Everyday we should not just aim to do good. We must focus on doing better than good.
With each action you make, consider looking beyond the initial act. Think to yourself: how can the blessings I am putting forth go even further? How can I do this better?
In order to be better than good, your actions must come from a pure, loving place. When you give, you give of your heart and wish good blessings upon each person this effects. Don’t just give because it is the right thing to do. Give with love and good intentions that go beyond the initial act.
A Case Study in How to be Better than Good
In 1927, an American tourist named Amy Bend Bishop visited Morocco. While she was there, she was horrified by the suffering of the animals. After her trip, she returned to Boston, worked with animal rights activists and established a veterinary clinic in Fes.
What makes this clinic so unique is that working animals receive free medical care there. For many Moroccans, animals are a means of survival, whether it be for business, farming or transportation. They are a vital resource. The people live in extreme poverty and cannot afford veterinary bills if their donkey, horse or camel becomes sick or injured.
For those who can afford pets, they have to pay for the services at the clinic. Their reasoning is if you can afford to own a pet, buy it food, etc., then you can afford to pay for its care.
When Moroccans tell the story of what this woman did for them, they speak very highly of her. It is because they are so grateful for this clinic that they speak praises of her long after she died. This clinic has been around for almost 90 years. She did better than good for the people of Morocco. By helping the working animals, she helped everyone there.
This act of love and kindness towards animals went so much further than just helping the animals. She helped the entire city of Fes, Morocco and still to this day continues to help them long after her death. Animal rights groups in America keep this clinic running.
When we set out to help, we must first think wisely. Our heart strings are pulled to help, but we must decide how to best benefit each being we help.
Poverty in America
Poverty in America is very high with 40 million Americans living in poverty and nearly half in extreme poverty (Washington Post). Homelessness continues to rise, especially near urban centers as welfare programs and public housing funding decreases. Scurvy is well known to exist among the poor due to malnutrition and poor diets.
Instead of giving just money, a hot cup of coffee, toiletries or a meal, carry some oranges with you when you give to the homeless. It helps protect them from not only scurvy, but from getting sick.
For years, I used to give an orange to a homeless man I saw outside of Port Authority every day. The way his face would just light up to see this piece of fruit magically appear in his hand, it made me smile every single time. Now, he’s gone.
These days, when I give out apples or oranges, I have an opportunity to stop and talk to the homeless men on the street. I always tell them to make sure they eat it so they will not get sick. The way they look at me when they thank me, it is with a sparked look of hope that they are not invisible and that someone out there cares enough about them and their well being…that they are still human.
Volunteering my time at the NY Food Bank has taught me about food, hunger and poverty. At food pantries in the Bronx, I hand out food and see how little is available for the poor to survive upon each month. I see involuntary hunger everywhere I go. That is why I always pack a little something extra in case I see someone that is hungry.
Poverty and hunger are the two things that pull at my heart strings every single day. Perhaps it is because I understand what it feels like to be hungry and not be able to afford food. I was like that once when I worked for the government. You do your time with the government and live in poverty so you can get carte blanche in the private sector (and command a large salary) one day.
I walked to work at 6AM, just to get there by 8:30AM. I only had $70 to buy food for the month. And they expected me to pay for my insurance out of that measly pay.
The poor are not necessarily lazy. There are some homeless people working three jobs, and living in shelters with their families. There are legal immigrants living in the slums that work all day in a factory, go to school, deliver food all night, and then go home to sleep 3 hours in a room filled with 10 other families where the bathroom is across the street at 7-11.
We live in a country with great abundance, but instead of helping each other, people take advantage of others in order to profit. This is a selfish country where we put blinders on and refuse to see the truth. There are 40 million people in our country that are living in poverty. 20 million of them can’t afford to eat. That is one child, one parent, one human too many.
Give Because the Universe Gives to You
I learned a long time ago that in order to be wealthy in life, you must share your wealth with universe. The universe shares its wealth with you, so in turn, you must share your wealth with the universe and those in it.
Wealth comes in the form of money, but also knowledge, love, happiness, joy, luck, etc. These are all things we must share with each other in order to truly sparkle in God’s eyes. We need to focus on giving back what is given to us. Everything that is given to us is a tool. We are judged upon how we use these tools to better the world around us.
When you give, think beyond your initial act. How can your act of kindness stretch further? If you think in the karmic sense of what you put out comes right back to you, ask yourself if this act can go 3 to 8 times further. Or in the case of Fes, Morocco, can your act of kindness go on long after your death?
We should strive to commit to acts of kindness like the one Amy Bishop displayed all those years ago. Not only is she continuing to help animals and people long after her death, but she continues to receive blessings from many people every single day. She wasn’t rich or famous. She just felt the call to help and got the assistance she needed from like minded souls to create a blessing that would last for a very long time.
That is how you can be better than good and be the sparkle in God’s eyes. Choose to be better than good every single day. It benefits the world.
