Giving and Taking Help

After a morning of crying, I went to breakfast in the cafeteria with the usual group. Somehow the conversation lead into what I had been working through. I admitted to the group that I had trouble accepting help and I didn’t know why. In Nepal, I ran out of Nepali rupees and I didn’t want to withdrawal more because an ATM charges 500 rupees and I was about to leave to go to India. It didn’t make sense to pay 500 rupees to pull out only a 1000 rupees. Of course, the Buddhist community all jumped to help. Everyone wanted to give me money or pay for my food, but I didn’t accept help from anyone. I made the 150 rupees cover all of the cost of food I ate for the next couple of days. I’m not sure why I did this. Naturally, I didn’t want to feel in debt to anyone, but also I felt like because I could make in on my own then I shouldn’t bother others to help me. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be treated kindly by others that that is something you earn. I realize now my perception of needing help is that of a burden on the community. Like, how some people look at homeless people. They see them as only taking, but not giving back to the community.

I find I often think with homeless people that I feel bad for them and want them to have everything they need, but don’t often think in terms of rehabilitating them back into the community. When I see a homeless person, I consider whether or not I should give money, but I never actually think or believe that I can actually help that person re-enter society. I only think of generosity in terms of giving money. What if the homeless person just needed to get a job, but couldn’t get one without taking a shower. I could offer a shower in my home, or a nice hair cut a barber. I used to stop to talk to homeless people as a young adult, but I never really thought about how could I give them any lasting change in his or her life. I guess I don’t see myself as capable of helping others in that way, but I never tried either.

The young man I have developed an attachment to pointed out that if I don’t accept help from others than they can’t have the opportunity to help others. A couple of other people at Kopan pointed that out as well. I am blocking people’s opportunity to practice Dharma by feeling like I am not worth helping. Maybe, I will try asking him for a message. I gave him one a couple of weeks ago. Between meditating for long sessions, sleeping on shitty beds, and long bus rides there is a lot of opportunity for your body to go stiff. I had been using the logic that since I am able to cope without help from others that I shouldn’t ask for help. That I should only ask if I absolutely run out of options. I think I will try asking for help in little ways thinking that it would benefit both of us and just see what happens. I can’t remember clearly any time I asked for help from somebody for something small, so I honestly can’t say what will happen.

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