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Sun./Mon., February 2-3, 2002

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  • Jerry Katz
    ED ARRONS Serving, helping, and fixing Rachel Remen, who runs the Commonweal Cancer Centre in California, speaks very beautifully about this. She says:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2002

      Serving, helping, and fixing

      Rachel Remen, who runs the Commonweal Cancer Centre in
      California, speaks very beautifully about this. She says:

      "service is not the same as helping. Helping is based on
      inequality, it's not a relationship between equals. When
      you help, you use your own strength to help someone with
      less strength. It's a one up, one down relationship, and
      people feel this inequality. When we help, we may
      inadvertently take away more than we give, diminishing the
      person's sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Now, when I
      help I am very aware of my own strength, but we don't serve
      with our strength, we serve with ourselves. We draw from
      all our experiences: our wounds serve, our limitations
      serve, even our darkness serves. The wholeness in us serves
      the wholeness in the other, and the wholeness in life.
      Helping incurs debt: when you help someone, they owe you.
      But service is mutual. When I help I have a feeling of
      satisfaction, but when I serve I have a feeling of
      gratitude. Serving is also different to fixing. We fix
      broken pipes, we don't fix people. When I set about fixing
      another person, it's because I see them as broken. Fixing
      is a form of judgment that separates us from one another;
      it creates a distance.

      "So, fundamentally, helping, fixing and serving are ways of
      seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak; when you
      fix, you see life as broken; and when you serve, you see
      life as whole. When we serve in this way, we understand
      that this person's suffering is also my suffering, that
      their joy is also my joy and then the impulse to serve
      arises naturally - our natural wisdom and compassion
      presents itself quite simply. A server knows that they're
      being used and has the willingness to be used in the
      service of something greater. We may help or fix many
      things in our lives, but when we serve, we are always in
      the service of wholeness."

      Caring for those who are suffering, whether or not they are
      dying, wakes us up. It opens up our hearts and our minds.
      It opens us up to the experience of this wholeness that I
      speak of. More often than not, though, we are caught in the
      habitual roles and ideas that keep us separate from each
      other. Lost in some reactive mind state, busy trying to
      protect our selfimage, we cut ourselves off and isolate
      ourselves from that which would really serve and inform our
      work. To be people who heal we have to be willing to bring
      our passion to the bedside; our own wounds, our fear, our
      full selves. Yes, it is the exploration of our own
      suffering that forms a bridge to the person, we're serving.

      ....If we're not willing to explore our own suffering,
      then we will only be guessing as we try to understand our
      patients. It is the exploration of our own suffering that
      allows us to serve others. This is what allows us to touch
      another person's pain with compassion instead of fear and
      pity. And we have to be willing to listen, not only to the
      patient but to ourselves.....


      In self-inquiry most of us may glide over the issue of
      self-worth for different reasons. Those who may have had a
      problem with it may have built up a self-approved image of
      self-worth which they will adhere to despite outside
      criticism. Some will make an extra effort obtaining
      recognition to maintain their sense of self-worth. Some
      will slide over it, consistently reassured by their easily
      gained approval, so that it seems beyond question.

      Ultimately, it can be said, that everyone, everything is
      worthy and beyond comparison. But the issue of self-worth
      lingers steadfastly with every human being to be challenged
      by the sudden twists and turns of daily living.
      Unexpectedly we can be drawn into the drama of life, acting
      in ways that bring our sense of self-worth into question.
      Angels, we are not. Speaking for mySELF, of course. :-)


      Many are drawn to spirituality as a way to develop a sense
      of self-worth. I know I was.

      Instead of getting my self worth from it, it pushed me into
      self degradation. I came to lose every bit of self worth in
      my mind's obsession with my faults, foibles and

      However, this was the blessing of my life. As I had nothing
      to hold on to that was valuable as a self image it lost
      much of its power over identity in my life.

      True self worth comes from knowing who you really are. All
      other self worth is really just the other side of self
      degradation. To have self worth entails being a self
      instead of the Self, and to have self hatred entails
      exactly the same thing.

      It's not wrong to have self worth but it's not very helpful
      to hold on to it.


      Thanks for adding your thoughts to this subject, Jody. Im
      participating with a local group exploring the significance
      of self worth to the experience of self-realization and
      peer communication. Actually the issue of self worth seems
      more applicable in face-to-face dialog than online for a
      variety of reasons. But I was interested in the thoughts of
      list members on this topic.

