Philosophy Magazine

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

By Tantrawave @planetbuddha
I am a ceremonial practitioner, but I do not "practice" for specific people and specific things.  It is a firm aspect of my tradition, so there is no busy-bodying with butting into other people's karmas, for good or for bad.  Besides, there is no way to know that my good intentions could backfire.  I've noticed over the years that the saying "No good deed goes unpunished" is generally very true.  It is a cosmic principle, which shows that "Love" as is commonly known and defined by mass religions or common moral parlance, for example, is far more complex and alive than shallowly known and defined. I need to make it clear, that it is my tradition to never practice for another person, except when asked. When someone asks me to do a practice for them, it is also my tradition that I can never refuse.  So it works both ways.  But butting into people's lives, I do not do, as there is a complex web of Butterfly-Effect karmas out there, all entangled and nonlocally linked, and one ripple here could cause a wave there, and so on, and unpredictable things can happen far beyond the scope of good intentions.  What seems bad could turn good, what seems good could backfire, and on and on.  It's like those old carnival or vintage arcade games where you whack a thing that pops up a hole, it goes down but up pops another, then two at once, and so on and on ad infinitum.No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
But Love conquers all, you say.  Of course, but I am not talking about Love here proper, I am talking about giving people help they did not ask for.  We could be stirring unexpected shit.  It's like what Kierkegaard once wrote, a long time ago: If I ask for a glass of water, don't bring me a glass of wine instead because you think wine is better than water, because you think I would like it better; give me what I want, and sometimes all I want is that glass of water.  You learn from experience.  I'll give three examples.I met a guy in '96 whose girlfriend was diagnosed with brain cancer.  She was very young, still in her twenties.  I had met her once, and that was the extent of my acquaintance.  But I decided to dedicate a practice for her healing.  Not long thereafter, they got news that she had gone into remission.  I was happy to hear it, and told him that I also practiced for her.  He said, "You better not tell her that, she'll be pissed.  She doesn't believe that shit," and that was that.  I felt like a jackass, and reflected deeply on the matter.  I was at a post office, and saw a man with an envelope getting into line, and he was touching his pockets, and looking around.  I inferred that he was looking for a pen.  I had one, so I said, "Do you need a pen?" His face lit up, and he said, "Yes, thank you!"  He scribbled on the envelope, and as he was about to give the pen back to me, he hacked up a huge cough, and covered his mouth with the hand holding the pen. "Thank you," he said after his minor jag had settled, and handed the pen to me with the same hand.  I said nothing, but I didn't want to hurt his feelings, so I held it gingerly between the tip of my thumb and index-finger, and when he wasn't looking, tossed it quickly into the trash.  Then I ran outside to my hand-sanitizer, right away.There was a homeless man sitting at a street corner.  I happened to have a dollar in my pocket.  I thought I would give it as an experiment to see if this deed would backfire.  So I rolled down my car window as I drove up to him, and just as I was about to hand him the bill, he started screaming at the top of his lungs at a car that was in front of me.  They were African Americans in that car, and he was yelling racial obscenities at them the likes of what one might have heard at a Klan gathering.  I immediately rolled my window up, and put the dollar away.  My experiment told me that the axiom was still at work.  However, there is a key point to all this.  There are exceptions to the rule of "No good deed,"  which is only when an evolved person is involved.  When I am nice or good to an evolved person, when I show kindness to them (in whatever capacity I can), it has never backfired on me, and in fact, quite the opposite, better things ramify, and joyful things transpire.  But I still will not practice for anyone unless they ask me to do so, because that is a different matter entirely.So as a general rule, I feel that the "No good deed" dictum only applies to unevolved strangers who are working their issues out.  When the time is right, they can accept help without repercussion to both receiver and giver.  Until then, there can only be resonance and entrustment that because of the field of your practice, the field(s) of your healthful energy centers, that those who will benefit will benefit anyway, and those who won't, won't.  Lastly, you hear people who occasionally say, "I'm praying for you" or thereabouts.  When someone who is a relative stranger says that to me, the prayer part does not bother me, but the sanctimoniousness or ego-trip aspect of it does.  Who are you to be praying for me?  I don't care if you're the Pope. Reflect.  Pray for yourself, for your loved ones, but do not go around telling me that you are praying for me, because where are you coming from when you say that?  And perhaps that's the kind of mind-space that gets us in trouble too when we "pray" for others willy-nilly.  Giving and goodness are good, but let them be infused with wisdom as well, an essential ingredient in the things we do.  In many cases, the manipulation of the impossibly chaotic entanglement of karmas cannot be done with impunity.No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog