Give It Away Give It Away Give It Away Now

Giving UnconditionallyOn Sunday we were late to church as usual. Before entering, I opened my wallet to find two twenty-dollar bills. I usually give each of my sons a dollar to put in the offering tray just to get them in the habit of giving. We donate quarterly to the church, so the two dollars on Sundays are more of a superficial gesture than a tithing.

Some Sundays, I only have one single and a five, so one of my sons gets to give five dollars, but $20 is a bit extreme, especially on our tight budget. Since we were late, I knew we could sneak in without giving anything and only a few members sitting next to the door would even notice. I even thought about dropping the $20 in and taking out two fives. But my conscience kept nagging me.

“You blog about abundance all the time, and you’re going to stiff the CHURCH for a measly 20 dollars? Everyday Guru, my ass. What about Everyday tightwad?”

Obviously, I decided to donate the $20, but not without waving it around a bit and making sure someone saw how generous I was.

And wouldn’t you know it, the sermon was on gratitude.

Thinking back, I learned a lot of valuable lessons in that 30 seconds of hesitation. I realize that we have the choice every moment to live in abundance or lack. If we think we are on a tight budget, then we will live tightfisted, pinching every penny. Can you feel all the tension in this lifestyle? On the other hand, if we give freely, we will open the door to abundance and peace of mind.

I also learned that I still haven’t mastered giving. When I donated the 20 dollar bill, I expected to get some recognition in return, or at least some good karma. True giving does not place conditions on the gift.

I will give you love if you promise to never leave me. I will buy you dinner if you buy next time. These are the ways I had given in the past.

In Buddhism there is a term DÃNA. It means to give unconditionally, to give without expecting returns. My new challenge is to practice dãna at all times. I want to give my wife affection without demanding anything in return. I want to give other bloggers likes and comments without hoping that they like or comment back. (Confession: I often get distressed when I make a comment on a blog and I never get a response. I once commented on a Freshly Pressed post and every single comment got a response except for mine. I felt like a pariah.) I want to give compassion to those who are suffering without feeling morally superior.

I am grateful that my wife and I decided to take the boys to church every Sunday because I’m not sure I would have learned these lessons on my own. When we give our time and energy to a higher purpose, God/The Universe/Life showers us with wisdom, patience, and peace of mind that is invaluable…or at least worth more than $20.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling?

Do you give unconditionally? Why or why not? Please share.


79 comments on “Give It Away Give It Away Give It Away Now

  1. Very insightful post! I love to give. I rarely expect something in return. But sometimes, i feel like I deserve something. A ” thank you”. Nothing monetary.

    • Kozo says:

      You are light years ahead of me, Tasha. I get so upset when I don’t get a thank you. I get upset when I let someone in my lane in traffic and they don’t give me a hand thanks in the rear view. Like I said, I have to work on giving. I’ll follow your lead. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  2. leazengage says:

    I live in what I call the flow of abundance (explained in my post about living with very little money). That makes it very easy to be generous… Namaste

  3. Athena Brady says:

    A Very thoughtful post, I admit I used to do unconditional giving in the past. If I had a friend who was struggling I would post £20 through the letterbox in an unmarked letter. Or slip a note into their coat unnoticed it gave me great pleasure to see their faces when they found it or told me about their unexpected windfall. I do give to worthy causes all the time, only small amounts budget permitted. Yet, I think anonymous random act of kindness much more powerful. A great post Kozo, thank you for reminding me.

    • Kozo says:

      Love the anonymous random acts of kindness, Athena. I will work on that. Maybe I can make a goal to do this twice a month. Thank you for being such a positive example. I need more positive examples to counter the dog-eat-dog culture I’m surrounded by. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  4. It’s easy for me to say give it away Kozo, I don’t have small children to raise, a family to support.

