Many of us think they can help others. Can they really do it? One is helped if he is able to help himself; others can only contribute in the process that empowers him to help himself. When we think we can help others and decide to do it, we often disrupt and destabilize the processes that empower them to help themselves.
The pride we have in our ability and our actions guided by such pride that we perform with intentions of helping others destabilize the process through which one is helped. It is never the awareness in a teacher about his own knowledge that helps his students to gain knowledge. It is only the thirst of knowledge the teacher has that inspires his students to make efforts for gaining knowledge.
One’s pride needs constant nurturing. The one who is proud of his ability to help others, at best, succeeds in making all those he intends to help dependent on him. That is how he nurtures his pride, knowingly or unknowingly. It is a different matter that some are demonstrative about their pride and a few others relish the taste of pride alone.
It is not difficult to realize that pride and patience are arch enemies. It is a common knowledge that our abilities are limited. It is also a common knowledge that we do not always achieve what we want to achieve. We can learn, we can acquire abilities, we can try again and again after rectifying our mistakes; but we can never be sure of succeeding in all our efforts. If we link our success with our pride, we would always be running a risk of hurting our pride and would become impatient. Larger our pride is, more impatient would we be. Impatience spoils the best of the shows. The mischievous duo of pride and impatience definitely disrupts the process that helps one to improve upon his position.
We human beings can’t become ‘doers’. This realization helps us in getting rid of our pride. We must make tenacious efforts to acquire the quality of patience. We must genuinely wish others well. Thinking about the welfare of the others is critical to our efforts; self-centeredness is an open invitation to pride and impatience. This, no doubt, is a tall order, but that is something, we all can, perhaps, strive for. For, if we are able to achieve this, we will not become obstacles to one’s process of helping himself. We need not even think about the right action. Most people believe that only He (the God) is the ‘doer’. And this belief is more or less innocent as long as it does not dissuade us from doing our duty. If He wants, the right action may happen through us; but, only if we do not cause any hindrance to any process that elevates one.
We can’t help others; at best, we can help ourselves.
There is nothing philosophical, religious or spiritual behind this thought. It is only going deep into what is going on inside us and outside us with an enlarged vision. If we think in terms of a few months or a few years, or in terms of a few people we will arrive at erroneous conclusions. We have to think about the lifetimes of many to realize the poisonous character of pride and impatience. All the processes of learning, thinking, practicing what has been learned, reviewing and rectifying one’s mistakes etc., must go on. If they are forsaken, all the theories and practices regarding growth, action, ‘doer-ship’, pride and patience become meaningless.
All of us need help; hence we need to help ourselves.
PROMOD KUMAR SHARMA
[The writer of this blog is also the author of “Mahatma A Scientist of the Intuitively Obvious” and “In Search of Our Wonderful Words”.]