Give a Damn (But Not Just Because You Have Two of Them)

by Aranyakananda

This is going to be a short one.

It has become evident to me that there are two ways of looking at donating belongings to charities. One seems to have become to definative outlook in America. That is the one in which one gives what he doesn’t need. The other, which to me seems to be overlooked and disregarded is this: You give away what you have and you see that other people need.

I am not saying one should give away what he does in fact need, and I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t been as thoughtful when it comes to giving in areas I know there are a need in my community/country/universe. But does one’s not-needing have to be the deciding factor, over the need of others? Certainly the act of letting go of something you do not need is a valuable karmic act in that it will lessen attachment to a collection of things in your life simply because you like having it around. But when I go into second hand stores sometimes, I see a lot of items cluttering up the shelves that, quite frankly, nobody needs.

Hari Aum

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2 Responses to Give a Damn (But Not Just Because You Have Two of Them)

  1. Dhrishti says:

    “I am not saying one should give away what he does in fact need….But does one’s not-needing have to be the deciding factor, over the need of others?”

    I think the simplest answer possible would be yes.

    If I give away what I need, then I put myself in the position of being the one who needs. In many areas of life, the advice is to be responsible to and for yourself first. You have to love yourself before you’ll be able to love anyone else, or so they say. And I think when it comes to giving, very much the same is true (with some wiggle room). If I can’t take care of my own needs, I’m probably in no good position to take care of others’, which necessarily means that I’ll probably be giving within the bounds of my own means – aka giving only after the responsibility of my own needs have been met.

    If I need just one shirt but don’t have it – then I cannot give it. If I need just one shirt and I have two (referencing the title of this post), it’s only then that I’m even in a position to give.

    Lastly, you mentioned that you noticed the shelves of the second-hand store are cluttered with things that nobody needs. What were you using to determine that nobody needs those items? I’ve personally known many people who didn’t have the money to buy brand new items, like clothing, and would shop the hell out of places like Goodwill – but wouldn’t buy something if it didn’t have a well-recognized brand name on the tag. Is it possible that, in America, even the needy have become too selective or too “entitled,” which is then keeping the store shelves crammed with stock that’s not moving as it would if our beggars weren’t such choosers?

    • treadmarkz says:

      I agree with what you’re saying here about not putting oneself in a position whereby one would him/herself need the services in question because you gave away things you needed. Of course one should give what they have to give and still be able to live comfortably. What I am saying is, when did giving because I don’t need it go before giving because he needs it?

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