Natural Compassion

Excerpt from How Can I Help? by Ram Dass & Paul Gorman:

"At times, helping happens simply in the way of things. It's not something we really think about, merely the instinctive responsive of an open heart. Caring is a reflex. Someone slips, your arm goes out. A car is in a ditch, you join the others and push. A colleague at work has the blues, you let her know you care. It all seems natural and appropriate. You live, you help. 
"When we join together in this spirit, action comes more effortlessly, and everybody ends up nourished. Girding against the flood ... setting up a community meeting ... preparing a funeral ... people seem to know their part. We sense what's called for, or if we don't, and feel momentarily awkward, someone comes quickly with an idea, and it's just right, and we're grateful. We babysit the kids while their parents move possessions to home farther from the rising river ... we bring a comfortable chair for an older person who might attend the meeting ... we call the rabbi with a favorite psalm of the one who has just died. Needs are anticipated, and glances of appreciation among us are enough to confirm that it's all going well. 
"We take pleasure not only in what we did but in the way we did it. On the one hand, the effort was so natural it might seem pointless or self-conscious to make something of it. It was what it was. Yet if we stop to consider why it all felt so good, we sense that some deeper process was at work. Expressing our innate generosity, we experienced our "kin"-ship, our "kind"-ness. It was "Us." In service, we taste unity. "

Image: Unity Painting by
Reading:  Dass, Ram and Paul Gorman. How Can I Help? Stories and Reflections on Service. New York: Knopf, 1985. p. 5-6. Print.

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