The limitations of individual consciousness are now being transcended and transmuted. Enter unity consciousness. The New Wave.
Technically the unity consciousness vibe began on March 9 of this year if you follow the Mayan calendar, so maybe I´m just a bit slow on the uptake. But I really think it´s amazing if you look at what´s happening outside and if you check in with your deep inner yearnings, there is definitely a synch happening. At 2012 Scenario, Steve Beckow´s just gone and set up a charity fund called the Hope Chest. If you tune into TED (Great Ideas Worth Spreading is their tag), you´ll notice an increase of videos on Microfinancing, the future of philanthropy, generosity experiments, innovations in housing, and many other things, all with a view to helping poor nations and those in need. Charity is becoming cool. Soon, I hope, it will spread like the popularity of a new Converse chuck- and if you aren´t doing it, you´ll be pooh-poohed for not being plugged in.
Personally, it was indeed around March 9 that I started to question my generosity towards beggars in the street. I live in Berlin, and to be approached for spare change in my city can happen up to 5 times per day (more if you ride the subway). The last time I went out for dinner with a friend, we were approached by five different people asking for change out on the patio. As a compassionate person, I get squirmish saying “no”, but at the same time I just can´t reconcile giving a bit of change to each fifty-year old wannabe accordionist, gypsy with baby in stroller, or beer-addled punk-with-dog I meet. It´s not like I´m living the high life in Germany´s poorest city. And, if you´ll let me wallow a moment in 3D, I pay taxes. Mighty high taxes, I may add. The social safety net in Germany is a matter of getting oneself organized; the money is there if you need it as long as you´re in the country legally. So I started to think- if the ultimate goal of a lightworker is to become compassionate to the point of sainthood, where does one draw the line with beggars? Does Tough Love apply? Can I continue to just pay anonymously into the system or do I dig a little deeper?
Tough love dictates that if you really want to help someone, you make them fight their own battles. You are stern in setting boundaries so the other one learns to stand on his or her own two feet. The term is often used when talking about parent-child relationships or sometimes in terms of relationships with people who abuse drugs or alchohol. We don´t often talk about tough love when it comes to the squeegee guys or the blind man on the corner with his cap tilted up because it tends to raise a few eyebrows.
Berliners are notorious for being direct, so I´m going to tell you about something that happened to me on the subway. There is a beggar who rides the tube on crutches with gangrene on at least one of his feet. He smells rancid, (my turn to be direct) to the point where entire subway carriages clear when he gets on. The last time he approached me for money, I gave him a little. Immediately there was a hum throughout the carriage and the accusation that people “like that” shouldn´t be given money because it only encourages them to continue begging instead of changing their lives and getting a job was slung. I was infuriated, naturally, because my intention was to spread a little compassion that day through example, and not to endorse any arbitrarily tossed tough love. My German was not good enough to prove any point eloquently, so “Er ist ein Mensch” is all that I mustered as I exited the train, which simply means “He is a man”. He is a man who lives between the hospital and the streets, and I know that I don´t know enough about his story to withold any compassion towards him (Berlin winters are brutal!) It very well may be that he´s had some tough luck. The last thing he needs is tough love!
I get the concept of tough love, I really do. But in situations like these it kills me to see corpulent, festive (read beer-drinking) business men looking down their noses at a homeless man who probably can´t remember the last time he had a hot shower or a sat down to eat in a restaurant.
Enter the Generosity Experiment: A fresh take on “try something new for 30 days”. The author of the talk reports feeling more generous after 30 days of saying YES each time someone asked him for help. More generosity is something he wants to see changing in the world and hopes to affect by spreading his message. I´m doing my part at giving it a go myself, but so far I´m getting lots of resistance, which is a bit disheartening. Unity consciousness may be stirring within me, but it doesn´t seem very popular with the people I´m talking about it to as yet. Not to mention my own inner shadow of duality. “They´ve got welfare”, it whispers, “you´re doing your part”. Really, Croaker? Am I?
So my question to you is, what´s your take on charity, on sparing a few bucks, on “doing your part”? Do you go down to the soup kitchen or volunteer at Big Brother? Do you write a yearly cheque to Oxfam or Amnesty International? Do you run for charity, or grow a moustache? Why not drop me a comment and let me know. I would love to hear from you!
I believe doing more for our communities and impoverished nations is a trend we are going to see exploding all over our world in the very near future. Look around you for your own signs of Unity consciousness, here, gently tugging at our heart strings, asking us to check our priorities, forcing us to dig deeper, open our doors and hearts, even uniting us during times of disasters. The days of service to self are winding down. If you want to be part of the in-crowd, you´d better check your tough love at the door.