by Dr. Stewart Bitkoff
Q: Why is it important to give to others? Some religions request a percent of your wage as regular donation.
The universe as we know it could not exist without giving. Giving is natural and is another aspect of the Divine. Just as a mother gives life to her child, freely offers milk and guidance through the years, so, we must learn to give of ourselves. In giving to others, without expectation, we are living our higher destiny.
On the spiritual level, when the higher comes forward, we are in tune with Truth. This occurs so we can be of service and give whatever is needed. For an example, look at the lives of the Servants of God. Each had a vocation and their life involved helping others reach higher. Some helped with sickness, others with guidance, or providing spiritual light to those who were in darkness.
Give to others, without expectation or indebtedness and you will discover who you are.
In my own case, I acted as if godliness was next to idleness. Most often I sought time away by myself to contemplate how spiritual I was. I truly believed salvation was to be found, away from others, meditating upon profound thoughts.
And when I traveled a little further, I realized ‘contemplating my navel’ was the antithesis of what the Path was about. As Saadi taught, so many years ago, “the Path is in human service. It is none other than this.” This is still true today.
When a hand is extended to help another, the human soul reaches toward the heavens. Service that is free of personal interest is one of the highest forms of human existence.
Grasshopper was sad and feeling sorry for himself. He thought no one liked him and when it came to picking grasses, he didn’t think he was as good as the other hoppers. All he ever got were the leftovers.
Grasshopper spent half the morning, sitting beside the road worrying about what a terrible life he had. Then along came Turtle. Turtle could tell in an instant what Grasshopper’s problem was and how to solve it.
Turtle called out, “If you’re tired of feeling blue, follow me and I’ll show you what to do!”
Grasshopper thought to himself, “Here’s Turtle sticking his shell into my business again. But what have I to loose? I just can’t shake these blues.”
At Turtle’s direction, the two friends began walking toward the meadow. Grasshopper had promised to do whatever Turtle said and not complain.
The meadow was alive with all kinds of creatures. Butterflies were flying. Bees were buzzing. Ants were crawling. What a wondrous sight to behold!
But these things just made Grasshopper sadder. Everyone was enjoying themselves and had something important to do except him.
After a time, Turtle and Grasshopper came upon a young hopper who was having a difficult time chewing through grasses and stacking them in a pack. One of the first lessons a young hopper learns is to identify six meadow grasses, stack them and bring them to his teacher.
As Turtle and Grasshopper continued to observe, the young fellow realized he was being watched. Without hesitation, he turned to Grasshopper and asked, “Will you help me?” Turtle nodded and in an instant Grasshopper was showing the young one how to identify, quickly chew through and stack grass.
In five minutes time, the young one had stacked his pack, thanked Grasshopper and was on his way to see his teacher.
As Turtle and Grasshopper continued walking, Grasshopper felt a little better. Somehow, by helping another, his blues were turned into smiles. Turtle saw this and said, “We are not done yet.”
So the two friends continued on. Rounding a bend in the road, Turtle and Grasshopper came upon some ants who were struggling to free one of their brothers. A branch had fallen and trapped him beneath a small limb. The branch was heavy and the ants were having a terrible time with it.
Without hesitation, Turtle and Grasshopper helped the ants lift. Quickly, the injured fellow was pulled from beneath the limb. While he was being nursed and carried off by the others, the leader thanked Turtle and Grasshopper for their help.
By this time, Grasshopper was hopping. He never felt better. He even began to sing. His sadness was completely gone.
Turtle looked at Grasshopper and said, “We are not done yet.”
Grasshopper wondered what Turtle was up to next. Grasshopper was happy, what else was there?
Turtle and Grasshopper continued walking for about an hour. Turtle walked very slowly and this got on Grasshopper’s nerves. Grasshopper felt like hopping, and if he knew were they were going, he could get there lickety-split. But no, Turtle wouldn’t tell Grasshopper anything. Everything with Turtle was always a mystery and Grasshopper had promised to do whatever Turtle said without complaining.
Then they came to a stream. Turtle told Grasshopper to lift some stones and make a path into the water with them. Every few inches or so Turtle and Grasshopper placed another stone. They must have laid out a dozen or so.
In the hot sun, this work took about two hours. Grasshopper saw no point in what they were doing. Who would benefit from this path, which seemed to go nowhere? It only went part of the way across the stream.
At one point, Grasshopper was very frustrated and about to ask Turtle what was the reason for this work, when Turtle remarked, “No questions until tonight.”
Finally they finished. As the two walked back toward Pond, Grasshopper was hot, tired and angry. He didn’t know why they worked so hard and couldn’t wait to give Turtle a piece of his mind.
That evening after dinner, as Turtle and Grasshopper sat outside Turtle’s burrow, he started to explain.
- “Often when we are feeling sorry for ourselves, it is best to find something to do. Activity is a cure for sadness. The best activity is to help another. This takes us out of ourselves and the helping energy is curative.
- Helping others, like the young hopper, is part of our social duty and is part of life in the Pond. Yet it is better to help before help is requested. This is the higher activity. Less indebtedness is created. Hence we helped the ants before they could ask.
- Finally a higher form of helping is when the one receiving help is unaware of the source. We placed those stones, so, young turtles could stand on them and catch silver minnows. They will think they are lucky to find this spot; never knowing what we did. Yet our energy is connected to this work and we benefit from it.”
As Grasshopper watched the night sky, he was at peace. He was not sad. In fact he never felt better. He realized, when we help others, we help ourselves.
Slowly he was beginning to understand.
About the author:
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