Which way did you come in?
Ok, I am saying that tongue-in-cheek of course. But it leads me into a discussion about helping and caring for others. And recently there have been a lot of intra-Family situations that have generated discussions about helping other Family members and what is best for them. For some Christian Family members, grace seems to be a God-given force that compels us to intercede when we deem it necessary for the others benefit. But from my Buddhist perspective, I first have to ask how one determines that someone else is on a bad path or making poor choices. I can easily recognize ego as becoming a driving force here, and allowing us to delusionally believe that we know best and are superior and righteous in some way. And in my practice, I am gradually learning to drop the ego. Not because Buddha said so, but because I become more and more aware that your thoughts, feelings and actions are not mine to control or judge. In fact, when being truly observant, I can often see that even my own mind is often thinking unskillfully and without acceptance and compassion to myself. And this is where I find that asking myself one very important question in these situations, allows me the space to love and accept myself and others. The question that I ask myself is always “is this mine?”. Meaning that I have to question whether this situation or person is mine to control. Do I have the right or possess the power to even do so.
When any of us have love for someone, I think it is only natural to want the very best for them and to help them if we can. For them to be healthy, safe and feel loved. But when we attach any desires or expectations to these thoughts of goodwill, we eliminate the true meaning of love. Genuine love, true love, is unconditional and unrequited. Love is not a negotiation or barter system, but a selfless offering that expects nothing in return. Not even the acknowledgment of the loving thought or action. But perhaps this is easily lost as we begin to fabricate our own stories that grow from fear, ego and desire. And the key word here is the word “but”. Just ask yourself as you start to justify these feelings if there are any “buts” in your thought process. It should jump out at you quite quickly as you think to yourself “but he said this”, or “she needs to understand my intention”. So many “buts” can easily take us soaring to new heights of upset, frustration and discouragement. We have now made something or someone “ours” because of the story we have created. Remember, it’s an undeniable fact that all “buts” stink!
I like the saying “let go, let God” because it makes it clear that things are not yours to control. And whether or not you believe in a supreme being or not, the truth of letting go remains solid. And if any of us wish to have peace in our own lives, we must first ask if something is ours. And being mindful of our own thoughts, words and actions is a full-time job when done properly. And it is by being mindful of ourselves that we can truly be more loving and accepting to our Family members. And isn’t unconditional love and acceptance, without judgement or expectation, something we all wish others to have for us? Then let it begin with me, that I have unconditional love for myself. And with that understanding and acceptance perhaps I can truly offer you the greatest gift.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.