SRA & help versus change

Orange Tree foundation treeHelp? Who doesn’t need help? I am certain we all do! Not only do I believe we all need help, I also believe help will always be there for us one way or another when we need it. The world is full of it although we may not be aware of it nor recognize it when it presents itself. When is it that we are in need for help? Is it not when something is not working for us, when we are not capable of doing something or we do not know something? The moment we feel we need help is the moment we feel something needs to change. We experience a situation that we judge as a situation that requires action or change. The question now becomes ‘what needs to act or change ?’ and ‘what change or act could be defined as help?’ I believe our main problem is how to tell the difference between what is really help and what is really change. When we ask for help we usually ask for an outer change (outside of ourselves at the level of object) and not so much for an inner change (at the level of subject). Generally we consider a change of or through object to be help. This is however not realistic. It is not realistic for the simple reason that we never ever have any real control over an object. But we are capable of having control over ourselves being subject. Why? Because there is always the opportunity to change oneself. Now what does taking SRA mean regarding this difference between help and change? To recognize help is seeing the opportunity for a change of oneself. To change oneself is to take SRA.

Let’s go into this more deeply with the help of an example. Imagine you have a very dirty kitchen, you are not cleaning it up, you are not taking care of it and so you obviously need help. Now what kind of help do you need within the context of taking SRA? It is the kind of help that makes you see, that makes you consciously aware of the fact that your kitchen is dirty and needs to be cleaned. Help, you could say, functions as a ‘light’ in which you can recognize the problem, in this case the dirty kitchen. The kitchen is dirty because you did not take care of your kitchen. If you would have been fully aware of the dirt in the kitchen you would have taken care of it immediately. But it is clear you were not because your kitchen is still dirty. Now somebody needs to point out to you in a completely acceptable manner that your kitchen is dirty. This person addresses the problem in such a way that you become willing to open yourself and to look. This is what I would call help! It is help because the other is helping you to face the fact that your kitchen is dirty. The other helps you to become aware of this dirty kitchen. The other helps you to recognize the problem. But is this the kind of help that we would normally expect to get? Would we know or take this as help?

First of all it is important to understand that to be in a need for help means that we need to learn something. In this particular case we need to learn to really see that our kitchen is dirty. The moment we are consciously aware of the fact that our kitchen is dirty we are ready to act. As long as we are not ready to act I believe we are not really consciously aware of the fact that is demanding for our response. Yes of course we see a dirty kitchen but at the same time we also deny this and it is this denial that prevents us from acting. Because once we consciously see that the kitchen is dirty we will start to clean it up. This is change! The very act of cleaning up the kitchen is the act of changing oneself.

Just like all things in our daily life this metaphor of the dirty kitchen can be misleading and misunderstood. Our normal functioning mind is strongly focused upon the object and the outside world. In this specific case this mind will explain the need for help in terms of a need for others to help clean up the kitchen. It is of course totally ok for others to help us clean up the kitchen, please let us do so, but this is not the essence of the help that is discussed here with respect to taking SRA. The help that is discussed here is the kind of help that will result in a decision to change oneself. It is the inner action that counts! To think of help in terms of outer action would again be a form of conventional belief and to take SRA is to challenge conventional belief. Conventional belief is not realistic belief because it is always, being bound to convention, static. In this example the problem is not so much that the kitchen itself is dirty as the lack of conscious awareness of the fact that the kitchen is dirty. Help is that what helps us identify the problem, when we really see the problem the solution is within our reach.

But there are 2 sides of the coin, one side is the help of others and the other side is the change of oneself. When we are the ones helping, what is it that we do? Within our dominant object consciousness state of mind we first of all prefer to give an object kind of help, such as giving instructions or advice. We also primarily focus on some kind of outer action. In this case we would say perhaps: “a dirty kitchen is not healthy for you, you should clean up your kitchen”. Normally when we try to help someone we do not consider our act of help to be the means of how to change ourselves. Nor do we see clearly that our role is to offer a certain kind of help that feels safe and all right for the other to accept. We may say we want to help someone but in reality we may simply want to change that person. However to give help is always the way to change yourself. To help means to change yourself and to change yourself means to help others. To understand this is to take SRA!




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