How are you changing the world? Oftentimes we get so caught up in our own lives that we forget to care about anything else around us that doesn’t affect us. Then one day, time stands still for a moment and we are forced to stop. We are forced to watch an atrocity taking place. Then we ask ourselves how this could happen. How could evil like this be born into this world? What can we do to help the victims? How can we stop the evil from growing? How can we stop it from happening again?
When we say “we,” we don’t necessarily mean ourselves. We mean the government, our armies and just about everyone else out there but ourselves. Trust me when I say you’re not the only person thinking that.
That’s what needs to change. We need to change.
If we truly seek to change the world and to make it into a better place, we need to go out there and make these changes. How does one start?
It’s The Little Things
Changing the world doesn’t happen overnight. It takes small steps at first. You start by getting out of your shell and interacting with complete strangers.
After seeing the movie “Shelter,” I started carrying around extra food with me to give to any homeless person I came across. Usually, it’s an orange or a clementine. Homeless and the poor don’t always get their nutrients because they don’t have access to fruits and vegetables all of the time. With the cold days of winter settling in, they’ll need some Vitamin C to keep them from getting sick.
Since seeing the movie, I find myself walking up to sleeping homeless men and leaving them an orange beside them. I stop to talk to a drugged out homeless kid begging for money, handing him an orange with instructions that he must eat it so he doesn’t get sick. I gave one to the guy I’ve seen everyday for the last 10 years because he’s wearing a boot on one of his legs now (how he injured himself is beyond me because he’s always sitting there zenlike, minding his own business, smoking a cigarette).
When I first gave that last guy an orange, his eyes lit up at the kindness. He looked at me and thanked me for the kindness. He was genuine about it, too. You could see it in his eyes.
It was one of those moments where just that one human interaction was very important. It meant that he wasn’t invisible. Someone actually saw him, stopped and acknowledged him.
I’ve noticed over these past few weeks random people watching me stop to leave something for the homeless man at the Finding Neverland theater on Broadway. I think they’re shocked that a well dressed person carrying a bag that could pay their rent for several months, would stop to pay attention to one homeless man. In a way, I hope that by watching me doing an act of kindness, it will encourage them to do the same.
I check to see what he’s eaten while he’s sleeping. It’s apparent he’s getting a lot of his food from Carmine’s. He doesn’t eat it all, but I notice that he’s eating that orange I left him. That’s what I’m checking for. I want to make sure he’s getting his Vitamin C.
I left him another orange this morning, but this time in a Ziploc bag filled with some candy as an extra treat.
For that doped up kid I ran into last night, I checked this morning to see if he did as I asked. Sure enough, someone bought him a McDonald’s breakfast this morning. He didn’t even eat it. But that orange…he ate.
There’s a reason why I chose oranges to carry with me to give out to the homeless. First, they need their nutrients. Second, it’s a sweet treat. Third, what harm can come from an orange?
The third part is the one I want to elaborate on. When you give, you need to make sure that what you give is something that will benefit another human being in more ways than one. You are doing a good deed, so make sure that the good deed is something good for them.
McDonald’s is not conducive of a healthy place to eat. Sure, it’s a hot meal, but there’s only so much McDonald’s a poor person can take. It’s also not a place you’d want to eat every single day. It’s junk food.
When you give, you have to think about the true karmic benefits of giving. What if the person was a vegetarian or didn’t eat pork, but you handed them a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast because beggars can’t be choosers, right? WRONG.
Give them something you would eat. Give them something to eat that you enjoy. Give them something that will help them in that very moment keep up their health.
The reason why giving out fruit is a special treat for me (and for the people I give them to) is because there is a high risk of Vitamin C deficiency in the poor and homeless. That leads to sickness and scurvy. Giving them an orange is like giving someone a moment of sweetness that will benefit them and their health. [For more on the scurvy problem in the poor, click on that link.]
When you give to others, expecting nothing in return, you need to think of the good karmic benefit and how far it will go. If you gave them a meal from McDonald’s, how far does that good karma go if the meal makes them sick? I mean, it’s junk food. It’s not good for you. You know that. That’s not how you create a good karmic act.
If you hand them money, what if they take that money to buy drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and other things that are bad for them? How are you helping them? You’re not. You’re feeding into the reason why they are on the streets to begin with.
When you decide what is best to give, think of how it can benefit the person you are giving to. A bottle of water is a good thing. A can of soda is a bad thing. A cup of hot coffee or tea and a conversation is enlightening. A brand new pair of boots can be a bad thing.
For those who are aware of the police officer in Times Square that bought a homeless man a pair of brand new boots during one of the coldest winters Manhattan has seen in years, his kind deed was all over the internet and news. What wasn’t all over the news was what that homeless man did with those brand new boots.
About five days later, I was walking through Port Authority and saw that same man…without the boots. He was back to being barefoot again. I let a few of the news media outlets know about it and they headed down to Port Authority to see it for themselves. Sure enough, he wasn’t wearing them. He said he hid them. He didn’t want anyone to steal them from him. Truthfully, he probably had them stolen from him or he sold them. If they were used boots, he probably would have kept them.
He took that police officer’s good deed and shit all over it.
