“Am I helping people?” is a question that frequently comes up for me.
Since I was very little, I felt the urge to be of help.
It troubles me greatly to see someone suffering or in pain.
“What can I do to help them?”
If I can’t find myself being helpful, I would be greatly bothered and feel restless the rest of the day.
It occurred to me today, as I sit in my contemplation,
that this urge to help is not about helping others, but myself.
It comes from an unrest inside of me.
I can’t be at peace when I see suffering and pain.
Why is that?
Because I am not suffering or in as much pain as them.
I am not going through as many difficulties as them.
My life is endurable, or even, quite enjoyable most of the time.
It bothers me that someone, especially people close to me or whom I love and care about deeply, is not sharing my good fortune.
The problem is not their suffering, however, but my own inability to face their suffering.
It is human nature to avoid “problems”.
As I feel the need to help others to “solve” their problem, I am avoiding my own problem as well.
Why am I not at peace when I see people struggling?
Why do I have the compulsion to solve other’s problems?
What are my own problems?
How can I be of help to myself?
What can bring me peace at these moments?
Can I remember that everyone has their own journey and karma to go through?
Can I not see people’s sufferings as “problems” but opportunities for their growth?
Can I remind myself that if I take care of other’s problems for them, I could potentially rid them of the precious learning experience they are here to undertake?
Can I offer myself peace and confidence that the best thing I can do at these moments is to witness their journey, and be there for them when they ask for my support?
Can I make peace with the idea that I cannot help anyone else but myself?
As I started doing more contemplations in nature, I found great wisdom in comparing my problems with those of the trees.
The best way for a tree to support others is to focus on its own growth.
It cannot shoulder the misfortunes of another tree, say being struck by lightning or getting burned down by the wild fire.
The only thing a tree can be of help is by standing its ground and simply being there.
There is tremendous strength in stillness and quiet witness.
September 20, 2023 / Wednesday Sunny / 65F