Is Giving to Charity Always a Stage Seven Endeavor?

Since your view of charity (giving/receiving of time, money, or other tangibles to/from others) is a very personal matter, the short answer is no. Contributions of time or money to charity or a cause you support is a situation where your unique values prevail. Your true motive is what tells the story. For example, at Stage Seven, your contribution may be a result of your inspiration to benefit the world or a certain deserving subset of it for a cause in which you believe. At times, this could even make your own life more complicated or difficult than it would be otherwise. At Stage Six, it could be the opportunity to do some type of work that you enjoy doing for a charity, which you don’t have the opportunity to perform as a part of your career or regular life. At Stage Five, it could possibly be to fulfill the expected role of giving back (and besides, giving tangibles to charity is tax-deductible). At Stage Four, it could be to receive the praise and recognition that often comes from others as a result of giving (many charities even publish the names of their donors, partially for that purpose). Another way to put it is that Fours (as well as Twos) can act like Sevens when the “cameras are rolling.” At Stage Three, you may be giving merely to stay out of hell; Stage Two, to convince others that you have pure intentions, so that they fall prey to a scam of yours; and/or Stage One in order, somehow, to actually receive that charity’s help.

Sevens need no recognition for their acts of charity and kindness. When you are operating at this highest stage, the ability to move the world or a segment of it  (perhaps just one person) in the right direction with respect to something you feel strongly about—where nothing extrinsic for yourself is expected in return— is all the motivation you need. Only you know your true motivations. However, no matter what stage you are starting from, take a moment to visualize the impact your contribution it will have. When that vision can trigger a feeling of true satisfaction, you are definitely in the Stage Seven zone.