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On Helping Others: A Musing on Possibilities

Updated on February 2, 2019
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

Essay writing in history, philosophy, and spirituality continues to be one of my favorite writing areas of interest.

Helping Others



Of course, we can all help others in practical, outward ways: parents helping children by providing them with food, clothing, and shelter; children helping parents by performing chores around the home; friends helping friends by creating pleasant, respectful relationships. And then there are the little things like helping someone carry groceries or offering advice on the best plumber in town.

But this musing is not about the little pleasantries and practical assistance that keep life well-oiled and running smoothly. This musing is about the possibility of offering some real assistance that might change a life from misdirection to direction, from sorrow to gladness, from misinformation to information.

Because it is merely a musing, it offers no guarantee that it can accomplish anything of substance. It may be taken with a grain of salt or not taken at all. I offer it with hope because that is what I do.

Do You Like to Help People?

You know, my own answer to that question is somewhat complex. I am a private person. Yet, I am a writer. Those two things might seem contradictory. Writers have to write about something and that equates to sharing information with others. A private person is loathe to do such sharing. A private person likes to keep to herself. But . . .

Doesn’t it depend on what you are sharing? And doesn’t it depend on how open you think you are? Although I consider myself a private person, I also consider myself quite open. I want people to know where I stand on issues. And I want people to know that I change my stance only when I have been shown conclusively that I was wrong.

So back to the issue of helping people. I do like to help people. But knowing when you are helpful and when you are not can be tricky. I truly believe that the only real way I can help others is to point them to the source from which I have been helped with every issue I have ever faced in life: the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda.

A Handup or a Handout

Oh, sure, I give a little money from time to time to charities, but a little money never actually helped anyone achieve anything of lasting value. I’m reminded of the adage: give a man a fish and you feed him for one day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. And that adage points to the unequivocal fact that what we do for ourselves is more efficacious than what others do for us.

A handup vs a handout . . . that’s essentially the difference between the two political parties of the United States: the Republicans and the Democrats. The Democrats have amassed a huge following promising to give various groups stuff. Therefore the Democrats have gone after groups that have historically been thought to be unable to compete in the world because of prejudice and unfair discrimination.

And even though the Republican Party was founded on the issue of abolishing slavery and giving the black folks a handup, the Democrats managed to co-opt that principle and turn it into the handout principle. After Barack Hussein Obama was elected president in 2008, Peggy Joseph effused, “I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car and paying my mortgage.” A typical reaction to the election of any Democrat since FDR, but unlike too many true believers, Peggy got over it!

Altruism is a Good Thing, However . . .

So back to helping people. Sounds like such a good, altruistic thing. Helping people. Don’t you picture Mother Teresa, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and all those other charities that do help people? And it could easily end there but for one thing: people are more than their bodies.

Mother Teresa helped people who were sick in body. The Red Cross appears at disasters like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes—all physical events that destroy property and injure the physical body.

How helpful is the Red Cross, et al, in helping people whose issue is a mental or spiritual one? And I would suggest that the mental and spiritual adversities far outnumber the physical.

Helping those with physical needs is important, but so is helping those with mental needs and spiritual needs. My guess is that if it could be calculated in terms of need, the numbers would stack up from lowest to highest: physical, mental, spiritual.

But because humans can see and hear the physical issues, they are most aware of them and know that they need to be addressed. But they cannot always see and hear the mental issues, so they are less likely to try to address them.

And forget about the spiritual: no one can see, hear, taste, touch, smell the soul. So quite a large number of folks would argue that no such entity exists. Much less that such an entity needs help. Most of the world’s population is unaware of two of the most important forces that work in the world: karma and reincarnation.

Karma and Reincarnation

Karma and reincarnation, in a nutshell: (1) Whatever happens in your life was set in motion by some action you took in the past. (2) Your soul never ceases to exist, and until it becomes once again aware of itself, it will continue to incarnate in a physical body: the sum of these two statements equals karma and reincarnation.

Until we have attained soul-awareness, we will continue to reincarnate on a physical, worldly sea buffeted by the winds of change or Maya delusion. Until each of us knows our own self as a soul who has a body and mind, we will remain under that delusion.

The Karmator

(Pronounced karm-uh-der or karm-uh-tor)

That’s ok. You see, the Karmator (my new word for God or Creator) knows. The Karmator is taking care of each of us even as we engage in our folly. Helpers helping. Writers writing. Readers reading. Healers healing. Politicians politicizing. Liars lying, etc.

Then there are those who have stayed with this piece to this point: How can I help you? Only one way— by letting you know that we must find our own soul. How can we do that? Start by reading Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi. If after the first few pages, you just don’t get it, well, that’s ok. Either keep reading or just go about your life as you were already going. Either way, you will eventually find your soul; we all will.

So just relax and know that you have not wasted your time. The Karmator will become clear to you eventually, one way or another. And eventually, you will remember that your soul is immortal, eternal, just like the Karmator.

Steve Job's Last Gift: Autobiography of a Yogi

© 2017 Linda Sue Grimes


Submit a Comment
  • Maya Shedd Temple profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Sue Grimes 

    9 months ago from U.S.A.

    Robert Levine, you make a good point; thus, I have revised to eliminate the offending term.

    Thanks for sharing your helpful thought.

  • Robert Levine profile image

    Robert Levine 

    9 months ago from Brookline, Massachusetts

    I wouldn't describe parents creating a nurturing home for their children as helping them "superficially."

  • Maya Shedd Temple profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Sue Grimes 

    21 months ago from U.S.A.

    Yes, Patsy. A good, altruist point. Yet, even with such an attitude, the helper cannot always know if his/her help was, in fact, helpful.

  • LadyPatsyFordjour profile image

    Patsy EwuraAbena Asantewaa Fordjour 

    21 months ago from Accra-Ghana,West Africa

    I suggest,we possibly help others without any returns


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