That’s what you need to be careful of…doing what you think is a good deed, but it ends up being cut short in the cycle of creating good karma by the person you did the kind act for. Those are the good deeds you want to avoid doing, because it doesn’t help anyone no matter how good your intent was.
Creating Good Karma
Creating good karma for yourself and for the world doesn’t end when you do the deed. You have to think of creating a kind act that will continue long after you’ve done your good deed.
For instance, in Morocco, the people there speak kindly of an American woman namedAmy Bend Bishop who visited Morocco back in 1927. She was the woman responsible for creating a free veterinary hospital in Fez, Morocco.
You may not think that’s creating anything special, but it was very special to the people.
The animals in Morocco are almost all work animals. The livelihood of the people depends mainly on those animals. If an animal needs medical attention, they can take it to this free hospital and receive free care for the animals. Although, if the animal is a pet, the owner usually has to pay for the vet bill. The reason that is that if you can afford to buy the food and care for a pet, then you should be able to afford the vet bill for your pet.
Her kind act to the people (and animals) of Morocco has helped keep the good karma flowing long after her death. The people there appreciate this act of kindness because it has helped them in so many ways. She also has people speaking kindly of her long after she’s died.
This is how you keep the good karma flowing and what we should all aim to do. Change the world one small step at a time.
There’s also a lady in Manhattan that died last week that had so many people in attendance at her funeral. Her family was astonished by how many people came. The church didn’t have enough seats to fit everyone.
The people that attended her funeral weren’t just family and friends. They were people whose lives she changed personally. For one Indian family that attended, they said that she had stayed in their home in India for one night many years ago. When one of the girls from that family came to America to attend Columbia University, the girl and her family were invited to stay with this lady for as long as it took for them to get acclimated to New York. How long was that? A month. This coming from staying with this family for one night in India. That is what we call being over generous.
That was the type of person she was.
Her manicurist…she helped her find a husband. She helped get her kids into the right schools. She really was so much a part of helping this woman and her family with all of the major things that happened in her life. Yet, she was just her manicurist.
She helped change the life of each person she came into contact with throughout her journeys around the world. Those changes were big changes in each person’s life. The amount of gratitude they have for her is the game changer.
She lived an incredible, happy life. Everyone loved her. She was wealthy and giving. She used her influence and her mind, heart and soul to change the world around her.
They may be little things to her, but they were big things for the people she helped.
This is how you change the world. You do things that will help people ALL OF THE TIME. There are problems that are BIGGER than you can imagine like how do you stop terrorists? You start by changing how you look at life, how you treat people, and by being kind.
You also have to stop being afraid. You have to stop disconnecting with life. You have to start reconnecting with the world not through your devices, but through real human interaction. The more you disconnect from the real world, the more the world becomes a stranger to you. You, just like everyone else that chooses to disconnect, becomes part of the problem, not part of the solution.
You can say you want change in this world, but you can’t change it by saying it. YOU need to be the change. YOU need to get out there and make that ripple of change. YOU can’t wait for people to change the world the way you wish to see it. YOU need to make that change the world needs. Start small, but think wisely. Think of how you can impact the world through your acts of kindness for the long run, not the short run. How can you change the world into a better place?
Now, imagine if everyone in the world was working towards this common goal of kindness to each other and making this world a better place for everyone.
Law of Karma
If you want great things to happen in your life, you need to do great things for others. When you do good all of the time for others, you are rewarded sevenfold. It’s just the way the universe works.
If you are constantly doing good and making sure that your good deeds go beyond just that one act and continues to keep going, the more you reap from the karmic benefit.
Happiness, good fortune, treasures, money, an amazing life…just about anything you could ever dream for yourself and so much more happens when you are doing good karmic acts. But it’s important that when you do good deeds, you are not looking for the karmic rewards. The universe still looks at your intent. The intent needs to come from a good place, not from a greedy place.
To change the world, you need to constantly be bestowing blessings upon the world and sharing the wealth that God gives to you. Be over generous, and the universe will be over generous to you.
The thing is, you can’t dictate what you want to the universe. I want to explain why…you need to trust that the universe (God) knows what’s best for you. You may think that you want X, but really it’s not what you need (most times it’s not necessarily good for you). God is a lot wiser than you. Trust that he’ll reward you brilliantly. You have to look beyond material possessions. Sometimes having an amazing journey in life with incredible experiences is worth more than all the money in the world. Happiness is the key factor.
Trust that God will know what will truly make you happy. If you go in with that blind faith, doing good for others all of the time without knowing what the reward will be (or caring what the reward will be), you’ll find God can be over generous, too.
Give greatly. Be over generous. Give wisely. Help everyone. Be kind.
To my fellow Americans, have a happy Thanksgiving. Be thankful for what you’ve been given and share that gratitude with the world by sharing that wealth with everyone you come into contact with. If you have leftovers, consider packing up a few meals and delivering it to shut-ins, the elderly spending Thanksgiving alone, the homeless, or families that need a little cheering up. God has given you this feast, share it with all those around you.