Extend a helping hand

imageWe often extend a helping hand. We want to support someone when we feel they are stuck, confused or going along towards a dead end. We feel that there is a way we can say or do something to help them make progress. Extending a helping hand though can be an interesting spiritual challenge.

First there is the decision how to offer help. What words do we use to show we care & are available to give support? Often we may feel that we can see through the fog someone finds themselves in better than they can. We want to bring clarity to their situation. Yet is that really the case? It can be very easy to identify what we think the problem is, to offer what we think the solution is and to get it completely wrong. Does that mean we say nothing? I have certainly had to choose to say nothing. When there were outcomes of offering help that risked the relationship between me and the other person I chose to support the relationship rather than the current issue. Even if it meant the other person had to struggle harder with something.

Or when the support is accepted again and again but the other person doesn’t seem to get out of being stuck. As a Reiki practitioner I was fascinated by the choice made by Dr Usui, the founder of modern day Reiki, to stop healing wholesale the beggars & poor people of Kyoto because he noticed that they didn’t manage to change their lives in positive ways. In fact it appeared that some preferred to return to ill health as they visited him again and again. Sometimes help can become a form of hand out. The person struggling with their problems accepts the temporary relief from those issues but returns to a place of stuckness. If we follow with Dr Usui he suggestes that people like this have not recognised the spiritual aspect to their problems. If I continue to extend a helping hand in those circumstances I am becoming an enabler. I am enabling that person to stay stuck by providing temporary relief from the challenges they choose for themselves.

Are there limits to the number of times we extend a helping hand then? I would say that there have to be. To make spiritual progress we have to make an inner journey. We have to address why we limit ourselves, our relationships, our happiness and joy. I willingly give my time and energy to help people yet I often come up against a sticking point where what I say or do isn’t what the person wants, expects or needs. It seems we are also very clear about the kind of help we expect to get. So what is given is ignored or dismissed. Helping is only progress if it’s a hand up. When someone accepts what you can give rather than expects what you can’t. When they can use what you offer to assist in that inner journey as well as in outwardly practical ways. I love to give hand ups. Then I know that my time & energy are more likely to do good than harm. So I look for the signs that someone is trying their actual best to help themselves too. If I don’t see that I regretfully stop helping. There is no point to spending energy on someone who wants to stay stuck. After all the are lots of other people who I can help because they want to do the inner work.

Finally, I believe many of us struggle to ask for help. It’s part of the conditioning we have experienced but it is a real limitation to a positive flow of energy through our lives. We believe we have to solve every issue by ourselves because we have mostly become a society of individuals! What extending a helping hand can do is allow each of us to offer and accept support of some kind. Accepting is the biggest barrier we have to overcome. We can choose to let someone experience the joy of giving, or even learn how to give, if we are prepared to ask for and accept whatever is given. So ask for help every time you need it or accept it when it’s offered. Ignore the words that are used, accept that the person offering probably doesn’t get the whole of the issues facing you and let them make a difference for you. That difference could be a cup of tea, a listening ear, a gift of food or money or help in filling out forms. Whatever it is, you are making spiritual progress. You are choosing to be part of a community and showing that a hand up is always appreciated. Then help your own circle of people by showing how accepting a helping hand means spiritual progress for everyone.

Day 126 of my blogging challenge. 

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