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Ramon Thomas

Managing Director, NETucation

TEDCRED 50+

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What are the alternatives to helping other people?

In my quest for success I've studied self help, psychology and biographies of people who have achieved great things. I recently asked a disabled friend this question and I was not totally satisfied with her answer. She spends most of her time raising funds for charities online.

I am not satisfied with my progress for various reasons. Given that most of the advice I've received is help others to be successful or helping others will make you happy.

My question to you is this: how else can I live my life and achieve some of my personal goals (increase my income, improve my relationship with my family, have a good romantic relationship with a woman, etc) without focusing on "helping others" mantra?

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    Apr 8 2014: Being of service to others is a high ideal and a pretty universal practice in all religions and spiritual paths as well as the path of humanism.

    Being of service to others is a manifestation of Love. And here I mean what people usually call "unconditional love" which is the only real love there is; anything else is more akin to a business deal involving giving some love in exchange for something else.

    Love is what draws us together and unites us. Love is the only 'thing' we can give away and never 'run out' because the more we give, the more we get.

    This is because we're really all in this life together; we are all intimately and inextricably interconnected and interdependent. And because of this, when we treat another well, when we serve another, when we give Love to another, we are also doing well for our self. So, a focus on "helping others" is ultimately a focus on also helping our self. This is simply a basic truth of the Universe known as the Law of Reciprocity or the Golden Rule.

    And there are countless ways of helping or being of service or being loving to others - our family, our romantic partners, our co-workers, everyone we encounter in life. Treating others with respect is one of the best ways to demonstrate your love. Offering a smile, a wave, a hug, a helping hand are all demonstrations of love. So are giving money or things, although these options are often done in ways that demonstrate pity or scorn, or they are used as substitutes in place of actually being loving, so one needs to be careful how this is done. It's about attitude and the feeling in your heart, and it's more about giving your self rather than giving things.

    Yet giving love is not giving from yourself because you are not the source of Love. It's more helpful to think of Love flowing freely through the Universe and through you, like light streaming through a lens, and you can direct and focus that flow towards others who need to feel it. Go with the flow. Be loving. Be of service.
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      Apr 8 2014: Thanks for the detailed reply Carl. I will re-read your comment a few times because I see depth in it.
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        Apr 8 2014: Ramon, I'll add a few more comments to what I wrote about "countless ways of helping or being of service or being loving to others" for you to contemplate.

        Someone once wrote that "The greatest gift you can gift another is the purity of your attention."

        I find this to be very true. Attending to someone means more than just seeing them, hearing them, helping them with some task. It means really being present with them. It means seeing with validation and acceptance, hearing with understanding, helping with compassion. To do this with "purity" means without one's ego getting in the way and complicating the situation with expectations of thanks or reward, but instead truly giving, without any expectations, without any attachments.

        Also, helping someone is only appropriate if they are open to receiving help from you. If you help when they have not requested help, and especially if they have said no, then anything you do is being imposed on them; done *to* them rather than *for* them. In such situations, your intended "help" may do more harm than good and may result in sadness, resentment, fear, anger or hatred.

        And a request for or granting of permission is not always just in the words. For example, intonation or body language may say the opposite of what words alone are communicating. Being of service to others requires a sensitivity to needs or desires on their part. Often one needs to be able to "feel" what is "right" or "best" for the moment. This "feeling" is an intuitive heart quality. In some situations, communication and understanding will be very clear and direct. In others, things can get very complicated. Learn to listen past the words and into the heart to determine a right course of action.
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      Apr 8 2014: .
      Yes.
      Love is symbiosis.
      Symbiosis let us survive.
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        Apr 8 2014: I like that, except I would turn it around:
        Symbiosis is Love.

        Meaning that symbiosis is an example of, or one manifestation of Love.

        So, if one were to draw a Venn diagram, Love would be a huge, all-inclusive circle, and symbiosis would be one of many smaller circles within the realm of Love.
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        Apr 8 2014: Esteban, I have to ask you to please not simply say "there are other 'things' beings can give away and never 'run out' because the more one gives, the more one gets" without providing any examples. Please give us a list of other such 'things' so we can consider them.

        Regarding your "refinement of the golden rule" as the "diamond rule," I don't quite buy it. How is it that each "ought" to be treated? Does treatment depend upon behavior, possessions, money, status, race, gender identification, religion, or something else? If so, the "gold" and the "diamond" become greatly diminished in value, such that they might perhaps be replaced by lead or rust.

