving a hand up, not a hand out”. We buy for children whose family just needs a little help at Christmas. I thoroughly enjoy shopping for children and this experience fills me with such happiness. I enjoy sharing all of my blessings. Happy new Year all!!

  26. Kori says:

    Recently, I was doing a bit of winter cleaning (like spring cleaning) and donated a bunch of music CDs and some books, DVDs, and computer games to Goodwill because I rarely, if ever, used them and liked having less clutter and extra space. I figured getting rid of that stuff (and cleaning and dusting, since I hadn’t done it for months) would lift my vibration, and it did.

    Usually whenever I hear someone say you must give/tithe to charity (especially when they state a percentage), something inside me wants to protest. Giving to the usual charity types doesn’t usually inspire me, although before Xmas I was in a good mood and wanted to give the last physical dollar in my purse to the Salvation Army representative outside the supermarket. But mostly I’ve always thought that, if I ever decide to give monetarily on a consistent basis, I’d want to give it to some non-profit who uses it to buy books for communities or advocates literacy, since I love reading myself and therefore would be more enthusiastic about giving to the cause.

  27. M says:

    I do not give away presents for Christmas since I do not celebrate Xmas at all. But I like to donate money spontaneously – when I see an advert or something that appeals to me. It is always a spontaneous thing, I just feel like doing it in that moment. I like to think of money as a thing that streams to me and away from me somewhere else. It is not something I ‘own’ forever. It comes and goes. It is nice to let it go and imagine where it will go and what good it might do. And then I wait for the next wave to come to me 🙂

  28. Anonymous says:

    someone once told me that if you give things away because you yourself do not want them, then it’s not charity. I’m not sure about that– it absolutely depends on the vibration with which you give. now THAT makes more sense!
    wonderful, thought-provoking post, as always, Jeannette! 😉

  29. Lin E says:

    oops, that’s me, above at 8:06 a.m. I am NOT anonymous… LOL! Lin

  30. I once read that when you focus on the poor people who need your help, you are really focusing on how you are superior to them. You say, “Well, I have so much and they have so little” – a totally superior point of view. And if the superiority feels good, then you might – just might – not want to solve their poverty because it props up your ego.

    That idea really made me think about the “Why” of my giving.

    Coming at the concept of charity, then, from a place of no ego non-judgment is the ticket. In his book, Living a Life That Matters, Rabbi Harold Kushner says you know you are doing the work of God when what you’re doing is hard, but you feel drawn to doing it anyway. Maybe that’s an explanation for having that inexorable pull toward giving of your money, your time, your attention – which is how I decide to support the organizations and people I support. I just know it’s right, and so I do it.

    Because there are no “shoulds”, are there? Only choices.

    🙂

    Happy New Year, Jeannette, and all you Good Vibers!

  31. What a terrific topic (as always!) Jeannette!

    Since Erik mentioned Kiva….I thought you all might enjoy this TED talk with the woman who created Kiva….very nice talk I saw a few months ago about exactly what we are discussing here:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jessica_jackley_poverty_money_and_love.html

    Personally I rarely feel abundance in terms of actual cash with which I can be charitable. Something for me to work on perhaps. But I tend to always be just getting by myself. I realize how fortunate I am but I also work my ass off at jobs I despise when I have to in order to do so. I never starve, but I rarely have “extra” money for anything at all. Yet, if a musician moves me on the street – makes me laugh or smile – I will give them something.

    Living in NYC for 8 years you see some of the SAME individuals with their SAME “sad story” on the train still in the exact same “story” they were telling when I moved here. Could they be in the EXACT same place with the EXACT same condition this many years later? Perhaps, but something’s fishy there.

    One of them is just a sweetheart who always says “and if you can’t afford to help with money, I’ll take a smile.” and I’ll be damned if he isn’t serious. He always gets a smile from me and his appreciation is genuine.

    That is my method of charity…though I don’t think of it as such. I am kind to people, I hold doors, I tell a stranger when they have crap in their teeth, I have conversations with customer service folk who haven’t looked up or connected with anyone in hours.

    I think we can help people in so many other ways outside of money – though if you have it to help with, I can see the conundrum of how to decide the best way to use it. It is interesting, as you pointed out Jeannette, that ALL fundraising materials I have ever seen always discuss that need/desperation. It’s no wonder so many people give out of obligation or guilt. It only works because that is all we have been taught. It would be interesting to see that shift.

  32. Sophie Benshitta Maven says:

    I am 63 years old, and until very recently I bought into the ‘giving till it hurts’ teaching, and I was spending more energy filling the “vessels” of other people than producing anything of value myself. I gave money, stuff, and my time. I am a double masters’ degreed person… All it bought me is wretchedness, hatred, enemies, and made absolutely no difference for them, and made me poor, sick, and depressed.

    Only when I changed my philosophy to that of self-respect and selfishness, interactions as trade of value, instead of one-sided, that I started to be well, started to be healthy, started to be productive, and there is no doubt on my mind, prosperity in the making.

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