NAKED EXCEPT WHITE SHOES AND SOCKS

By: Yoram Yahav

A gorgeous couple, completely naked except for white socks and white shoes, stared back at me from the storefront window. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I might have mistaken them for Greek or Roman sculptures standing frozen half facing each other, breathtakingly beautiful, perfect bodies, deep blue eyes, her long blond flowing hair and his Elvis hair style.

It was an early Spring weekend in the Netherlands and locals as well as tourists crowded the streets. Once I made my way through the crowd to view the unusual phenomena up close, I noticed a sign in English positioned next to a small red bucket sitting on the ground. “There is a center for blind people in New Delhi” the sign said. “They need money to eat. They can’t see, so if you CAN see and like what you see, please place any amount you wish in the bucket and we promise to deliver it to the center.” Below was information on the center and its mission, how to donate, etc.

By the time I got to the bucket, it was full of coins and bills. Suspicions popped into my brain regarding the authenticity of the sign and its content.  I decided to stick around a coffee shop and watch this extraordinary, fantastically beautiful site. Evening came, traffic dwindled and I noticed the couple getting dressed and packing up their signs and bucket. I decided to walk over towards them and before I could open my mouth, the man looked me straight in the eyes.   With a warm smile he asked me if I was suspicious of their goal, message and wondered about their method for raising funds. I was dumbstruck and felt quite embarrassed.

“Don’t feel bad,” he followed, “we watched you the whole afternoon and realized that you wanted to “check us out” and see if we were for real.” From there we developed a nice rapport and I ended up going with both of them to dinner. It turned out that they were brother and sister whose parents were both blind and as such, they grew up around many blind people. Later in their lives, they traveled to India together for a three-month meditation seminar on the art of giving. Coming back to Europe they were challenged with the task of doing something different and unusual to raise public consciousness for a goal worth supporting. They chose the blind center in New Delhi.

I remembered this story recently after reading about a project initiated by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates for multi-Billionaires to donate the majority of their assets after death to the philanthropy of their choice.  It was emotional to see Buffet, a humble man and a hero for many, looking gently into the camera and telling us how important it is TO GIVE and how his children would need to build their own futures. It took a beautiful brother and sister pair to undress to attract attention to giving, and it took a successful and admired human being to make an international show just to teach people the importance of giving.

I often think about the notion, if we don’t give, we don’t clear place to receive. It is a quality associated with seeking meaning, and substance rather than money. Loving, supporting, mentoring, educating with patience, all are qualities which are truly cyclical. What goes around, comes around and giving from the heart – opens up space for receiving. It is a practice for life and unless we try it, by offering others a better future we will never know how it truly enriches us.

Many spiritual traditions “command” their followers to give some percentage of one’s income to charity. Regardless of who initiated this wisdom, I have long seen it as the best advice I can give my kids and my younger friends. The more you give, the more you will get. Do it selflessly and make it a habit for your mind and spirit to always share your Good with others.