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Guidance on Unselfish Action, Self Sacrifice and Help to Others

If we work or do things only for ourselves as individuals, our lives soon become rather meaningless. It is in peoples’ nature to need and want to work for and on behalf of others. This does not mean giving up all our own pleasures and pursuits for the sake of becoming a martyr. Life is supposed to be enjoyed. Life’s gifts are there for us to appreciate, whether they are gifts of a material nature, for example our cars or computers, or gifts of a more spiritual sort such as talents and abilities. However, if one selfishly pursues the enjoyment of these gifts, with little or no thought for the needs of others along the way, then the spirit will not grow in a balanced way. In the story Ramesh’s father took the risk of getting drowned himself, when he swam out to save the woman. He knew he was a strong swimmer and he wanted to try to save someone’s life. He took the risk of failing. He was courageous. Helping others often involves courage, or sometimes simply kindness and consideration.

It is quite clear that people need each other. Some people have a natural gift for helping others. It is their calling. It does not feel like a sacrifice to them. They may become nurses or carers, but we all get the opportunity to share our lives with others. There will be a time when others need us to care for them. This can feel like a big challenge to many people. We should not shirk this duty. We should ‘do our bit’ with love and acceptance, when the time comes, whether it is caring for a young baby, looking after a sick husband or wife, or looking after elderly parents. We cannot expect society to take on our personal burdens, though there are times when we may well need to ask for help. Each individual will have his or her way of tackling these issues. The important thing is not to turn our backs on those who need help, but to take on the situation with love and care. We can then find a way of giving love and attention to the person needing it.

The time may also come when we need to accept help graciously from others in our own old age or at times of illness. This is difficult for many people and can be a cause of great unhappiness. Again acceptance helps people to get over feelings of resentment and reluctance, and of being a burden. It is much easier to look after someone who is smiling and cheerful, so remember that when you’re eighty-two and needing care!