Reader comment on Thomas Berry's passage ...

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    On Dec 16, 2010 Catherine Todd wrote:

    Rambo wrote: "It's only when I share without expecting return that I will actually get the feeling of joy that the post mentions."


    Sounds good, but how do you "not expect" at least GOOD TREATMENT when you share or give something? Have you ever heard of "biting the hand that feeds you?" What do you do when you give something to someone and they then begin to DEMAND things of you, because you are shown to be a "soft touch?" Then when you finally begin to refuse, they rob you?

    All these philosophical thoughts sound good on paper, but when does "giving" become "enabling" and when does it put you in danger? This has actually happened to me, more than once. That is why I have begun to doubt this kind of philosophy. The "joy" in giving can be an co-dependent addiction, too, can't it?

    What ever happened about equal "sharing?" Why so much focus on "giving until it hurts" and "give more?" I don't want to be a barefoot monk with a rough robe and a walking stick, sleeping under the bushes. I want to work WITH people and SHARE with people, and not have people TAKING ADVANTAGE of my or others generous natures, with all their own selfish desires.

    WHAT ABOUT THAT? You can't just say "Give anyway, and karma will take it's course." All this giving has created a nation of dependents and beggars in too many parts of the world. Better to help people WORK and EARN what they need, and perhaps even *gasp* learn to use birth control, and share a little bit themselves?


    When does GIVING HURT? If you don't believe me, look at what has happened in Africa in the last ten or twenty years. The Africans themselves are calling out for an end to patronizing "giving." If I didn't want anything, I wouldn't be on this earth to begin with. If I don't want anything, then I don't need anything and don't need to be alive.

    Too many questions in the midst of this fascinating conversation, with apparently no though to consequences for the other side. Perhaps in the "old days" it was important to "give to the beggars" or the monks with their begging bowls. But I'm not sure that is still a modern succesful way to live, for anyone on either side.

    I have wondered about this "no attachment" philosophy all my life.  Makes no sense to me, me who is a "generous" codependent giver all my life. I have to practice saying NO to others and once in a while YES to myself. Help!

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    On Jul 1, 2014 HEENA wrote:

     i am in total aggreance with your thought process of not being in a constant " unconditional giving " even though as i realise i am a "  giver" and enjoy that part of myself. however as lifes experiences made me aware that this unconditional giving is taken  " for granted "; encouraged " co-dependency "; selfishness;lethargy..... only when i experienced that did i change my own attitude to " learn and teach how to fish "; rather than " hand over the ready fish " with the kind of personalities we hold i agree it is difficult to say " no" but the consequences of it when seen are far more damaging. hence the practise to say " no " when required{ that is when all the negative outflow is emerging } is imperative. thanks for sharing your thought process on this as it has both encouraged and motivated to renounce the path of " unconditional giving " .

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    On Jul 1, 2014 Catherine Todd wrote:

     Thank you Heena... I was concerned that I shouldn't post something so seemingly contrary to the general outlook of "unconditional giving" expressed by so many. But I know from long and sorry experience that it only breeds all the flaws that you note and my own raging codependency and ultimately jealousy and resentment in others.

    The best gift I can do for myself and for others is the old adage "teach them to fish instead of giving them a fish." That's the only way to bring maturity and independence to all. Loved reading your comment; I really did. Gives me hope for the future; hope for myself and for the world. I thought I was the only one!

    Have a blessed day...

    "The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails."
    Please show me The Way.

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    On Jul 1, 2014 Heena wrote:

    Thank you Catherine ; it is you who needs the first commendable pat of showing such courage to voice an opinion which is contrary to the existing one.  its your voice which encouraged me to follow it with my own experiences ;as well as now a the only way i thought would encourage self growth. in fact your response has not only reiterated my faith and belief but encouraged me that i too am not alone in this thought process which is backed up by my own experience. as a mother especially when gets conditioned on this " loving unconditionally "   and this gets followed up by way of a concept which comes in the way of bringing up children. there is no better experience than seeing the outcome of this concept in the resulting behaviors as they are right in front of you. its only when ones faith in ones own love is coupled with discipline and discernment that a balance is achieved. grateful to you to help me to reiterate faith in my own love and discernment.  

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    On Jul 1, 2014 Catherine Todd wrote:

     Heena, I can hardly believe what you have said here... truly, it "makes my day." You wrote: " it is you who needs the first commendable pat of showing such courage to voice an opinion which is contrary to the existing one. its your voice which encouraged me to follow it with my own experiences..." This is wonderful to hear. As I have said many times before, "The only popular thing I have ever done was to pick up the check." You have no idea how many times I am attacked for voicing an opposing opinion. I have never thought or been told that I had given someone "courage to do the same." This is wonderful, and perhaps... just perhaps... this is a kind of "gift" I have been given, instead of a curse! But when I see something that I believe is in error or is wrong, I cannot resist. I have to say something, come what may. And usually I am instantly "odd man out." So you have given me a great deal to think about. Truly. You also wrote: "its only when ones faith in ones own love is coupled with discipline and discernment that a balance is achieved. grateful to you to help me to reiterate faith in my own love and discernment." This is the best part of all. "Discernment" is the one thing I am truly lacking in, as to this day I don't know what it truly means. I get taken in by any sob story or "person in need" and I am known for my generosity that never asks for proof of any kind, so I attract all kinds of losers, liars and thieves. It seems like I look into their heart and I see someone suffering, so I try to help them as I feel sorry for them and want to help cure what ails them. But all that really happens is that whatever virus they are carrying gets into me, and I am soon out of money and out of patience and out of "love" as they have stolen it all. And returned hatred, resentment, jealousy or potential violence to me. Raging codependent that I am, I made a pact with myself to learn to "help myself" and not help one person for a whole entire year. All went well until I broke that promise to myself, and what started out as a dream quickly turned into a nightmare. And not for the first time, but I hoped for the last. But no, I had to return to my God-awful "helping" a few more times until I finally learned. I used to give jobs" until those were the thieves who almost put me out of business. Now I work and spend time with people who take care of themselves, and are happy for an honest days pay for an honest days work. Things are finally changing. I loved what you said about "unconditional love and discernment" when it came to raising children. I did not learn this in time for my own son, who has a terrible sense of entitlement and does not believe he is required to do ANYTHING for anyone else, and it has cost him his marriage and many jobs in the past. I hope for his sake and his soul that he can learn whatever lesson I failed to teach him, and for him I still have "unconditional love" but I "love him from a distance." I won't enable him or any others, even if it makes me very unpopular and sometimes on "enemy status." Until I read what you wrote, I really didn't know if I was doing the right thing or if I was on the wrong path, especially reading all this "unconditional love" stuff and even the story about the woman who adopted the murderer who KILLED HER SON. That story was so horrifying it has stayed in my mind, and some people's responses agreeing with this made me think I must be crazy or out of my mind. But no, "love and discernment" is actually what is always needed. Now if I can learn the discernment part, all will be well. Looking forward to more of your thoughts anytime you write them. And thank you, my friend, you have given me much to think about and much to ponder. Gracias, amiga. "All will be well, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well."

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