Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Helping Oneself, by Jose Serrati

Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche Students
Reflections by Jose Serrati from Paraguay
As I started to volunteer in the community of Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoches students, I was confronted quickly with a dilemma: volunteering ones time to other people does not often take the form or shape one would like. I observed that some people, after offering their time, will agree very willingly when asked for help, while others experience a negative reaction due to a concept they bring from their own culture that personal freedom is to do only what they want, when they want it. If they accept, it is only to maintain a sense of politeness, but inwardly a conflict is created in their minds.

In my personal case, l find it very easy to accept isolated, polite requests of help, as in Paraguay, people are normally forced to do things by other people, authorities or acts of God. My challenge is to commit to helping with repetitive tasks. When confronted repeatedly with the same task, l experience the conflict mentioned before.

As I still believe in the value of helping others, I have a choice either to refuse and move on, or to try and step out of my idea of personal freedom to accept the task. This type of help requires me to open my mind and deepen my patience, and over time, I have managed to build up a little bit of these virtues because of that persistent endurance.

Only after trying not to cling to my own idea of how to help someone did l finally understand the deeper meaning of the word. The help in itself matters, but achieving this endurance is a big bonus. Even a small amount of it makes a big difference in life.

This makes sense if one observes Rinpoche. He has built a real endurance, so he can help an amazing amount of people by offering his time and assistance in whatever way they need, every day. He once said something which I think sums it up, If you are overly attached to any one idea, it means that you havent truly mastered what you learned, and you lack conviction - thats the only reason you will fear being swayed or influenced.

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