Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Never Give Expecting Something Back...

“The Snake, The Farmer And The Heron"

A snake chased by hunters asked a farmer to save it's life. To hide it from its pursuers, the farmer squatted and let the snake crawl into his belly. But when the danger had passed and the farmer asked the snake to come out, the snake refused. It was warm and safe inside. On his way home, the man saw a heron and went up to him and whispered what had happened. The heron told him to squat and strain to eject the snake. When the snake stuck its head out, the heron caught it, pulled it out, and killed it. The farmer was worried that the snake's poison might still be inside him, and the heron told him that the cure for snake poison was to cook and eat six white fowl. "You're a white fowl," said the farmer. "You'll do for a start." He grabbed the heron, put it in a bag and carried it home, where he hung it up while he told his wife what had happened. "I'm surprised at you," said the wife. "The bird does you a kindness, rids you of the evil in your belly, saves your life in fact, yet you catch it and talk of killing it." She immediately released the heron, and it flew away. But on its way, it gouged out her eyes.

Moral: When you see water flowing uphill, it means that someone is repaying a kindness.” 

-An African Folk Tale

I stumbled on this tale last night and had to read it over and over again before I finally understood  the moral of the story. Although I could’ve broken the story down in a more simplistic way, I now love the euphemisms used and the brain-jerker that the whole tale was.

When will you ever see water flow uphill? Never.
The tale lets you know that since you will never see water flow uphill, you will never see kindness being repaid. Cynic isn’t it? But I think there is a deeper lesson to be learned from this, if we push further beyond how disparaging the concluding statement is. The lesson that I believe is also coming to surface is that measuring one’s act of kindness is behaving in a selfish manner, instead of embracing selfless-ness…    

“So that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you openly.” ~ Matthew 6:4

Traditionally, we have all been taught the golden rule, which states “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” So, what happens when this isn’t the case? Why can’t it simply state, “Do good unto others”…That way, when someone does something nice for you, you aren’t immediately entered into their mental pocket, waiting to be called upon to return the favour. It’s so hard to determine the true character of the person you are asking the favour from, and in return it’s seemingly hard to make sure our own motives are pure when we offer our services to others. Do we really give without expecting reciprocity? In modern culture, it’s all about “What have you done for me lately?” We have become so self-centred as people, that even the thought of giving something away without expectation of better coming, frightens us. This has certainly translated into all areas of our lives. We do for our companions, in hopes that they will meet or supersede what we’ve done. We do favours for friends, in hopes that they will do for us when we need them. We even try to do things for our churches/temples/etc., in hopes that our God will bless us down here on the Earth. 

Why not just give? Is it so hard to think that we can just give to others out of the goodness of our hearts? I believe so. I think we can be moved with compassion for someone, and go out of our way to help them, without secretly keeping score in our minds; without laying wait for them to be in a position to return our kindness, and pulling their card. I have to believe that as humans, we’re not just selfish, self-centred users. We’re better than that.

When you genuinely offer kindness to someone, please offer it up without expectations of returned favours or recognition of your act. Not because the recipient will not be appreciative but because if he/she is not appreciative, or returns the gesture in a way you see fit, you won’t be disappointed. Consider all your good deeds as an investment towards self-reward. While a “thank you” or a gesture of appreciation may serve as a worthwhile repayment on your act, remember that what you put forth the universe will acknowledge.

Don’t let anyone chastise you and make you feel obligated in doing for them. Being kind, feeling empathy and wanting to act upon it does not mean you have to be a pushover!  

To giving with no expectations,

This article is part of my guest writing project for the website, visit the site for more entries by talented writers.

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