    It would be wonderful to have a large enough amount of $ to act on some of my dreams but as that’s not on the horizon I don’t really care about money and yes I do ‘give it away’…

    • Kozo says:

      I keep telling myself that I have time and presence to give to my children.
      I think about what Bashar says about abundance–the ability to do what we need to do when we need to do it. I am blessed that I can write, blog, and care for my boys. You must feel the same way about being able to be there for your daughter and mother. We are rich in care, Annie. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  5. I really like the insight “If we think we are on a tight budget, then we will live tightfisted, pinching every penny. Can you feel all the tension in this lifestyle? On the other hand, if we give freely, we will open the door to abundance and peace of mind.” Made me really think about living freely in times when it is really tough money wise. Thanks so much for these words. I really needed them. 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      Glad I could help “free you up.” I used to have bad lower back pains. Louise Hay claims that lower back pain stems from financial stress, so I started giving money away and now I don’t have lower back pains.:)
      {{{hugs}}} Kozo
      p.s. Hope you didn’t have any friends at the Boston Marathon.

  6. jessicanix says:

    Its interesting, but this is one thing I actually excel at, and that is not a boast, if for no other reason because I do it to a fault. The other day I allowed a strange woman reeking of cigarette smoke in my car and let her give me directions to who knows where. It foolish and it was downright dangerous. My instincts were screaming at me the whole time. I’ve always listened to my instincts and they’ve always led me right, but I didn’t this time. For whatever reason I couldn’t turn her away, I couldn’t say no. I wasn’t hurt, but I could have been. I would like to say if she had been a he, I would have been able to say no, but I don’t know if that’s true. I’ve always known this was a problem for me, but I didn’t realize how much of a problem it was until this event. I don’t date much, or at all really, in part because there are other things I’m not sure I would be able to say no to either.
    So, yes I give unconditionally, and without any expectation of getting anything back. But I’ve taken it entirely too far. It’s something I need to work on, I just haven’t quite figured out how yet.

    • Kozo says:

      I admire your kind heart, Jessica. It takes a very compassionate person to give unconditionally, but to give to the point of endangering yourself is Mother Teresa-esque. You must find great joy and peace from giving if you are willing to ignore your instincts to give. Like my Auntie in Hawaii always said, “The Good Lord going take care of me.”
      {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  7. 1EarthUnited says:

    Kozo u’r the most generous person I know, unconditionally sharing on your blog, uncensored! Besides with inflation $20 ain’t what it used to be, but the sermon and self realization lesson – priceless. The Chili Peppers would be proud of ya, haha! 😀

    • Kozo says:

      I knew I would lure you in with that title, Maddy. 🙂 Yes, 20 dollars is nothing compared to the joy and freedom of giving unconditionally.{{{Hugs}}} Kozo
      p.s. Loved the Flea piano piece you tweeted.

  8. You are indeed a beautiful giver, no matter the slight hesitation, and your sons are learning by experiencing. That is sheer beauty to me. I’m also a giver but since I have no more valuable things to give away anymore those who remained my friends just get little ‘ol me now 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      Little ‘ol you is a lot better than “cold hard cash.” Think about the way we say that. I would much rather have warmth and care than something cold and hard. Thank you for giving a bit of yourself with your comments, 1G4AW. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  9. Geo Sans says:

    I’m not working

    right now


    I took time off

    to raise my

    3 year old daughter


    all I can offer

    are best wishes


    and sometimes

    my time

    • Kozo says:

      We share a lot in common, Geo Sans. Love and time are essential for raising children; excessive wealth is not. I have a 3 year old son. You gotta love this age. They are so squeazable. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  10. You are a special person Kozo. You not only donated to the church generously which is wonderful in itself, you taught your sons a valuable lesson. I am glad to know you! {{{Hugs}}} -Nancy

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks, Nancy. I hope my sons don’t take 47 years to make the realizations I am making now. haha. I’m glad to dance in your positive vibes as well. {{{Hugs}}} KOzo

  11. raimyd says:

    The ego, what a valuable lesson on how to break it. Looks like I’m not the only one transforming around here, 🙂

