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I'm writing this in response to the growing trend i see on this forum of people attempting to help others to thier own detriment. Ive seen many comments such as "I'm tired of trying to help people here" and 'People just don't understand my point of view, they get me all worng, im trying to help". It may surprise many of you to discover that the idea of helping each other is more subtle than we might think.
Generally, when we try to help other people, we make a nuisance of ourselves, make demands upon them. The reason we make a nuisance of ourselves to other people is that we cannot stand ourselves. We want to burst out into something, to make it known that we are desperate. So we extend ourselves and step out into someones else's territory without permission. We want to make a big deal of ourselves, no matter if the other person wants to accept us or not. We do not really want to expose our true character, but we want to dominate the situation around us. We march straight through into another persons territory, disregarding the proper conditions fopr entering it. There might be signs saying "keep off the grass, no trespassing." But each time we see the signs they make us more aggressive, more revolutionary, We just push ourselves into the other persons territory, like a tank going through a wall. We are not only committing vandalism to someone elses territory, but we are disrupting our own territory as well - it is inward vandalism too. It is being a nuisance to ourselves as well as others.
Most people hate being in this situation. they do not want to feel that they are making a nuisance of themselves. On the other hand, one does not have to adopt a cool facade and a genteel manner and do everything correctly and be polite and considerate. True consideration is not diplomacy, putting on a facade of smiles or polite conversation. It is something more than that. It requires opening up our territory rather than marching into someone else's. It requires not playing magnetizing or repelling games, not surrounding our territory with electric wire or magnets. Then there is a faint possibility that we could be of some use to someone else. But we still should be tentative about helping others. We have glimpsed the first step in genuinely helping others, but it takes alot of time to pick up that thing, put it in our mouth, and chew it, taste it and swallow it. it takes a long time to take our fences down. The first step is to learn to love ourselves, make friends with ourselves, not to torture ourselves any more. And the second step is to communicate to people to establish a relationship and gradually help them. it takes a long time and a long process of disciplined patience.
If we learn not to make a nuisance of ourselves to other people, then we are ready for the third stage-selfless help. Usually when we help someone, we are looking for something in return. We might say to our children, "I want you to be happy, therefore I'm putting all my energy into you" which implies that "I want you to be happy because i want to provide me with entertainment; bring me happiness, because i want to be happy." In the third stage of selfless help, true compassion, we do not do things because it gives us pleasure but because things need to be done.
Our response is selfless, non-centralized. it is not for them or for me. It is environmental generosity. But we cannot just go out and try to practice this kind of compasison. First we must learn how not to make a nuisance of ourselves. if we can make friends with ourselves, if we are willing to be what we are, without hating parts of ourselves and trying to hide them, then we can begin to open to others. And if we can begin to open without having to protect ourselves, then perhaps we can really begin to help others..
-------------------- "It is never a question of belief; the only scientific attitude one can take on any subject is whether it is true. The law of gravitation worked as efficiently before Newton as after him. The cosmos would be fairly chaotic if its laws could not operate without the sanction of human belief." -- Sri Yukteswar