I came across your page a few months ago and had the compulsion/motivation today to ask you a question (reading your web page I hope this is the type of question you said you took).
For several years now I have been on what is referred to as a spiritual path - in my case trawling through psychology, self help, Buddhism, meditation etc. The past few years I feel there seems to have been an increase in my desire to help people which I find myself doing more and more of the time. The problem is that I find myself doing things that I would not do for myself (a simple example would be that I always avoid rush hour traffic yet I find myself giving someone a lift to somewhere in rush hour to help them out) or taking up time that I need for myself to get my own life in order. This often leads to resentment, de-motivation then depression (in which I stay away from people to avoid having to do things for them).
The highpoint in this was a relationship which terminated about a year ago in which, because I knew my partner suffered bouts of depression, I would constantly place her before myself; letting slide her constant manipulations of facts (I believe she actually didn't realise it), her blaming on me of her problems etc. I let it all slide because I believed it was important to help her through it. By the end of the relationship I felt like all the life was drained out of me and I felt worthless.
Luckily this whole experience lead to me the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and Barry Long and then to your website. I'm no longer depressed (I feel down some days but how many people don't?) and my motivation to rid myself of my destructive patterns is firm. So, could you please give me advice on what I should do in regards to helping people and stopping my resentment.
I appreciate you will do a lot for me answering that question but I have another which may be connected.
If I do something 'wrong' such as failing to watch my emotions and getting angry or saying the wrong thing after a few drinks (I'm not a big drinker but the less you drink the more it seems to affect you) I really beat myself up (or so I'm told by my spiritual friends) telling myself that I should know better and feeling that I'm not progressing spiritually as I should be. How can I stop this?
Thank you in advance for answering. I feel like an idiot (I think this is an example of question 2) for having to ask you for answers which I really should know.
You asked "So, could you please give me advice on what I should do in regards to helping people and stopping my resentment?"
yes, I can, but you may not like it...
Stop helping them!
I am going to be pretty direct now. No offence meant; I actually find it quite amusing as I used to try to help people all the time too. For me it was a lack of confidence and an insecurity leading to my wanting to be liked by everybody.
You are actually being selfish and dishonest, helping them because you feel a 'need' in you to help them and then resenting them for you doing what you chose or felt compelled to do. You need to learn (if I may say so) to be more honest and only help when it really feels right in you to do so; and when you do so because you know it feels right, there is no resentment or wanting anything in return as you know you are doing it for your own sake, simply because it feels right.
e.g. Why do I teach? Why have I set up a website and bother turning up at meeting halls and giving talks and replying to emails..? I do everything I do because there is a need in me to do it. I do not look to change or save anybody, though it is certainly nice when people show appreciation. I do everything for me. Even if I give some money to someone, I do it because it feels right for me to give them the money. Whether it is through a selfish need to buy their affection, or a lack of strength to tell them 'No' when they ask for something, or just simply it feels 'right' to help... whatever the reason you do anything for anyone, it is always for you; never for them. Do you get this?
Life is about you learning about you. One lesson is to be honest to what feels right inside, and not what your thinking mind tells you, or what you have been told by others or taught is right. If you feel inside and are aware when you do anything, you will know you are doing it consciously. If you do not help a person and you feel later you should have done, no problem, you have learnt from that. However, it is more likely, like me, you will get annoyed with yourself because you were not strong and honest enough to say No to their demands. The stronger you are (and more honest), the stronger you become.
Don't worry about being spiritual, just work on being conscious if you can and it feels right.
Keep well Chris. Let me know how it goes.
Nick Roach Teachings
Excuse the late reply. I thought it appropriate to let it sit with me for a few days so I could reply to you on experience rather than simply an intellectual understanding.
I'll try and describe as best I can what the result was but, as you will know, words rarely cut it. I also feel a bit self conscious about what I write as I guess there's some conditioning inside me that says that some of the things I'm experiencing would pass for madness.
When I first read your reply I was stunned. Your answer hit straight to where it should. I knew you were right, there was nothing to debate about it or excuses for not doing it. I felt something shift inside me and I felt a lightness descend as if something I did not see was restricting me and was now removed. I started to recall memories of times I'd helped people and I could recall how sometimes I felt a rending inside, something uncomfortable while other times there was flow, an easiness when I did it.
I guess this could be the indication of right and wrong. The realisations then went much further into the whole issue of who I think I am, what is conditioning and what is me. Recalling things I'd read but never understood on this subject except now I could see it clear and simple. This was all a bit of a rush - a bit like the twist in the movie Fight Club where you suddenly realise that your assumptions through the entire movie were wrong (what a way to describe something huh?).
The past few days could be described as light. There's a sense of ease about my actions - including helping people, or not. I don't feel pressure to act a certain way. I don't seem to be thinking of past or future (any more than necessary). Of course these are early days and no doubt something will change this but I understand this and accept it. The important thing is I do have something which is more than an intellectual understanding.
I hope I've explained myself adequately; this is a difficult subject. I really appreciate your help in pointing out something which from a certain point of view was blindingly obvious - like finding that the car keys you were looking for were in your hand!
Again, thanks very much!!