  12. tiramit says:

    I’m grateful for this nice post about gratitude. Thanks! I can feel gratitude, so I can understand generosity and that’s about letting go of the tight, holding-on thing that causes dukkha (suffering). Just knowing this is enough to give me a sense of liberation…

    • Kozo says:

      Dukkha is rooted in clinging. You got that right, Tiramit. I agree that gratitude leads to generosity. The more grateful I am, the more I realize I have to give to others. Thanks for the insightful comment. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  13. grandmalin says:

    My dad used to tell us that money in the bank was worth nothing – it had value only when you spent it. The way some people save it up makes me wonder if they think they’ll live forever. I don’t want to leave my “millions” behind when I depart this earth, so I’m giving it all away now. 😀 Mostly to my kids who need it more than I do right now raising their families. I’m also a very big tipper. lol
    Giving it away honestly does give me a great happy feeling. I think the more generous we are, the more we get back, especially when we don’t expect anything in return.

  14. Good to hear that you’re going to church! I recently went back about half a year ago… its been good.

    Anyway, I feel like I give unconditionally when it comes to service. I love to help people… especially people who need it. When it comes to money however, or giving to people who already have plenty (and especially those who have plenty and never give back), im more relluctant. Also, in the past ive given and given and then been cheated… so sometimes its hard not to put up my guard in fear that people will take advantage and hurt me. Thanks for the post though. I will try and look at those situations in a different light and learn to give more freely and without fear.

    • Kozo says:

      Yes, Crystal, past experience can often harden our heart. In your comment I hear a bias towards people who have less. You seem to lump all people who have plenty into a category of those who “never give back.” I used to do this same thing, until someone told me that money is not good or evil. It is just a tool. If someone like you had tons of money imagine all the good things you could do. There are many rich individuals contributing a lot towards all kinds of causes.
      Like Bob Marley says, “Judge Not.” {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

  15. theINFP says:

    🙂 For me it’s all guilt, I beat myself up if I don’t reply to comments, or read all of my emails. I realised the other day that I follow over 500 blogs, thank fully not all of them by email 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      Holy cow, Robert. You’re up there with Rarasaur for following so many blogs. You give so much by reading and commenting. I for one am grateful for your presence. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  16. The title cracked me up haha awesome! Your realizations show great progress in your path to “polishing” your “everyday guru” 😉 Keep on keepin’ on man! Awesome post ! I think it is easier to give material things like money since all it requires is the action of grabbing & letting go (which can sometimes be tricky if the budget is tight hehe) I think the biggest challenge in our human lives is to give the most intangible & limited resource we own : Time. I personally have a very hard time with that… *sigh* need to work on it…

    • Kozo says:

      Great point, PWP. I am blessed to have time in abundance to give to my sons and others in my community including the blogosphere.
      By the way, I checked out your blog and we are so similar. Great to meet you. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

  17. Dave says:

    It has been a great, enjoyable part of every day for me. The first time I Learned about philanthropy was several years, ago on Law of Attraction Radio which introduced me to my mentor site,

    This has become a regular daily activity which I enjoy immensely. In the workplace, drive-thru fast foods where, I could anonymously pay for the person waiting behind me. Even in vending machines by, leaving the change for someone else. etc. etc.

    Give Away A Dollar A Day has been a great inspiration in my philanthropic activities which I enjoy on a daily basis.

    I am not much for attending Church but, I am in my own church of philanthropy on a daily basis.

    Those who, try philanthropy looking for a return are there for the wrong reasons. It is just a lot of fun giving something, away!

    I have referenced this activity once in awhile on my blog, and it is a big part of my Vision Board page on my blog.

    Thank you for throwing the spotlight on an activity very close to my heart! It is a joyous daily activity!

    • Kozo says:

      To be honest, I actually thought about your Give Away A Dollar A Day while standing outside the church! But I was thinking that $20 would be like 3 weeks worth of giving. haha. I love your daily practice and will follow suit. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  18. fgassette says:

    When you give it will come back to you pressed down shaken together and running over.


