Good Deed – Where to Draw the line!

In continuation with my previous blog entry, Good Deed, Bad Turn, where I discussed on the bad effect of a very good intent and deed. A crippled for life butterfly due to the seemingly very good intent – a pertinent question that could rise (and in fact posed by a friend) – profound and immensely thought provoking one.

The question in her own words… “What a wonderful story. But I have some questions relating to the application of the story in real life.

I put myself in the place of the man observing the cocoon. There are so many instances that I know I can help a person who really needs me and sometimes I get overboard in helping that person. How can one know how to draw the line ?”

This unexpected question on what I thought was a straightforward application to anyone’s life set me thinking. Reflecting it for a couple of days, I could arrive at some kind of answers – which was needed especially after I received a couple of reminders seeking it.

My reply – I prefer to make it conversational to capture the essence of the discussion.

Two aspects had to be understood in this context.  First up, the story was not meant to act as a guide to decision making. The author of the story (anonymous to me) I believe intended us to be aware that all help, however noble the intent is may not be really a help. In fact, the target of our seva may be better off had we not intervened like in the story.

Secondly, it  also highlights the fact that troubles or travails in life is not necessarily a negative thing, it helps us GROW and MOST IMPORTANTLY REALIZE OUR OWN CAPABILITIES, which is in fact infinite.

Look at the story from the Butterfly’s perspective – dont you think that if only the struggle was complete, wings would have developed totally and helped it to take flight. Coming to your question, I think (very very personal opinion here) the answer lies in changing our perspective from that of the person observing the cocoon to that of the butterfly emerging out of the cocoon.

Meaning try to get into the other persons shoes to decide the cut-off point. Have you also noticed that most of the times in life, we end up helping people whom we can or feel like helping (at our convenience and comfort) and not always the one who needs help.

It is our call that wins – this person needs help or that person needs help – a decision that we as doer take. Another example, earlier in my career – my job which involves lot of technical presentations – I used to prepare Powerpoint presentations as a training aid to myself as trainer. Whereas it should be done with audience in mind because the central figure and target of training is the audience not the trainer,

The same applies to seva or help that we do to others. Change the focus from us as helper to the recipient of our help. More often than not, we would find the solution in the process of switching perspective.

Once the perspective is changed, we will realize the extent and the very need of help anyone requires and we will not do or overdo things when not required.

Thanks my dear friend for this very thought provoking question, it made me think and find answers atleast for myself. The conclusions as always are open to debate and corrections!

What is in a name?

So great to be back to what I do the worst…. Blogging. There was no particular reason for not jotting down my silly thoughts but attribute it to plain laziness. Lest blogsite kick me out of the place for extended inactivity, decided to put down something. I have inserted a deliberate grammatical error through this blog for obvious reasons. My English teacher may not approve it but america has ceased to be a “Proper” noun for me.

It has been such a “happening” time across the world. Lehmann brothers started it all and everything was a big roller coaster ride, the only difference we only hit the troughs and crests never seem to come at all. World is in a financial mess…american economy has taken an almost “point of no return” beating, the stage managed wars notwithstanding. This just proves that relying on war to boost your financials make bad economic sense atleast in the long term. Then the americans thought they found their messaiah, a panacea for all the ills facing their society in the form of their president elect, barrack obama. But then there were some right wing members of a church who were not convinced that he is christian enough because he did not surrender himself a. la Cassius Clay – Check this out!!!( I am no big fan of anything american much less of obama. Did someone say, he used his perceived disadvantage to its hilt – I am Black, but then where else but in america can these things happen – on his first visit I am waiting for the time he gets introduced to our own Laloo, the sole moral guardian of the country. He, who was worried about Biharis in Mumbai while more Biharis were being raped, murdered and women paraded naked in Bihar itself. Since Railways was his inherited property, he had the temerity to threaten cancellation of trains to protect the Non-resident Biharis. By the way, he had a NAME makeover from Lalu to Laloo to bring him even better luck.

But then the bane of the modern world is the “NAME” – calling that people indulge in. NAME of Philosophy, NAME of people, NAME of civilization, NAME of religion, NAME of God – any NAME is enough to cause the next “yet to be NAMEd” world war. In the part of the world that I live in “Secularism” is another NAME used to divide the great Nation called India (Great despite the recession in the world – hey! we lost the least number of jobs, never saw any person shooting themselves or others due to depression). And this despite the doomsday predictions of hackneyed Media (proves who are their real masters, they just extrapolate their news theory from their western masters to India which proved everyone wrong).

Isn’t NAME important? I cannot imagine myself being known by another NAME – I am sure I would become less lovable or adorable to myself. Like the learned Bard said, “Rose by any other NAME would just smell as sweet” – Pardon him, the “NAMERS” of thw world for he had not seen the genetically modified roses. The real trigger was a mail from my friend call him “X” for want of easy to remember NAME, in the Gulf who recently was being troubled by his friend, let us NAME him, “Y” who embraced another religion (yeah, another NAME, little realizing that NAME of the religion does not matter, every religion says the same stuff). But then!!! this friend retained his original NAME despite the conversion. NAME is important…eh (heights of possessiveness, just like me ) Out of desperation, “X” sought advise on another forum asking the members to help him counter “Y”. Here was my reply (of course, cannot be attributed as original work to my NAME – but then NAME does not matter and the stuff matters, isnt it? especially when it comes to me). Copyright: No one dare copy this without my express permission Signed under my NAME (though it is not my original)

On a serious note, I love and thank my friend NAME: Charles Gibson from Spain for this post: thanks Charlie (sorry for changing the NAME)

Three men, one English, one Arab and one Indian were walking together and came to a pool of water. The Englishman said ‘lets drink some water’. Then the Arab said ‘That is not water, it is الماء. Lets drink some الماء.’ Then the Indian said ‘Nonsense, its jala. Lets drink some jala.’ So the argument began and all went thirsty.

We are fools to argue over NAMES while we go thirsty. The important thing is to drink the water. What it is called or the path we take to reach the spring are irrelevant. What is important is the essence of the meaning of each NAME, the objective of each path. In human life the essence of all paths is eventually to arrive at the Truth, to realise the Self. Even if this search for God is unconscious in some and conscious in others, it is going on in all none the less.

We argue over and place one term or philosophy over another, because we are still attached to NAMES and forms. The essence is beyond this, so each NAME, each form, each philosophy, each religion has its rightful place. For one man, who approaches with rational knowledge, some philosophies might be considered as a higher truth and others as a lower truth. To another, who measures by love or feeling, this might be reversed. This is useful for each man to find his best way to prepare to realise the Self. However if this relative distinction of higher and lower truth for each man is mistaken for an absolute truth, again we are plunged into ignorance.

One man might read nondual philosophy and have no understanding of it, then he might go to the temple and realise the Self, after devoting himself to a deity. Another man might feel nothing in the temple and through sheer depth of knowledge prepare himself to realise the Self. Each man, if he has realized the Self, will not then turn to the other and argue. He will rather have sated his thirst for God.

So, we can recognize in this way, that any apparent conflict of philosophy or opinion is only our own ignorance. A man who knows the Self sees no conflict. Go to that place, don’t tarry on the path and throw stones at your fellow travelers. We are that which is infinite, perfect and completely one.

Lovely, wasn’t it?
Well until I find time and mood (and a NAME) for my next blog… Ciao