As I vaguely remember from growing up in Spain in the 80’s and 90’s, giving was not a major part of culture; we will get into this in a future post. What I have been more aware of recently is the fact that nobody talks in public about giving. Even those few who actually donate to nonprofits keep the conversation to a minimum and within the walls of their house.
I supposed talking about which organizations you gave to and how much - never mind about how little - was frowned upon. It seemed as if you were trying to portray an image of yourself as a do-gooder that nobody cared about.
My brothers were particularly harsh with this topic. It was very hard for them back in those days to believe that people who actually gave and talked about it would be doing it for the right reasons. It was distasteful; allmost at the level of repeatedly bringing up how much you had paid for your brand new Porsche.
During the last 10 years living in the US I have many times seen public figures donating millions and pledging billions. These people are known as philanthropists.
Could these wealthy donors have an ulterior motive? Could they be seeking to gain something they don’t already have by putting their giving at the front of mainstream conversations? Could that motive even be noble, such as inspiring the new generations in doing good?
The Middle Path
Buddha describes the middle path as a way of moderation, between the extremes of sensual indulgence and self-mortification. This, according to him, was the path of wisdom.
A true middle path means letting go of all pre-conceived judgments, living from your heart and being free to express what’s in it. This path is about responding to life moment to moment, without seeking and without avoiding, while the flow of life takes place in between both extremes. It has been beautifully compared to the finest sound of the guitar when it’s strings are not too tight and not too loose.
This Middle Path of Giving is what we propose here at Encast. To be able to discuss with your friends and family where you give, and why it’s important for you to do so, in the same way you talk to them about a TV show you are hooked on, a neighborhood restaurant you go to all the time because the food and the ambiance are just right, a new song you can’t get out of your head, or this insane workout you just have to have every morning at 5am in order to function properly the rest of your day.
We would like for philanthropy to make its way into everyday conversations in a natural way; not trying to avoid the topic because of risk of coming across as inauthentic, and not having a hidden agenda about it either.
Realizing that giving, and caring about your own giving, the same way you do about other important areas of your life, can be extremely rewarding. Giving intentionally, which means giving to the causes you care about in a way that works for you, can be as much fun as any other hobby.
And then why not talk about it in the same candid way you do about the other melodies that come out of the finely tuned strings of your life guitar?