    • Kozo says:

      Love the video, Francine. Never heard of Ron Kenoly before, but I love this song. I think just doing the hand motions everyday would change our world. Thank you so much for the blessing and encouragement. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  19. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Great post Kozo 🙂 Yeah, giving unconditionally in it’s purest sense is very hard. We would be required to even relinquish the feeling of doing good, or the satisfaction of giving. Tricky right? Even the feeling of “doing good” is – technically- getting something in return haha. So yeah, it takes practice alright!

    I personally think it’s okay to gain satisfaction from giving. When you give because you genuinely want to give, when it feels good to give, this is the best. Whenever there is any resentment or condition to the giving it’s wrong on all accounts.

    Conditions are important in agreements, however in the case of giving conditions should not be present at all 🙂

    Thanks for sharing buddy, always good to be reminded to give and practice abundance!

    All the best, hugs!


    • 1EarthUnited says:

      Great point Rohan, I think it’s cool to feel good while giving, makes you want to keep on giving. When giving from the heart, it’s good! ♥

      • Kozo says:

        Ooops, I just repeated what Maddy said earlier. But this makes sense because everything I write on this blog has already been said, referenced, or thought by Maddy. haha. {{{hugs]}} to you both. Love, Kozo

      • Rohan 7 Things says:

        You are right Maddy, anything that cultivates a system of giving and sharing is good! And if we can produce job within ourselves simply from giving something away that is very cool indeed 🙂


    • Kozo says:

      I was feeling good about my post and giving the $20, then I read your comment. haha. Yes, good feelings and satisfaction can be conditions on giving. But I am going to follow suit and say it is okay to feel good since this will build a positive loop that will lead to more giving. How’s that for rationalizing my actions.
      Thanks for the insight and wisdom.
      {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      Even though I am backlogged with research, writing, and blogging, I started reading your book. I’m already on Chapter 4. It is brilliant. Reminds me of Bladerunner and Escape from New York. I can’t wait to find out what happens next. It might take me awhile since I am now twice as behind as I was yesterday, but I just wanted to let you know that I am really enjoying it.

      • Rohan 7 Things says:

        Haha, I didn’t mean to kill your buzz. I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling a satisfaction in giving. Like Maddy says above, it makes you want to do it again, it cultivates a feel good attitude about giving 🙂

        I guess I was just taking it to extremes lol 😉

        Very cool Kozo, I’m glad you’re enjoying it! Two proof readers went through and got the last of the errors but I think your version probably still has a few in there. Hope you’ll excuse those. Living and learning with this self publishing fiction stuff hehe 🙂 Those are very cool movies to be reminded of, I’m happy to hear that!

        Keep well mate, and enjoy your giving haha 😉 I do too 🙂



  20. utesmile says:

    Giving is the best thing ever. And you can give all different things. As I am struggling a bit financially as a single mum with 2 teenagers, I can’t give big money gifts away. Still I am giving away my shoulder to cry on, my love, any help I can give manually , and I always have an ear to listen. My Christmas presents are mainly handmade with love. It is wonderful to show children how to give and share as it is so important at an early age.
    I don’t think you should give because you expect something in return, the real giving is from the heart and without expectations. It gives much more joy!

    • Kozo says:

      I love how you give, Ute.”my shoulder to cry on, my love, any help I can give manually , and I always have an ear to listen.” I think these gifts of presence are much more valuable in the long run. Thank you for gifting me with this wonderful comment. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  21. diannegray says:

    I’ve always liked the saying ‘there are no pockets in a shroud’. I know this is kind of depressing, but it’s so true. You can’t take it with you, so it’s better off going to someone who needs it for food or shelter. You are a very generous soul, Kozo – big {{{hugs}}} to you, my friend 😀

    • Kozo says:

