Not that long ago, someone told me this story:
In an Asian country, there was once a merchant who was quite rich. He was not among the richest, but had quite a large property, a house, servants, and a profitable shop. He was a bachelor and was not planning to get married. This man was not one of those who would not share their wealth with others. He gladly helped his friends when they needed it and paid his servants more than it was common at that time. Therefore, people liked him.
He lived in a small, affluent town; as a result, not too many poor people lived there. One day, when the man was closing his shop, ready to take home his daily earning, he saw a wretched looking man on the street. He looked very shabby; moreover, he had a badly split palate which caused his face to be distorted. The poor man was leaning against the wall of the merchant’s shop, looking tired.
His clothes were dirty and eyes sad. The rich man had never before seen a person with such an impairment, so he could not turn his eyes away from him. He felt very sorry for him, so the merchant opened his money pouch with the daily earnings and gave the poor fellow a few coins, enough to buy food and new clothes, and pay for a night somewhere. The man looked at the merchant gratefully, took the money, and slowly walked away.
The merchant felt good about himself: “Oh, what a good deed I have done! And the god has seen it and will reward me generously.” Just like other people in his country, the man believed that a person who helps a wretch will be rewarded with a grand entrance to the eternal Kingdom after death. However, he could not stop thinking about the poor man the entire evening; and the more he thought of him, the sorrier he felt for him. He perceived it as a great injustice that someone is impaired from birth, and there is nothing to be done about it. Moreover, other people shun these unlucky people. The man literally felt the pain he believed the poor chap had to cope with all his life.
The next day, the merchant was closing his shop at the same time, and there he met the same wretch again. The merchant was surprised because the poor man had the same clothes on as on the day before.
“Did I not give you enough money to buy new clothes and feed yourself?” the merchant asked, surprised.
The wretch told the merchant how he wanted to buy some food, when suddenly, what a misfortune happened to him! A couple of boys ran to him, pushed him to the ground, and not only took his money, but kicked him heavily, for they were convinced that his disfigurement was a sign of a curse. The man sensed that the wretch was telling the truth and pitied him even more. He pulled out the money pouch and gave the poor fellow a few golden coins. This time, however, the merchant took the poor man to the inn where he arranged a room and food for him.
The landlady watched the situation and saw the pitying expression on the rich man’s face. She arranged for everything, and when the rich man was leaving, she passed by him, saying: “You are not doing good, friend.”
The man was outraged. “How can you say this, woman?! Just look at that poor guy; he is handicapped since birth, people shun him, and he doesn’t have a home, clothes and food. How can you say that I am not doing good?!”
The man fumed for quite some time, so the woman did not continue the debate.
A couple of days passed and the merchant forgot about the encounter with the unfortunate man. But one morning, when he went to open his shop, he found the wretch in front of the door again.
The poor man told the merchant about how some villains had robbed him again, even taking the clothes he had just bought, so he was once more left with nothing.
The merchant again felt sorry for the wretch. He could not look at the injustice happening in front of him and decided to employ the poor man. He was to sweep the pavement in front of the merchant’s shop, and the merchant would pay him alms for this work.
The merchant was very proud of himself for finding a way to help the poor fellow.
Surprisingly, or not, the merchant faced bad luck in about a month. On his way home from a Sunday walk, he slipped and fell badly, breaking his leg. The doctor did what he could, but it looked like the bone would not grow back properly, so the man would be limping for the rest of his life.
Bad luck happens, and this is not the end of the world, thought the merchant. Shortly after, the servant, who took care of his household, ran away, stealing a lot of the merchant’s precious things.
As if this was not enough, a strange mould began to spread in his shop, destroying completely all the fabrics he was selling there. The man felt desperate, for it truly did not look like a coincidence.
As he was looking at his situation, it occurred to him to wonder whether that poor man, whom he had been paying for sweeping at the front of the shop, was not, in fact, cursed, bringing the merchant bad luck. The merchant began observing the wretch, thinking he should soon get rid of him, but he really could not because he felt too sorry for him
A few days after he had to burn all the fabrics from his shop, the woman from the inn appeared there. She wanted to buy some cloth for a new dress, but she saw the man’s shop was empty.
“I told you, dear friend, that you did not do good,” she said.
This time, the merchant did not get angry. On the contrary, he went closer to her and, so that others would not hear him, said in a low voice: “It really looks like you were right. Do you think the man is cursed?”
The woman shook her head, indicating “no”, and began explaining:
“He is not cursed. Your feeling pity for him is cursed. You are helping him because you feel sorry for him, and that triggers all the disasters in your life. If you really want to help somebody, dear friend, you must cease pitying the person. You are not more or better than him. Feeling sorry for someone is nothing but looking at the person from above. And your help will not elevate him; instead, it will push youdown.”
“But how come? Even in the Book of Books, it is written that wretches should be helped. The priests also advocate that compassion is the noblest feeling humans can have,” said the man.
“Do not mistake compassion for pitying, dear friend. If you help someone only because you feel sorry for them, you pull yourself down to their energy vibration. If you help a person, but before doing so you wish good luck to them, or improvement of their life conditions, you pull their energy vibration up to yours.”
The man did not understand the difference. Well, it is clear, he thought, that he helps the poor man because he wants him to be better.
But anyway, from that day, the merchant always thought of the unfortunate man’s welfare before handing over the alms to him. He wished for him to have enough money, that a remedy would be found for his disability, and that he would experience true joy in life. After some time, the merchant found himself not perceiving the poor man’s bad luck anymore; instead, the merchant focused on the possible goodness in the poor man’s life.
It took a few weeks, but eventually the merchant’s leg healed and his limp was barely visible. He managed to get hold of beautiful and quality fabrics, which he was able to sell at an even higher price than the previous ones. And, the servant who ran away from him was caught, and the merchant got back most of the precious things the servant had stolen from him.
Moreover, from the money he saved, the disfigured man was able to rent a small room in a house near the merchant’s shop. The poor man moved into the room with a wife, who fell in love with his soul and hard-working nature, and she did not mind his disability. So, they lived there happily.
For the rest of his life, the merchant did not understand the true difference between pitying and compassion, but following this situation, he always wished prosperity to those he saw suffering before he offered help to them.
The difference between pitying and compassion is minimal at first sight, perhaps even non-existent. This seemingly small deviation in our attitude to those we wish to help results in a true benefit to our welfare and also to that of those we help. So, the difference is huge, in fact.
Always, when you see someone who is worse off than you, and you want to help them, change your vibration beforehand. Do not focus on their bad luck; instead, concentrate on the IMPROVEMENT of the state they find themselves in. For a gift given to a wretch with a vibration of sorrow will not help them; quite the contrary, it will worsen their situation. A gift with a wish of improvement will truly change their situation for the better.
Dear Soul, do not help the children in Africa feeling pain in your Soul. Do not buy anything from a homeless person, feeling pity for them, dear Soul. Do not toss a coin to a beggar with a heavy sigh over their fate. First, you change any of these feelings to a wish for their prosperity, and then donate whatever you want to. Only then is it a true help, for both of you…
„Dear Soul, I give you everything for free. By supporting me you won’t buy anything more. Although, you will support Letters to Soul to inspire other people. You will also support the experience of me becoming a writer. Thank you."