Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Helping is not helping

Osho, an enlightened person who continues to inspire Michel Szulc Krzyzanowski fruitfully, was a remarkable man in many ways. Although he never wrote a book, there are hundreds of books by him. These are transcriptions of talks he has been giving. Also his autobiography has been published which is a compilation of parts of his lectures where he has been speaking of his personal life.
(“Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic”, St. Martin’s Press, New York. ISBN 0-312-25457-1)
In this autobiography he tells a revealing story. He had a grandfather to who he was very attached. On a walk, when Osho was still a young child, his grandfather offered Osho to hold his hand. “Why”, asked Osho his grandfather, “do you want to hold my hand?” “It is to help you in case you fall. Stumble over a stone. Loose your balance. I can hold you so you will not hurt yourself ”, replied the kind grandfather.
“Please don’t hold my hand, grandfather”, said Osho. “Just let me fall down when I have to fall down. In this way I will learn to avoid falling down. If you hold my hand I will never learn to stay on my feet.”
This anecdote from Osho’s life is of course a metaphor and one, which goes very deep and far.

It makes people feel so good and self-satisfied when they help another person. But is in fact the benefit not for the person who helps only? To achieve the Good Samaritan feeling? And superiority?
Because helping another person is in many cases not helping at all and only satisfying the own desire for feeling good and better and upper-dog.
First of all, helping stops another person from learning. One needs to have specific experiences in life to eventually discover not to make them anymore. To help another person in a way that no specific experiences are had anymore, the person will not learn what was important to learn.
Secondly, to help persons and stopping them to have the necessary experiences in life, takes the person out of his/her karma. Stops the karma of being effective. And that is a grave thing to do.
It might make the person who helps feel great, but the one being helped pays the high price of loosing the reason for existence and not progressing.
Thirdly, it is extremely pretentious to believe that what works for you, works for others as well. That is a demonstration of self-centredness and disrespect for the other. Often helping has in reality as a purpose to boost the believe in the own formula of life.

In human relations it is a more advanced attitude to stand next to a person and be supportive without interfering, like Osho suggested to his grandfather. To let go of the own ego wishing to be satisfied by playing Mother Teresa. To simply BE there for the person and this in a non-judgemental and non-imperious way while the person goes through the specific experience.
This is not easy; especially in case there is love and affection between the protagonists.
It requires an inner balance, a harmony, humanism and an evaporated ego.
In psychotherapy this has been recognised by the psychologist Carl Rogers and his Humanistic Personality Theory. He developed this theory and based upon a psychotherapy where the psychotherapist doesn’t make any interpretations nor offers any explanations nor solutions. The therapist becomes a fellow traveller on the road where the person meets his or her specific experiences. Sharing but remaining neutral. Confirming the process of having specific experiences but leaving the person completely free, while making the person feel comfortable and confident. This to allow the person to practise freely his or her, what Carl Rogers calls “actualizing tendency”. Which are modern words for karma.

People who offer help should think twice and deep before to jump into action, and preferably study Osho and Rogers first.
They should self-analyse before anything why they want to offer help.
Which is very hard to do for them because when someone believes he/she can help, has the solution for another persons problems, this blinds.
The ego is in the driving seat and doesn’t want to abandon the occasion to be satisfied.
They also should face the question why they believe another person needs help.
Are the problems they imagine the other person to have not just their own projections?
Don’t they see problems in other people simply to fulfil their own desire for satisfaction through helping?

There can never be justification for the pretension to think one can help.
It is a dangerous illusion to believe to be free of problems oneself as bases for interfering into someone else’s life.


Osho’s grandfather was not only a wise man, but also able to set his ego aside. He understood that stopping Osho from having the experiences he needed in life was an ugly form of self-love. By being next to Osho and simply share, they both became beautiful people.

2 comments:

TiogaRV said...

Point accepted.

Anonymous said...

In general, i tend to agree. I believe in letting your child get burnt or hurt (lightly) to experience the pain first hand and learn from it. Just for the sake of the argument though, I think it all depends how you define 'help'...I'm thinking, sometimes just listening to someone's problems 'helps'. What about people who are ill and need medical help? Should we just leave them alone? Should we all turn into feelingless, unconcerned bastards? Is that what you're saying? I'm just wondering...

Warm regards,
The Devil's Advocate