I sometimes have myself totally convinced that I see a situation clearly and I act from there, only to find out I’d misperceived the entire thing and was totally and drastically wrong. This just happened when I thought my husband was at fault for the way he handled some of our business, only to have a little bell ring in my heart explaining my viewpoint had been too harsh and had caused him unnecessary anguish.
From these experiences I am learning to pause, connect inside with my Guru, listen, and proceed with her clear, gentle direction—especially when I “know” I am right. When another is in pain, this approach of communing inside with the Guru to know what to do or say—and what not to do or say—is a way out of a complicated, worrisome life. For just as Shri Guru Gita states in verse 40, “One who thinks he knows not, knows; one who thinks he knows, knows not.”
Oregon, United States
What is real help in the moment? As a child, and being female, I was taught help looks a certain way, goodness looks a certain way—and to jump in, to be a kind of life raft for others. Asking assistance for oneself wasn't encouraged in my family.
As a young person I was left to myself to figure things out. In some ways this was useful even though it could be confusing. It trained me to look for an overview, to think of consequences, to be strong. My learning since then has been about softening—and learning to ask for help.
All of this has been a gift from God. Now I understand that really seeing a person, allowing myself to be present to their pain, is support. Connecting to the other person is a healing act in itself, as is praying for them, because sometimes helping isn’t about taking physical action or overthinking the situation. It’s delicate. And it’s necessary to recognize we are each on our own journey.
New York, United States
My life changed dramatically from the moment I received shaktipat. Until then I had felt small, helpless, the victim, unworthy. I have always loved helping others. One reason was that helping others gave me a sense of my worth, which made me feel better about myself.
That mindset changed the moment I heard Gurumayi say in one of her talks, “Make yourself great and others even greater.” To me that was a clear command, supported by my Guru’s sankalpa and grace. I followed the Siddha Yoga teachings with even more gusto, and began to experience that I am not the little self I’d identified with previously. Instead I came to know that God and his power are within me.
I still loved helping people but from a different perspective. With God’s power within myself, I had indeed something to offer. I graduated as a psychotherapist at the age of sixty and helped people in this way for two decades until my recent retirement. How very blessed I am to have been granted the opportunity to continue to grow and support others in their growth, and to follow my Guru’s command.
Windsor, United Kingdom
In situations like the one Gurumayi describes in this excerpt, I do my best to listen with an open mind, to be compassionate, and to share what I understand in relation to the problem being shared. To the best of my ability I draw on the wisdom of my own experiences.
I am learning that it is good to be there for others and I get much from my ability to be able to support another person in distress. I’m also learning that when I’m not needed, or no longer needed, that means I have been given the grace to attend to my own needs, without hankering for ongoing communication, as everyone has their own busy life and family to care for.
I’m very grateful for having learned to be able to give without expectation, and I very much appreciate this reminder from Gurumayi.
My heart hurts when I witness suffering and misery. If I am in a position to offer constructive help without feeding into codependency, I absolutely do.
Empowering others to feel capable of moving through challenges and difficulties generates a feeling that I am doing something useful in the world. I experience this often in my roles as caregiver and teacher. Stepping forward to support others to grow and thrive, and then quietly slipping into the background again, is its own reward.
West Vancouver, Canada
When someone is feeling miserable, my natural instinct initially is to listen to them. Sometimes this is enough to make them feel better. When I extend a helping hand, I never expect anything in return. When natural or man-made disasters are reported in the news, my instinct is to send prayers and blessings, and to send funds to supporting charities. This way of being, I’m sure, will resonate with many good-hearted people.
Reading and contemplating Excerpt 14 from Gurumayi's book My Lord Loves a Pure Heart has made me realize that my actions of kindness and compassion are my connection to my heart and to the greater Heart that connects us all as one.
I am grateful to Gurumayi for showing me the peace, love, and joy in my heart that I can share with others.
Farnborough, United Kingdom
In contemplating this excerpt, I thought about what is helpful to me when I am in some difficulty. And I remembered Gurumayi’s teaching from her book Courage and Contentment that “whatever you are faced with is not stronger than you are. You are equal to each other.”
I saw that most of the time when I need help, it is because I think the problem is bigger than me and I can’t solve it. So “the helping hand” that is most valuable in such situations is when someone tells me something like this: “You can solve it. Have faith. It will all be good in the end.” That reassurance enables me to access my power again; then, by taking one step at a time, I start to solve the problem.