I heard of a guy the other day who helped an elderly woman who had run out of gas. He drove to the gas store in his truck and filled a jerry can and put gas in her car. Paid for the gas too. The term I heard after was that he was "paying it forward".
The term "pay it forward" I think gained momentum with a movie in the '80's with Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey and some little kid. I have been hearing it an awful lot lately everytime someone does something nice for someone else. I am however finding myself questioning the whole concept of "paying it forward". I mean why can't we just be nice for the sake of being nice. To me the idea of paying it forward is just the same as paying it back. It almost seems like if you do something nice for someone else that eventually the expectation is there that you will get something nice done for you in return.
I personally just like to do nice things for people because I can and it feels good to do a "good deed". I drove my neighbor to her church the other day after it snowed. Not because I think someone is going to do something nice for me later or because I am going to get into heaven or find samadhi. But because it was really cold, there was a lot of snow, she's in her 60's and doesn't drive!
Don't get me wrong I don't think the idea of paying it forward is bad it is just the overlying concept that you might have something done nice for you in the future. I think we would be better off if we were present in our actions and just did nice things for people. Just "paying IT" not forward or back. Being present in the nice things that we say or do. Noticing how it makes us feel and how it makes the other person feel. I think if we were nice to other people and gave more of ourselves and what we have because we accept that we are rich in our own hearts and lives then this over all would make us all better in the long run.
So next time you do something nice for someone else think about being present in your gift. Don't do it because they did something nice for you or because eventually someone else might do something nice to you. Just "pay IT".