"spare a dollar?"
"help me out?"
I've been thinking on my reaction to being asked for money. I know that I am wildly rich to be able to go buy a fancy coffee if I want to. Of course, I'm also living on student loans so doing that is irresponsible, but I can, and that's a hefty privilege.
I try to check in with my own state of being when I am asked for help, whether that help be monetary or not. If it's a stranger asking for cash I feel strongly that if I'm carrying cash (which I almost never am) the universe is asking me to share that. Now if I was randomly carrying a twenty, I probably would not share it because I would not spend $20 on something I didn't need. But if I can afford to blow it on a luxury like a mocha, I can afford to give it away. This is affected by the fact that I don't often encounter requests for money -- when I move into the heart of the city I plan to never carry cash but instead carry food bars to offer if someone claims hunger. (Raw Revolution bars, Kashi crunch bars, odwalla bars, and powerbar's NutNaturals form a good third of my diet)
I feel that the act of asking for help earns it, as long as giving that help doesn't deplete me too much. I don't consider it my responsibility to discern how the cash will be used. This is not philanthropy or naivete -- I imagine that some of the people asking for money are very good at it and don't have real need, and I'm not trying to fix anyone's problems. But for me, this interaction isn't about me and an individual, it's about my attitude toward life. If I am unwilling to give what I can spare, I feel that I close off the flow of generosity in my life. I feel that if I maintain a generous attitude, I will receive what I need when I need it, and then some. I also feel that it is far better to risk rewarding a liar than to risk ignoring genuine need. And even if a dollar won't help someone in any lasting fashion, I feel that honoring someone's request for help DOES help in a lasting fashion.
I don't give with expectation of direct reward -- but I do expect that my life will be better if I give. By asking me for help, people are showing me a way to create a flow of good into my life. We're helping each other out.
LJ idol season 8, topic 2: "Three Little Words."