These days when it comes to giving to charity there are always so many options. There are thousands of registered charities whose objectives are noble in helping out those with lesser fortune than ourselves. I oftentimes find myself thinking 'Why don't they all band together which would generate greater earning and marketing power and help more people'. The reason, of course, is politics. Certain people are motivated more by some things and less by others, and that is what having the freedom to choose is all about. I personally donate to a charity every month. I do this because I am passionate about their particular goals and objectives, but it doesn't mean that I feel less about other charities whoa re fighting other kinds of poverty, cancer ro child abuse. I also donate my time at the Dojo in order to try and stimulate, what I see as, a lacking area of personal and social development in the community.
Charity, however, has become a word that is associated with various groups and organisations that, for some reason that escapes me, seem to be more interested in signing you up for a regular donation rather than being able to accept a once-off donation as well. I, for one, would like the freedom to choose whether or not I can contribute this one time or make a regular donation. Charity, it seems, has become a subscription service.
Charity is an act of kindness. It is not something we do to allay our conscience. If there is no feeling behind it, or true meaning should I say, then the point is negated. Honour is another word that is either not used these days, or not used well. To be honourable is to be true to one's self (see previous post) as well as supportive. It is to be charitable. Down at the Dojo, I see a variety of personalities amongst the students, friends, parents, teachers and carers. Although not all of them are registered, training members, they all form part of our club. With the recent gradings, many issues have come to the surface. Some good, and some unfavourable. I am looking forward to the day where the Dojo can truly operate as one, with all members having similar goals and perspectives. One of mutual support rather than competitive attitudes. In Martial Arts, when you bow to your partner, you are trusting them. You are allowing them to use your body for the purpose of bettering themselves through training. This is something you do willingly, deliberately, because you care for their progression. As a result, they bow to you as well, returning the favour when it is your turn. 'Working together for mutual harmony/benefit' is a famous maxim in Martial Arts tradition, and it is something that should be embraced by all people at our club.
As an experiment, ask yourself when was the last time you did something truly for someone else, with no hope or thought of anything in return. This is the attitude of a Sensei and his students, but maybe it should be the attitude of all peoples involved with Martial Arts.