He was an old man. Perhaps in eighties. Appeared well but somewhat fragile. He wanted to cross the road. The traffic appeared incessant. I instantly, offered help. He looked back and smiled while declining the offer with a wave of hand and muttered, I have done this all my life.
I waited and saw him crossing the road. Actually he was assessing the traffic for selecting right time to cross the road, with the speed of his walk. He managed it gracefully.
I was wondering why I offered to help. Why so quickly. How rude it had been, declaring him unfit to take care of himself. What was my motive. Was it truly a compassionate act? Was it one of those automatic responses that the mind generates without, we knowing about it?
It appears to me that, often offer for help is an attempt of mind to reaffirm itself. An act to proclaim the self. Expanding the self with a so-called ‘selfless’ act. Like most charitable endowments. The gesture which does not involve money may be most subtle yet at core it remains the same. Help thus becomes a mind game of self-deception for domination, however pious or noble it may appear. Helping when asked is a different matter. But such activity of offering help is only a wandering of mind.
Very thoughtful and insightful. It makes me think of the “getting saved” culture in which I was raised. I see now that so often the emphasis on “winning souls to Jesus” was just to make make myself feel better, simple utilization of a cultural contrivance designed to make myself feel better about myself.
My dear friend, ‘we think’ that is our problem. But is it really a problem or responsibility, that is the question. Thanks for looking into it. I try but I am not always successful. You please do. Let me know all the time.
An afterthought…I often err by trying to be perfect. Our motivations are never perfect and “random acts of kindness” are often not so random, perhaps even perfunctory. I know that is contradictory…but then I am filled with contradiction! Alas and alack!
Actually it won’t be contradictory if we stop calling ‘our’. Mind is too independent a player than we give credit to it.
If there are thoughts, there are also layers to which thoughts cling. All layers not visible at all times but it would.