Rescuing vs Supporting

As I was reading this post on the difference between rescuing and supporting this morning, I began to reflect on my journey to learning this valuable distinction.

When I first I got exposed to this concept, I took it to an extreme interpretation. I took it to mean that I must look after myself before I do anything for others. Or by helping them in a way they haven’t asked for, I’m rescuing them and taking away their opportunity to grow while spreading myself too thin.

Through my Buddhist practice embedded with life challenges over the last few years, I’ve learnt that this learning is a lifelong journey of the eternal truth of life. It is about how I always learn to find the “Middle Way”.

In my practice I chant “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” to bring forth my Buddha nature that can perceive the true nature of life. This enables me to have the wisdom to take action in harmony with the ultimate law of life.

Nichiren Daishonin wrote in On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime:

What then does myō signify? It is simply the mysterious nature of our life from moment to moment, which the mind cannot comprehend or words express. When we look into our own mind at any moment, we perceive neither color nor form to verify that it exists. Yet we still cannot say it does not exist, for many differing thoughts continually occur. The mind cannot be considered either to exist or not to exist. Life is indeed an elusive reality that transcends both the words and concepts of existence and nonexistence. It is neither existence nor nonexistence, yet exhibits the qualities of both. It is the mystic entity of the Middle Way that is the ultimate reality. Myō is the name given to the mystic nature of life, and hō,to its manifestations.

How does this translate into my actions when it comes to supporting and rescuing?

There are various ways I judge this in the beginning –

When I’m seeking to do something for someone, does it come from a place of “I”. E.g. I will be able to show how much I know. I am smarter than them hence I can tell them how to do this better. I must contribute to their success so they feel like they need me in their lives etc.

When I am choosing not to “rescue” someone, does it come from the belief that they must figure their life out and it’s not my responsibility? Am I doing my best to help and support where I can to the best of my ability or am I just shutting down in a self protective contracting mode?

Then through my prayer, I tend to find the wisdom to find a “Middle Way”. Which is balancing between – am I giving someone the love they need from me to grow? Am I giving myself the love I need to grow? Am I giving them the space they need to grow? Am I giving myself the space I need to grow?

And then this isn’t even a black or white answer that is correct everyday. I learn to modulate myself, my thoughts, words and actions in synchrony with my evolving life and their evolving life.

Sometimes I find people are struggling a lot and need a lot of love to grow. Other times they’re doing ok with finding their answers and need a lot of space to grow.

It also makes me aware of when I need more love or space to grow and open up to receive that in my life without connecting it to my self worth or strength.

A wise man once said, when you give to someone, it’s not the person giving that’s superior. It’s the person receiving that’s the one giving the opportunity to the giving to feel good about themselves. Tricky isn’t it? 😃

The important key for me to unlock this has been to give up the “should”. Giving up all expectations of what I should do and what they should do. The more I give to myself and other without the should, the more it expands my capacity to love and care for myself and others.

Unearthing and moving these “should”s out of my life is an everyday practice for me.

How do you approach this in your life?

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