'Reflections on Compassionate Action' is not the kind of title
for a talk that I am going to rush to. Added to this, if I learn
that the speaker is into 'spiritual stuff' I rush the other way
usually. And yet, here I am posting to newsgroups hoping people
Most social orgs. portray things in Black & White. They give themselves
good reviews in their newsletters. They helped do this and got that
started and are working on new ideas to help this other thing.
But in reality, nothing is so clear cut. Do the people we try to help
want to be helped? Are we pushing our view of things on others? If we
tell the whole truth will even these meagre donations and help stop?
What seemed right seems wrong if looked from another viewpoint.
A huge world of grey out there.
RAM DASS seems quite comfortable with the world of grey that's out there. He
seems to enjoy exploring the things normally pushed under the carpet.
Without further ado here are some excerpts from his book `how can I help?'
Sometimes I help, and sometimes I don't.
I hold the door open for one behind me, or I rush through preoccupied
in thought. I vote, but not always. When solicitations come through the mail,
some catch my eye or heart and I send at least something. Others I basket as
junk mail. A friend is having a hard time. I think I should phone to see how
she is, but I just don't feel like it tonight.
I'd do anything to help the family. But how much is enough? When to
stretch a little further? Whose needs come first?
Those close to me get an immediate hearing. The suffering of people
more remote gets sporadic attention. I'm only vaguely aware of it. It's
out there somewhere.
Whom should I help anyway? Senior citizens, battered children, human
rights victims, whales? Well, if I don't defuse the nuclear threat, there'll
be no tomorrow. But if we don't support education and the arts, what kind of
tomorrow will it be?
Over Gandhi's tomb are inscribed words that say: Think of the poorest
person you have ever seen and ask if your next act will be of any use
to him. That'll flash through my mind as I prepare to throw a Frisbee.
And when I spend fifteen bucks dining out and going to a movie to ward
off boredom, I might recall that a fifteen-dollar operation could restore
someone's sight in a third-world country. I'm moved by the power of
Gandhi's invitation, ``Live simply that others may simply live.'' But
I'm not at all clear about how to heed that, day in day out, here in
the affluent West. Sometimes I feel a little guilty.
How can I keep my heart open and not go under? I've got my own
life to live, after all. Still, I'd like to do more for others. What
do I have to offer, and what will help most? Complicated business, all this.
Look, you do the best you can....
Free talk by Ram dass at 7 pm on Monday,oct 24th.
Venue: Knox hall, Univ at buffalo, Amherst campus
What kind of victory is it when someone is left defeated? -Ram Dass
email@example.com If it is to be, it is up to me