      Wow, Dianne, I never heard of this saying before, but it makes perfect sense. I keep telling myself that the inheritance I am leaving for my kids is all the memories of time I engaged with them whole-heartedly. Actual, I just made that up right now, but I am going to keep telling it to myself. 🙂
      Thanks for your loving comments, Dianne. I’m getting addicted. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  22. If you are bringing up a family on a budget it’s only natural to think twice before parting with more money than usual, you shouldn’t beat yourself about it, Kozo. I do get your point though and reading everyone’s comments it is interesting to see how many of us feel we don’t give enough. I donate monthly to charities which means I don’t know the individuals that benefit from it. However, I still feel guilty that I don’t give time as a volunteer. {{{Hugs}}}

  23. Sunshine says:

    giving unconditionally when living on a fixed budget is very difficult…you worry if you do give what if…what if i don’t have enough to buy food or fill the car with gas…what if this or that. this is a great reminder if we live tightfisted soon our life gets choked out and we become too stressed to enjoy it. thank, Kozo. i needed this reminder to give without worrying about the cost. ☼sunLOVE!

    • Kozo says:

      Great comment, Sunshine. It made me realize that the true cost of not giving is not living. I love how reminding you re-minds myself. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  24. And now I read your post after sending the email, it’s like pieces of a puzzle coming together.
    I think you can guess where I stand with giving by what I wrote on that email.
    Great post!

  25. Great post Kozo and I have been meaning to write here since. I think that what we give with a giving heart always comes back to us. The secret I think is to really give and let go, whether it is $20 in church or your unconditional love to your family. It is when we start to keep a ledger of things given and feel short changed for what we receive that the trouble starts. Thanks for the mind expanding post. I enjoy them always. 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      So true, Jon. When I was in college, my friends and I drove down the coast of Mainland Mexico. We had a ledger for who paid for gas and expenses, so we could share all the expenses. I laughed when I looked back at this ledger because we were writing down like 75 cents for bread and 1.25 for tolls. I guess I was pretty tightfisted back then. So glad things have changed. No more ledgers, just give and serve.Your blog reminds me of these things everyday. Thanks for that gift. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  26. KM Huber says:

    Like you and many others, I am on quite a tight budget but the truth is when I give, I get, and it is usually so much than I ever gave. Admittedly, I have a twinge from time to time but it is precisely as you say, if we live from lack, we get lack. We just need to trust the abundance and there will be no lack. Yet another fine post, my friend. Thanks so much.

    • Kozo says:

      The only thing we lack when we don’t give, Karen, is faith. That is what I am realizing. Life is so intelligent. I am so excited to give after reading all these comments. Thank you for shining your light here. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  27. vision5d2012 says:

    Wonderful post Kozo. I love your honesty. You just lay it all out there. So refreshing and funny, because most of us feel and do similar things. Living on a tight budget and living life tight fisted. OOO you got me good on that one! So much tension; it’s a terrible way to live (exist.) Just in the past couple of years have I begun to stop worrying (negative imagination) and trust that there will be enough money and enough time. I revert back to old thought patterns from time to time but less frequently now and as you have been reading in my posts, the UV flow is taking me to new levels of abundance and ease. Many blessings to you and your dear family, Alia

    • Kozo says:

      Yes, Alia, your UV flow reassures me that the Universe will provide everything I need to grow and prosper. It might not be everything I wanted, but it will be everything I need. I am so glad we are traveling this journey together. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  28. I love your reflections about what all happened in the 30 seconds of hesitation ~ it’s almost like your whole life flashes by in an instant in those moments, isn’t it? I enjoyed your post and had a good laugh with the “Everyday Guru, my ass. What about Everyday tightwad?” Alia asked me what I was laughing at… Life keeps teaching us, that’s for sure… 😉 tomas ♥

    • Kozo says:

      Haha, Tomas. I’m glad someone found humor in that. Yes Life does keep teaching us. I feel like that questioner in your Krishnamurti post. I have to keep being re-minded over and over. One day I will get it or Life will get me. {{{Hugs}} Kozo

