“If it is someone’s karma to suffer consider it your dharma to help him.” When I first heard that (paraphrased) message of one of my spiritual teachers, I thought, “Well that idea’s either a ticket to enlightenment or the next Codependents Anonymous meeting.”
When it comes to contemplating how and when I serve people, another quote—this one from Jung—brings me balance: “I’d rather be whole than good.” Ahhhh. Yes, the fresh air of acknowledging my humanity delicately greets my body and mind, and I deeply breathe it in.
I truly love to help people, but I do have my limits. I’m not sure if saying No to a person in need is going to get me kicked out of heaven, but it may keep me from losing my sanity.
Being whole is about acknowledging our myriad feelings and needs and not shaming any of them. Getting to know the different parts of ourselves is a long process; some people (especially Jungians) say it takes a lifetime. If our psyches are set to “Automatic Care-take," we’ll never know when we genuinely want to help someone or when we are just playing a role, i.e. “being good.” I’m not going to doubt the direction of an enlightened person who says that selfless service is the way to God, but I do think that that service needs to be authentic.
What is “being good” to you? And does it keep you from being whole?