      Self worth, as seen now, covered a variety of reasons for
      my moving from a problematic, conventional life style to
      one offering greater freedom. Spontaneity, creativity, and
      flexibility are some of those reasons. I might add feeling
      inner harmony or just feeling warm and more open to others.
      I didnt see spirituality as a goal in those days and
      still dont care for the term, although I use it online
      from time to time.

      I cant say my practice lowered my sense of self worth; it
      was always the attachments to the old ways that brought me
      down. While some of those attachments have been released,
      there is still residue. So the term self worth is still
      useful in understanding my self. It also resonates with
      Maslows hierarchy of needs in being the platform for
      reaching self-realization.

      Though I dont consider a downside feeling of self worth a
      blessing or a curse, neither is the upside. Somewhere in
      between is a place I visit more and more where no
      judgment arises.



      To become Brahman means to be completely engaged in
      rendering devotional service to the Lord. Thus the mahatma
      understands that if service is to be rendered, it is to be
      to Krsna and no one else. We have so long served our
      senses; now we should serve Krsna.

      The blossom of inner enthusiasm expressed outwardly in
      service can be liberating... but the type of service
      prescribed by authority (religious, cultural, political,
      ideological etc...) benefits authority while enslaving the
      naive follower.

      It would be most unfortunate for the institutions & gurus
      to direct followers to this secret of selfless service
      inspired by inner enthusiasm (or other equally valid
      approaches). The newly self sufficient followers would be
      given a short cut to the source, but, alas, the
      institutions would see a decline in the availability of
      slave labor, probably see financial donations plummet, and
      perhaps that most virulent commodity, the malignant
      superiority of a single creed, might gradually deteriorate,
      yielding to... the genuine appreciation of diversity.



      Thought you would all like to know that tomorrow, 3 Feb, is
      the first day of the much celebrated doughnut week here in
      the UK.

      Much indulging of the Great Doughnut will be taking place.
      There will be jammy chins on every street corner.

      Unfortunately though participation is open only to those
      who can recite correctly the true spelling of 'Doughnut'.
      Any distortion of the True Doughnut will bring about
      charges of heresy and much burning at the stake. And ANYONE
      over the age of 5 found with sprinkles on their doughnut
      will be shot on sight. Sorry. (Its not a very English thing
      to do.)

      Anyway there's gonna be a lot of Doughnut celebrating going
      down over here, pity you all seem to be across the pond and
      will miss out on the fun. :-)


      As you travel on through life brother

      Whatever be your goal,

      Keep your eye upon the doughnut

      And not upon the hole!

      Painted on the wall of the Mayflower Coffee Shoppe
      Portland, Maine..

      I believe this a Bhakti path message...



      Reaching out to you
      In this eternal Now

      In this infinite everywhere

      There is no time

      No special you or I

      Nor a message other than this smile...




      If you believe in non-duality then, ultimately it matters
      not if one is enlightened or not.

      Which means the value of enlightenment is only while we are
      in this world. And even that, it is a matter of our eyes
      being opened to what we already are.

      So my question is regarding people who are believed to be
      enlightened yet their egos are unchanged. They are crass,
      ill-mannered, and cannot control their urges. So what use
      is this enlightenment? And in this case what is
      enlightenment? Or are their different degrees or variations
      of enlightenment?

      I am bringing this up because of discussions on NDS
      regarding a certain lady who is supposed to be enlightened
      but still is a real pain in the butt. If your personality
      or character does not change for the better than who gets
      enlightened? If emotions still control you than are you
      enlightened? Isn't an enlightened person supposed to be
      above all that?

      Taking the simple definition of a person who is enlightened
      to be someone who is always in the now. Even then this
      person should not be able to remember annoyances that have
      already taken place and then retaliate in kind! Someone who
      knows their 'true nature' cannot be annoyed by small
      things? Can such a person indulge in nit-picking and
      splitting of hairs?

      And what about unconditional Love? Is that a myth? Is it
      separate from enlightenment?

      If a simple mystical experience can completely transform a
      person than why shouldn't a full blown enlightenment? If a
      simple mystical experience can bring a state where the only
      emotion felt is that of total unconditional love ... even
      though temporary, for a few weeks [in my case] ... Which
      state was that?

      (EDITOR'S NOTE: There were several lenghty replies to this
      post, which have not been included.)



      appearance vs. reality:


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