  29. Excellent message, our dear guru! {{{Hugs}}}

    That’s 3 instead of a usual 1! 😉

    It’s in our human nature – no matter how selfless and generous we are, whenever we help others or donate big cash, the inside of us immediately rejoices “Yay, i’ve done something good! Yay” ;D

    It’s okay to feel this way, it’s not important whether you help secretly or advertising it, really!
    The idea is to help others. As long as we do , that really doesn’t matter what we feel while doing it 🙂

    Let others know you donate and in this way involve them to do the same!

    • Kozo says:

      Yay, 3 {{{hugs}}} from Sofia. What a wonderful kind of day.
      Yes, we do get that feeling of doing something good, and that motivates us to continue to do good. I have felt new motivation lately because I am working towards doing good for others rather than myself. People can criticize me, but they cannot criticize the work I do for others. I have never felt this way before. Must be old age. haha. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  30. iamforchange says: So many have shared so much with me and I wish to share as well please accept my nominations and if nothing else know I am grateful for your sharing on your pages with us all and the time you share with me on mine.Thank you!! 🙂 Joe

  31. kasturika says:

    I’m with you on the dana concept… Even I’ve commented on blogs without being replied too… But then I too learnt my lesson… I now comment expecting not to be heard… And I comment only when I really absolutely have something to say, and didn’t bother about a response, or even a return like or comment… And it helps – a lot. It makes me feel at peace with myself, and any response is always a pleasant surprise 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      Let me tell you up front, Kasturika, that I appreciate all your comments and likes. I consider you my artistic, empathic, compassionate friend. I am so glad you found peace in yourself. I can’t think of a better gift to receive from blogging.
      {{{Hugs}}} kozo

  32. Alison says:

    I’ve been working on this one for years – making progress. I like spontaneous giving – where it just arises in me of its own accord, not because I think I should, so I find it interesting with beggars. Sometimes I’m moved to give, sometimes not, but I really try to let it be, and trust the energy if I’m not moved to give. Also been working on living in affluence. Again making progress. I used to be really tight, and really afraid, and seldom felt gratitude, but still would be spontaneously generous with time and creativity, but almost never with money. Made some huge strides since then.The authentic giving, and the receiving go hand in hand of course. There’s a trust that arises and in that trust there’s space for generosity, and space for affluence, and space for gratitude. All three go hand in hand in hand. And I live in a real consciousness now that my thoughts have power, and if I think we’re not affluent it will be so. So here in Mexico in our beautiful little casita with a view out the front to the pool and the gardens and the ocean and sunset I’m really focusing on the level of affluence I have achieved (since the days when I was down to 19 cents and didn’t know where the next money was coming from).

    • Kozo says:

      Wow, Alison, 19 cents!
      I love how you connected trust, generosity, affluence, and gratitude. We are all rich beyond measure. We are all blessed. When I look at your pictures, I see so much richness. Let’s try not to forget that. Trust me, I often forget. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  33. Alison says:

    Blessed indeed. Rich beyond measure. And full of gratitude.

  34. electronicbaglady says:

    lots of us feel that way every day, and in reality a tight budget is a scary budget, so we have to get over the Fear too!
    I’m glad you have felt able to embrace the abundance, and hope I can try to do the same – at least some of the time 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      The more we both try, EBL, the easier it will be for all of us. There seems to be a culture of “tightness” squeezing us out of abundance. I’m trying day by day to open the grip and let go/let God. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  35. yaussiechick says:

    Sometimes when you have no money, you may give your time to a worthy cause or help a friend out or family member. I know lots of times, just letting someone know you care really can bring about something wonderful not only to the person you have made the gesture to but to yourself. I about to pay for the petrol I had just pumped. I noticed the lady at the next pump had a really lovely smile and commented about it. She thanked me for the compliment and told me I made her day. I didn’t expect that but it certainly made me happier too!

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