Do You Give Money to Beggars During Your World Travels?

do you give money to beggars during your world travels

Giving money not to beggars, but to monks on an alms run in Yangon Myanmar.


Do You Give Money to Beggars During Your World Travels?


5 minutes ago a dude outside out of a bodega in East Harlem asked me for $1. He said he hadn’t eaten all day.


He sounded authentic. Natural delivery. No desperation.


Since it felt good I gave him the dollar.


He immediately walked inside the bodega where I was going to grab a snack. He bought a snack with the dollar. Walked outside the store. Dug into his grub.


I gave him the dough because I felt good about it. No guilt. No sadness. No worry for him. He was a guy who hadn’t eaten all day, asked for buck, I gave him a buck, he bought something to eat.


Tomorrow will be another day for him. Since I carry an intent to see all human beings as empowered, I see him making some scratch and affording a meal.


That’s how I roll.


The Question


In places like India, and to a lesser extent, Cambodia, I saw many beggars. Particularly in India, begging is common.


During my trip to that fascinating land I learned how to handle the begging situation because if you don’t sit with and embrace the feelings that will likely arise during these interactions, your guilt, anger, agitation or pity will diminish your experiences in these lands.


Even worse? Your low energy feelings will actually contribute to the disempowering of local folks who feel begging is their only option for surviving.


The question remains: how do you handle beggars?


(PS….click that link for an interesting article on The Daily Mail)


After circling the globe for over 6 years, spending months in developing nations and sometimes in neighborhoods where money appeared to be scarce, here’s my take:


I only give money to beggars if it feels good, natural and empowering. 


Since this is rarely the case, I rarely give money to beggars.


Here’s why: most human beings give money to beggars with a low energy intent. A person feels guilt, shame, anger, agitation, or some low energy, fear-based emotion, in reaction to a beggar, and acts from this lower energy state.


This makes life worse for beggars because giving out of guilt or shame energetically disempowers beggars. You feel bad for them. They feel how you feel bad for them. You offer money from a bad feeling energy. They accept money from a bad feeling energy. They continue to beg, because they are, in their minds, poor beggars, because you co-created this situation by giving from a bad-feeling space.


You co-create begging if you give money from a bad feeling energy.


Western Arrogance


Most Western tourists arrogantly believe that they support developing economies. This delusion is ego run amok. The Source of money is Infinite, with no beginning or end. Beggars tap from the same Source, but when you arrogantly believe that you are the source, you instantly make the beggar dependent on you, and program them to believe that Western tourists are their hope, their meal ticket, their only way to live, to survive.


This is horse shit.


I choose to see people in India or Cambodia or New York City as empowered. Any beggar can stop reaching out for money and can offer something, whether a product or service, so I can offer them money for something tangible, something useful, something powerful. This feels empowering for the beggar turned entrepreneur and for me, too.


Ladies in Chennai with Kids


I came across a begging lady in Chennai with kids. She desperately reached out to me for money. I felt so much compassion for her that I did not give her money because I had already seen her doing something useful and offering something helpful to receive money.


A few days later I saw a woman with little kids selling coloring books on the street. That’s how it’s done. She’s an entrepreneur. Different people who chose different energies and made different choices, despite their circumstances.


Legless and Armless in Cambodia


In Siem Reap, Cambodia, I recall a group of folks who had been maimed by land mines. Some people had no legs. Some had no arms. Yet these cheery folks played music – and damn well I might add – and placed a collection box beside performing area.


I dropped some USD in there. Empowered stuff. Felt good to give.


If It Feels Good and Empowering, Do it


You may come across a desperate mom with her child begging for food and money. If offering them food and money feels amazing, and if it feels empowering for both parties, do it.


Money given from love and harmony empowers people because of the energy you injected into the interaction.


I remember seeing a smiling lady in India with a massive growth on her leg. She was happy. I was happy seeing her being happy. I gave her money. That happy energy we both co-created means the money will empower her in some way, shape or form.


This is rare though. Many beggars are desperate, persistent and some are angry. Since I have compassion for them I do not give them money, because I don’t want them to continue being desperate, lost and angry.


I have also noted how a new wave of energetically aware travelers who don’t cower to disempowering beggars has seen an equal new wave of empowering philanthropic organizations pop up in developing nations. These organizations are teaching skills, helping folks find jobs and start businesses, and moving people from the streets into homes.