Pass it on twofold is a wonderful philosophy that, if practised by only 10 per cent of us, would change the world.
It doesn’t cost anything. Changing the world without cost or much effort should catch on as quickly as the last trend. But let’s hope it lasts a lot longer. It would probably take more than a season to change the world even if 700 million people are practising it.
All we have to do is take the good someone does for us and do the same thing for at least two other people. It would increase the speed of world change if we keep doing it.
If the English proverb “The giving hand gathers” is correct, we will keep passing that goodness on because the kind deeds we do for others will come back to us – twofold, at least and then we pass it on again, endlessly.
What we send out into the world eventually comes back to us – the boomerang effect. This idea isn’t new, the concept of what goes around comes around has been going around for a long time. A modern, corporate version is, be kind to the people you meet on the way up because you’ll meet them again on your way down.
The Dalai Lama called it selfish altruism while Newton called it the third law of motion – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The Bible said as a man sows, so shall he reap, while the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions call it karma.
Millions of people are starving to death all over the world. There's even a top 10 list of countries where hunger is epidemic. But in this global village, there is little chance we’ll encounter a villager from one of the poorest countries in the world, so how do we benefit if we sacrifice the equivalent of a few lattes to help a child just like our own stay alive?
For that matter, how do we benefit if we help the people in the Central Okanagan who depend on the food bank?
Good questions, but ultimately they will be as personal as our fingerprints. We could do it for the sheer pleasure of giving, because it makes us feel good, because it helps another human being, who, under different circumstances, could be us.
Maybe it will, in time, be us, if, as the popular saying goes, we are all two paycheque away from having to stay at the Gospel Mission. “There, but by the Grace of God, go I.”
What’s the alternative to becoming fully engaged with life? Wall ourselves off, build a castle and then a moat so we can't be touched or bothered by what is happening? Reject our humanity? That’s a sterile path, one that leads to a dried-up soul and a friendless future where we will be forced to knock on death’s door alone, knowing we’ve never done anything to help others.
Leaping into the unknown without a few good deeds on our conscience is a scary proposition. Maybe the abyss does await us, but it can’t hurt to hedge our bets.
Voltaire hedged his. “This is no time to be making enemies,” he said on his deathbed to priest was who urging him to renounce the devil.
This old joke sums it up nicely. A guy stumbles up to the Pearly Gates and St. Peter asks him what good did he do for others in his life. The man thought about it and said, Well, I gave a bum 50 cents for a coffee once and put 50 cents in a Salvation Army kettle. St. Peter flips him a coin and said, here’s a dollar, now go to hell.
We don’t have to give away the family estate. It can be a dollar, as long as we give it more than twice. We’ve all received more than a dollar of kindness in our lives. Indeed, it doesn’t have to be money.
It could be as simple as giving blood – all it takes is an hour. Along with that tremendous feeling that comes from helping people – and being treated like a hero by the blood-clinic staff – we get cookies, juice and tea or coffee.
Or we could volunteer. The Hospice society, the Crisis Line and the hundreds of other worthy charities are always looking for people willing to help others.
Forty years ago. years ago, a man was walking beside a deserted road in the Yucatan night, broke. He stuck out his thumb as the headlights of an approaching car clawed through the thick darkness. It skidded to a stop beside him. Miles later, as their paths parted, the driver gave the hitchhiker $20.
That kindness has burned bright for 40 years and the debt has been repaid many times to other people who were simply asked to pass it on – twofold.
James Allen, in his amazing little book As A Man Thinketh put it this way:
“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”
We have all dreamed of changing the world and, no matter how old we are, it’s not too late to start. We can give two bucks to someone we consider a bum, send $100 to South Sudan, give $50 to the food bank and $5 to everyone who knocks on our door collecting for all those wonderful charities.
We can turn a dream of a better reality into reality.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.