Beyond Being Helped!

It’s suffering borne out of ignorance, of darkness. When your body and mind are not at ease you know why they’re not so most of the time. But when people around you suffer, you wonder why they are suffering. When you can feel their pain it’s no longer their pain–it’s yours. We don’t suffer only for our own pain but also for those around us. We might be insensitive to their suffering and then it’s not a suffering for us but if we are sensitive we feel the pain. Sometimes we feel the pain more than the people suffering do–because we are suffering for too many people at once–hearing too many cries simultaneously. When you see ignorance and resultant suffering you are compelled to help people out of their suffering but sometimes despite best of your intentions you can’t. Either they’re reluctant to accept help or they have grown so much in it that they’ve gone beyond being helped. But withdrawing yourself isn’t easy–simply accepting that it’s so and you can’t change it–you can’t alleviate their suffering, isn’t easy. Their suffering becomes your worst nightmare.

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Bodhisattva is the name given in Buddhist texts to the beings who are inches away from enlightenment. They’re immensely compassionate and want to show others a way out of their suffering but what if they can’t? It remains their suffering. If you hear too many cries around you and can’t shut yourself down to them you are bound to suffer because of them. It’s your suffering because you’re hypersensitive. Either for good or  for bad you are carrying a heavy weight inside you which can’t let you be at ease. Some people live in so much darkness that they create suffering for themselves and for others –incessantly by their own actions. They have no insight into the mechanisms which create pain for themselves and others and these mechanisms keep repeating themselves for their entire lives. What do you do when you see too many people living in darkness around you? What do you do when all you could do in your power fails to rescue them out of their suffering? How do you desensitize yourself from their pain and how do you shut yourself down? This pain is what makes it impossible for you to sleep and stirrings eventually lead to awakening. Then suffering is but you walk on waters. You float on it.

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If You Want To Help Others!

Helping others is helping yourself because reality is one indivisible whole. Separations are illusory. When you give something to others you are giving to yourself. This is how law of Karma works. You are always giving to yourself and sooner or later, you’re bound to get it back. Karmas bind us. Positive ones are chains of gold and negative are iron chains, still until all iron chains have been broken, you need to keep holding onto golden ones. Peace is beyond all chains, when ego becomes a fringe element,  peace is unshakeable. Continue reading “If You Want To Help Others!”

Caring for the very old people and for the very young

Caring for the newborns is very obviously likeable. They’re so beautiful, so full of life, innocence and playfulness. They are liked by most, if not,  by all. Parents, if they are sane–love them to the fullest and care for them. So do their uncles, aunts and neighbors. People like to see them, enjoy looking at their smiles, their playfulness, their mischievousness,  and the small nuisances they create every now and then. Most people would not like to clean them though. Small kids wet themselves so often–and only nearest to them, who take care of them–mother, father, grandmother and grandfather etc. would like to clean them happily. But everyone loves to play with young ones–even if it’s only for a while. It’s mostly because they’re full of life, beauty and purity.

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Very old people, with grey hairs or bald head, wrinkled lifeless worn out skin, toothless mouth, weak bones, coughing with many body-aches and unable to hear you properly won’t appeal to you. They don’t appeal much to anybody for that matter. The life is soon going to bid adieu to their bodies. Very few people really care for the very old people. More than anything else, old people want some of your time. They might not be able to help you much with anything, they might not have any gifts to offer, no beauty of young–(though there is a grace in some old people who have lived well), no glow, yet they’ve a certain wisdom acquired through the arduous journey of life. If you spend some of your time with old people, and listen attentively to their stories–it helps keep them happy and sane. You would also feel better. It’s true that listening attentively to anyone, no matter whether young or old in age, improves relationships and  quality of life for all people involved. It’s even more true in case of old people. They are often very lonely. Incapable of making their desires and dreams come true–because they can’t work for them(not to suggest that people who can work for their dreams can make all of them come true, or all of the people who work for their dreams make them come true!)they’ve mostly let-go of life, made their peace and they’re preparing for the final goodbye–but they still have many deep conflicts–unresolved–they like peace but they want you to spend some time with them. Listen to their stories.  Show them some respect out of compassion. They have already seen enough of conflicts, arguments and harshness in life it’s a great service if you speak politely with old people–strangers or familiar people. It’s an act of compassion. It would not only heal them but would also heal you along.

Caring for young people is obviously out of love. Caring for very old requires more compassion. Old people, in many ways, become similar to young people-unable to follow instructions, lack of attention, lack of hearing and so and so on. But old people lack the glow, beauty and life young have in them–therefore it’s not natural to take care of old of the tribe. But by taking care of old–out of compassion–you not only heal them and yourself in the process, but also set an example to be followed–which helps create a society where old people are not thrown out of homes, out of tribes, just because they’re ugly and of no use. You help create a society–where there’s a balance and a certain harmony among people of all generations. Because if there is pain in certain organs of body–the rest of the organs can’t stay at peace. The whole becomes peaceful only when every organ is at peace. Almost everyone is going to get old. Body starts decaying the day it’s born. You’re dying every moment of life you’re living. Life and death are shadows of each other.

image courtesy: here and here

A Zen Story and The Green Mile!

A Zen Story: Is That So?
A beautiful girl in the village was pregnant. Her angry parents demanded to know who was the father. At first resistant to confess, the anxious and embarrassed girl finally pointed to Hakuin, the Zen master whom everyone previously revered for living such a pure life. When the outraged parents confronted Hakuin with their daughter’s accusation, he simply replied
“Is that so?”
When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility.
“Is that so?”
Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child.
For many months he took very good care of the child until the daughter could no longer withstand the lie she had told. She confessed that the real father was a young man in the village whom she had tried to protect. The parents immediately went to Hakuin to see if he would return the baby. With profuse apologies they explained what had happened.
 “Is that so?”
Hakuin said as he handed them the child.
The Green Mile
 I enjoyed watching The Green Mile. The name of the film actually suggests an area for the execution of condemned prisoners, because, they are supposedly walking their last mile before death. This last mile is called The Green Mile. Tom Hanks has portrayed the role of an execution officer very well . The movie is an adaptation  of a Stephen King novel of the same name. I feel that this is one of the best Stephen King stories along with Dolores Claiborne and The Shining.  In my opinion: this is a story of a sage. Though the story is narrated by  Paul (Tom Hanks), the central figure of the story seems to be the sage(John-the healer).
In spite of having been convicted, he comes up with no defense. It shows that he has surrendered completely to the life. He lives in acceptance of what is. Like the sage in the  zen story above  he is very stoical. Moreover, he is a healer and in order to heal others he bears immense pain himself and finally accepts the death which is not really justified in any way. He is immensely sensitive towards the pain of others and in-spite of having devoted all his energies in healing others he demands nothing in return. Like the Bodhisattva of the Buddhist Jataka tales, he is immensely aware of the suffering in the world but being extremely sensitive he is unable to bear the pain anymore and hence prefers death over escape. Nothing has been told about the life of the sage, there is no background information on him. But his compassion overwhelms me.
This film is highly recommended.
[ Written in July, 2010; edited and republished: July 2015]
image courtesy: here and here