Others and Self

“Most of us know that if we eat our fruit and veggies, exercise often, avoid drugs and alcohol, we have a better chance of living longer and healthier lives. But your doctor may not have told you that regularly giving to others should perhaps be added to that healthy checklist. We are hard-wired for face-to-face contact that includes lots of touch, eye contact, and smiles. Such interactions release a hormone called oxytocin, which helps us to bond and care for others, and also helps us to handle stress better. If you want to live a longer, happier, and healthier life, take all the usual precautions that your doctor recommends, and then get out there and share your time with those who need it. That’s the caring cure.” EverydayHealth.com
(less screen time, more REAL time)

It’s part of human nature to feel the impulse to ease the suffering of other living beings. When Eckhart Tolle woke up and realized that everything he had ever desired existed right here in the present moment. He suddenly knew he was valuable, worthy, and didn’t have to do anything to earn that grace. At some point, a pure impulse to share with others the bliss of what he was experiencing in the present moment motivated him to write The Power of Now, and A New Earth.

If we seem to be doing well, it is useful to extend our well-being to someone whom it may help, which enlarges our sense of well-being also. We work on letting go of our obsession by engaging in healthy activities for ourselves, AND getting out of ourselves to help someone else. This could be simply having a kind word for someone who is hurting. Always be aware of what you are bringing to any interaction. Do your best to make it positive and helpful, not about yourself.

We do not try to fix others, only they can do that. If we find we keep trying to judge and fix the world, we should recognize our behavior as harmful to ourselves and others. We can’t help
others when we are hurting and confused. Compassion can be gentle, or at times very difficult, direct and seemingly harsh. We need to learn to say no to our obsessions, and unhealthy requests or demands from others.

When we feel ourselves withdrawing we need to know it is a message that there is something we need to work with. Sometimes we need time to step back a little bit and work through a
difficulty. But we must always re-engage with others as a responsibility, and as a way to help ourselves heal. 

Relationships are challenging and complex. From friends, to partners and workplace relationships, we need to be patient, have compassion and be willing to not take things personally. However, there do need to be healthy boundaries. What is the line between being patient and enabling? There always needs to be a mutual respect and flexibility in any relationship. When a relationship seems one sided, when there is enabling, fear or a codependence involved, a good hard look is needed. Some relationships endure, and others end which makes room for newer more healthy relationships. We are responsible for our wellbeing, and to offer ourselves to others, as long as it is not diminishing us. It is a kindness to end a harmful relationship. Respect yourself, and the other, and always require respect, which you will receive in a good relationship.
Spiritually there is no difference between others and our self, both need equal care.

People who feel in control AND accepting of what happens in their lives and who have little need for approval from others are the most likely to help others. They have a positive view of people in general, they are concerned about others’ welfare and they take personal interest for how other people are doing. It’s difficult to lead a competitive, “individualistic life”- as we’re raised to do in American society, without devaluing others to some extent.

You have the right and responsibility to have happiness in your life, so you can extend it to others. As our closing dedication in the Heart of Recovery reflects, we aspire to become whole and healthy, and then, be of benefit to others.

Within the family of recovery that I am connected with, I will not act to degrade anyone else, but act to support them and thus myself. In recovery meetings I may be inspired to have a greater awareness of the importance of being kind and patient with others, sharing my difficulties and solutions since that is what we have specifically gathered for. I then begin to take my elevated state of awareness into all aspects of my life. I learn to be responsible for my actions and that I am responsible for at least not doing harm to others. If I truly wish to grow and flourish in life, I begin to actively be mindful of how I might be helpful. In recovery we learn to move from isolation and selfishness,- being aggressive or fearful,- into a more open and aware mindset of others and their struggles. We are able to see “them” as nothing different from ourselves and we wish to act to help alleviate the pain. We learn to act appropriately for the environment that we are in, and that we have an active role, a responsibility, in determining that it is a healthy environment.

The ordinary term of love is usually about attachment, more or less successful relationships and sex; all of which are rarely without self-interest. Love in Buddhism it refers to detachment and the unselfish interest in others’ welfare: Wanting others to be happy.

“If you light a lamp for someone else it will also brighten your path.”

Our ordinary nature is what suffers, and we can deal with this by being mindful. We can stop and take a breath, we unite mind and body. We can touch into the hardened or inflamed part, the
aggressive or fearful part that is suffering, with kindness and recognize that it is part of us that is causing suffering, We care about it and are ready to let it go, to transform it through our kindness to ourselves. Breathe into it, give it space, let it dissipate, and feel the and ability to expand your consciousness to others occur.

Then he asked for the grace to bring love, forgiveness — and joy to every human being he could. That he might be able to find some of these treasures too — he would try to do so by what he called self-forgetting. — He thought it better to give comfort than to receive it, better to understand than to be understood, better to forgive than to be forgiven. – – – St. Francis Prayer

You can only find your peace to the degree that you desire and work for bringing peace to others.

Always make an effort to be kind. Not manipulative, nor manipulated – Kind.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.