By helping others you help yourself

"When you are good to others,

you are best to yourself."

- Ben Franklin

Why is the practice of helping others or volunteering your time beneficial?  You may hear such things as it will help your community, which it does, or I can help the less fortunate which it also accomplishes.  However, and this may be uncomfortable for some, the main reason to help others is that you are facilitating the greatest service to yourself.

I need to put the oxygen mask on first

When you travel on a commercial airline, you will always hear instructions to place the oxygen mask on yourself before your child in the event of an emergency.  There is a simple reason for that.  If you can’t function properly then how can you possibly help someone else be functional?  I need to help myself first to be of the greatest benefit to others.

 I don’t like that

A great truism I once heard, which originated from Confucius is.  If you see a quality or qualities in another person that you like, you should emulate them.  If you see something in another person that you don’t like, check yourself.  In almost every occasion if there is a person I didn't like or quality I see in another person that didn't appear appealing it was, upon further self-inspection, a quality within myself that is unpleasant.  When you open yourself to this possibility, you will see it as well.

The world is not as it is

You may have also heard the saying “The world is not as it is, the world is as I am.”  What exactly does that mean?  You live life from the inside-out.  All things originate from the mind.  It has the appearance of originating from the outside, but it does not.  We project on to the outside world the contents of our mind.  To understand this concept think of the current Presidential election.  Someone may see a quality within one of the candidates that they like.  Another person sees that same quality as bad or maybe even evil.  Take for example Donald Trump’s stance on immigration.  Some see it as a good thing; others see it as horrible.  Who is right?  You can get into ethical arguments but as far as the people who hold the opposite views are concerned there both right.  We project our thoughts, feelings, and emotions onto the world, not the other way around.

The challenge is detachment

The real challenge is helping others strictly for the sake of doing something friendly and helpful.  As opposed to doing it while seeking adulation and praise.  It is quite challenging to do something for someone without attachment.  It takes practice and effort to attain any level of detachment without finding a distraction to replace it.  How you can do that will be in a future blog.  I’m still learning and practicing myself.  We will learn together.

If you find this blog interesting and helpful, please feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues.

Until Next Week,
Rich Decker
Mindful Accord