I have a internal saying that I have used since awakening to my life, my presence and my own Buddha nature. This saying comes from life presenting us with many things that can seem to require large commitments or “payments” of time energy and attitude. When overwhelmed with these concepts I always think this – I am going to pay a little less this month to those dues.

We all have been raised to consider others needs on some level. This is most present when a friend or family member is suffering or has heard bad news. In most of us these circumstances bring out the “helper.”

Many of us “helper” types are as much or more concerned with being seen as good helpers as we are with serving the needs of the person who needs help. Witnessing and companioning take time and patience, which we often lack — especially when we’re in the presence of suffering so painful we can barely endure it ourself. We want to apply our “fix,” then cut and run, figuring we’ve done the best we can to “help” the other person.

We may be better assistance and wiser helpers if we awaken to the simple truth that we have no “fix” or “save” to offer those who suffer deeply. We DO have something better: our gift of self in the form of personal presence and attention, the kind that invites the other’s true needs and spirit to show up.

Simply be there. It has more power than can be recognized.

I leave you with two pieces of advice — a honest self-contradiction for which my only defense is that “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds:

(1) Don’t give advice, unless someone insists. Instead, be fully present, listen deeply, and ask the kind of questions that give the other a chance to express more of his or her own truth, whatever it may be.

(2) If you find yourself on the receiving end of some unwanted advice from someone close to you, smile and ask politely if you can pay a little less this month.

Peace and Love, Jim

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