[reprinted from my former site How to Tune a Human, May 2, 2007]
A blog that I enjoy is called “Evolving Times,” and recently the writer described the situation of being “spare-changed,” on the street.
People in my parents generation used the word “beggers” to describe people who beg on the street. Or sometimes “moochers,” “panhandlers,” or “bums.” Of course, in tiny Henrietta, Texas, where I grew up, the town was too small to have an official panhandler, so the town drunk filled in part time.
Friends of mine as I grew up didn’t seem to like the word “Begger,” though it would seem to be accurate. And I guess the phrase, “Buddy, can you spare a dime?” from that older time had mutated into “Spare change?” by the hippie period in the 1960’s.
The writer in “Evolving Times” was describing what we’ve all felt in that situation. You’re walking along and you are suddenly asked, “Spare change?” Which as we all know, means “Do you have any spare change, that you could give to me?” (I guess those beggers are either very lazy, or they are astonishingly efficient.)
And then what happened?
Well, as you know, the common reaction is that you say “No, sorry,” and you hurry a bit more to get past the place where you just told a lie.
The writer of that blog is someone who follows the “Law of Attraction,” which states that what you think and imagine in your mind tends to manifest in your life. And the key thing there is that it doesn’t matter whether you think about something you do want or something you don’t want. In either case, you’re picturing something, and you tend to attract more of what you are “picturizing,” and so more of that is likely to show up.
So if you’re following the Law of Attraction, it greatly behooves you to pay attention to what you’re thinking and picturing. And the writer suddenly realized that, telling that lie to the spare-changer, because the writer didn’t want to stop and give away money, was in fact a statement to the Universe that “No, I do not have any money at all that I could spare.”
Which, according to the Law of Attraction, would tend to bring you that very thing. A shortage of money so acute that you couldn’t possibly spare even a quarter!
And even if a person didn’t try to follow the Law of Attraction, even so, you’d be programming your own habitual thought that you don’t have any money whatsoever to spare. And this kind of thought, repeated and made habitual, would cause you to experience the emotions that would be reasonable for a person who had no money whatsoever beyond the strictly necessary. And those particular feelings aren’t much fun.
So whether you follow the teachings of the Law of Attraction, or whether you follow the Law of NFL Football, either way, letting yourself get in the habit of telling this particular lie to the spare-changers is a losing proposition for your own prosperity and enjoyment of life.
A RAY OF HOPE
Now, having shown you a veritable hell on the sidewalk, it’s only fair that I show you how beautifully we can escape these torments and have a delightful day, and it’s just warm enough.
Here’s how —
Realize that the spare-changer is, in his or her own special way, saying “Hello!” to you. Watch them and you’ll realize that they greet everyone with this same phrase. It’s their greeting to other humans. And that’s OK. They are free to greet the other humans any way they choose.
And you have the same right.
So when they greet you, saying “Spare change?” you can just smile broadly and greet them right back, saying “Hello!” or “How ya’ doin?” or “Nice to see you!”
And what you will discover is that quite often they’ll simply say, “Hello,” or “Fine, thanks.”
Other times they’ll repeat their greeting, “Spare change?” but you’re already past them now. And so if getting past them without stopping, and without giving away money was your goal, then you’ve succeeded.
And other times they’ll just stop, silent. Gave them pause, you did. Probably not many people greet them back.
Or, you could just stop and give them some money.
It’s your call, and you have a perfect right to do it any way you choose.