I was at the grocery store checkout line recently. The women directly in front of me was checking out and had her baby in one of those harnesses strapped to her chest. She had a lot of groceries and was lifting large heavy items from the bottom of her cart.
I thought to help her but something stopped me. It didn’t feel right to interfere. So I stood there watching her do this heavy lifting with her baby strapped on her. I watched as thoughts like “Don’t just stand there and be a jerk, help her” float through my mind. But still, it didn’t feel right to do anything. So I continued standing there.
Then all of a sudden a woman from the next checkout line rushed over saying “Here let me help you” and lifted one of the items onto the belt. The mother initially said “thank you”.
For a very very tiny brief moment I felt like a total asshole for not doing anything.
But then a second later the mother said something like “Actually It’s okay, I’ve got it. Thank you”. The helper women seemed surprised and walked back to her line.
Then I looked at the mother and noticed that she was in great physical shape. She obviously works out. I realized that she wanted to lift those things herself because it’s great exercise for her and she had plenty of strength to do it.
I knew what I was feeling was right and so glad that I trusted it. The mother did not want or need help.
But let’s imagine the situation was different. The mother was not physically strong and was actually exhausted. What if she did want help and I still didn’t feel it right to offer? Perhaps she (the imaginary person I’m making up) is needing to learn to not expect people to read her mind and do what she wants them to do, which is passive-aggressive. Maybe she would be pushed to assess what she needs and experience her power and her voice and speak up and ask someone. In that situation I could be helping her too.
Many times to be and act consciously will take us out of and even against societal norms and “proper” behavior. To truly help another and be selfless we are sacrificing our need to be liked and approved of by them (which is actually selfishness dressed as “I’m a good person”). Some ways of conscious helping gets us gratitude and recognition of our efforts. That’s wonderful and I love it when that happens!
Sometimes I reach out or share and I am sincere and in my heart, but it exposes something in that person and they get offended or hurt. Sometimes I’m exposing something in another that was already there, I’m just helping it come to the surface. I’m not the cause of it
But it’s really not what i do for another, it’s really helping myself in all of this. Feeling trusting of my own energy and intuition I get to feel alive and spontaneous and free. Life is far from boring or mundane, it’s a daily adventure and I’m dancing ecstatically with existence. In a bigger sense it’s all about me.
This grocery store situation was a minor challenge for me compared to the bigger challenges I can face. But it still shows why being conscious and moving forward in our awakening journey is so challenging! We risk feeling alone and misunderstood at times. I feel it a lot. But when I trust and don’t act on the fears, existence always supports me and gives me some kind of sign to reassure me - “Good, keep going”.
So even though on an ego level I can feel alone, I’m never truly alone.
It’s a challenge to confront our own personal conditionings. But then there are the collective conditionings and that’s an even greater challenge. So before that woman came to help the mother I felt the gap between my being and my ego-mind, I was able to remain a witness to my programming. But then the helper woman acted unconsciously upon her own conditionings and that’s when I briefly felt some identification with “I’m an asshole”. The programming got suddenly stronger.
Then existence came in to give me a “good, keep going” by the mother standing up for herself.
By doing so she helped me too.
I have my way of describing and experiencing this awakening process. But it’s the same for all of us. We all have a conscious being within and we all have a fearful ego.
When we act consciously we help ourselves and each other. When we act unconsciously we keep ourselves in that fog of programming and make it harder for others to see through the fog too.
**We often fear trusting ourselves and making a mistake and acting instead from our ego-mind. I find these mistakes to actually be no big deal. In fact they are often very needed learning experiences. We can then learn what we need to learn and then let it go and move on with our newly expanded consciousness. The real mistakes, the ones with very real consequences and karmic repercussions are where we don’t even dare risk anything, we don’t dare to live fully by being our truest self.
Leela Haris ~ E x p a n d i n g Consciousness