        Also, the Law of Reciprocity has long been stated in a wide variety of ways with essentially similar meanings as noted here:
        https://www.scarboromissions.ca/Golden_rule/sacred_texts_en.php

        Statements of the "Golden Rule" are based in an awareness that we are all in this together, we are all one, we *ought* to treat another as we ourselves wish to be treated.
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        Apr 8 2014: Esteban,

        I'm sorry, but your recent comments about how we should "treat each as each ought to be treated" hasn't shed any further light on your diamond rule for me. Your explanation basically repeats the same thing over and over, sometimes in different ways but still essentially the same, so it seems like a dog chasing its tail ... and getting no where.

        As for your claim that "there are other 'things' ..." I'm going to have to just ignore that until such time when you might feel inclined to share some specific examples. Until then, I'll assume my statement stands. I will, however, note that it's not really *my* statement; I'm simply passing it on from countless other people, including many highly regarded teachers.
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        Apr 9 2014: Esteban,

        "Treat each one the right way" - for me this means treat each one as I wish to be treated. Otherwise *someone* needs to determine what is *right* as opposed to what is *wrong*. Who is going to do that? Oh, I'm supposed to be *taught* what is *right*? Who is going to teach me? Is the teacher going to determine what is *right*? How can anyone be *taught* the right treatment of another for every possible instance of what is, for all practical purposes, an infinite number of situations? This is absurd.

        The only reasonable and practical approach is to learn to recognize in one's heart how one would like to be treated in any particular situation and then apply that guidance in one's treatment of another. That is what Christ did and would do. And that is what "God" does, through each of God's representatives here on Earth - namely each of us.

        I may have learned the statement from others, but I am definitely not appealing to authority when sharing it here. The reason I mentioned that others have used it was to indicate that it is a very widely held and accepted view. I offered the statement here because I have realized the truth of the statement for myself based on six decades of life experience.
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        Apr 9 2014: Esteban,

        I understand how your diamond rule works - for you. It doesn't work for me. When you reject treating another as you would like to be treated yourself, and instead chose the option of needing to be taught - told - what is *right* to do, you give up self-determination, freedom and power and hand yourself over to some authority figure who decides and dictates what is *right*. I find that unacceptable. Why should you, I or anyone submit to some authority in this way? Behavior that is imposed by one upon another never really works, even though it may appear to be working. Beyond the vision and reach of the authority figure, it will not be followed.

        Right action, right behavior must be moral action or behavior. Morals cannot be imposed upon anyone. True morals arise as manifestations of Love flowing through the Heart in response to circumstances and situations. It is this flow of Love that connects all beings, and that informs and guides one who knows how to listen to the voice of the Heart as to what constitutes appropriate action or behavior in any particular situation.

        If you need an authority figure, this is actually the Ultimate Authority. The flow of Love is from God through each and every being. Thus, it is God who is directly inspiring, informing and guiding the actions and behaviors of anyone who listens to the voice of the Heart. The behavior manifested, the action taken, is a manifestation of Love through a representative of God. This direct transmission from God is also all-empowering.
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        Apr 9 2014: Esteban,

        Okay, so I don't understand how your diamond rule works for you. And I am losing interest in this exchange with you.

        I say this because it appears to me that you are playing mind games with your juggling of words and meanings. One of my teachers said "The mind is the surface of the heart, and the heart is the depth of the mind." Therefore, the mind and heart are two aspects of the same part of us, yet it can be useful to understand how they are very different in the ways they operate.

        The heart has the capacity to embrace all and everything and to intuitively know instantly and holistically what is *right action* and what is *wrong action* in any particular and situation and moment. It's basis for all it knows and feels is found in and informed through the flow of Love. It's our connection with Spirit, which is our ultimate Guide.

        The mind gathers data/information and processes it in a yes-no, black-white, up-down fashion. Anything it becomes attached to can be defended against anything else. The mind decides based upon its analysis of an arbitrary set of data, having chosen to gather only a portion of all available data, which is essentially an infinite amount and therefore impossible to deal with in its entirety. As such, the mind is not the source of true morals, it is a tool for rationalization and logical or illogical processing of data. The highest functioning of the mind is in service of the heart.

        I feel you think that I think I know what I'm talking about because I think I know what you're thinking and feeling and you reject what I'm thinking because you think you know what's right because someone apparently tells you what to think and how to feel and act except I expect you'll reject that thought because you think you think for yourself and that you need to be the keeper of how I and other people think and act towards one another which I think is inappropriate so I think I'll bow out of this discussion now so I can think about something else.

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