Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationship between giving to others and taking care of ourselves so we can give to others more fully…I’ve written about it in my elephantjournal pieces and I’ve been thinking about it every day as I go about my activities, thoughts, studies, etc.
From the Osho Tarot:
“This pain is not to make you sad, remember. That’s where people go on missing…. This pain is just to make you more alert–because people become alert only when the arrow goes deep into their heart and wounds them. Otherwise they don’t become alert. When life is easy, comfortable, convenient, who cares? Who bothers to become alert? When a friend dies, there is a possibility. When your woman leaves you alone–those dark nights, you are lonely. You have loved that woman so much and you have staked all, and then suddenly one day she is gone. Crying in your loneliness, those are the occasions when, if you use them, you can become aware. The arrow is hurting: it can be used. The pain is not to make you miserable, the pain is to make you more aware! And when you are aware, misery disappears.”
Osho, Take it Easy, Volume 2 Chapter 12
I think it becomes appropriate at this point to read about the Venerable Ananda. There’s a great writeup from tricycle.com that you can access by clicking the link at the top of the post. Here’s an excerpt:
Ananda brought the Buddha water for washing his face and tooth-wood for cleaning his teeth; he arranged his seat, washed his feet, massaged his back, fanned him, swept his cell, and mended his robes. He slept nearby at night to be always on hand. He accompanied him on his rounds through the monastery and after meetings he checked to see whether any monk had left anything behind. He carried the Buddha’s messages and called the monks together, even sometimes at midnight. When the Buddha was sick, he obtained medicine for him. Once when monks neglected a very sick fellow monk, the Buddha and Ananda washed him and together carried him to a resting place.
Ananda also [had a boundless] willingness to sacrifice himself. When Devadatta [another cousin and disciple of the Buddha] let loose a wild elephant to kill the Buddha, Ananda threw himself in front of the Buddha, ready to die himself rather than let the Blessed One be killed or injured. Three times the Buddha asked him to step back, but he did not comply. Only when the Master moved him gently from the spot through supernatural powers could he be dissuaded from his intention to sacrifice himself.
(“In the Footsteps of the Buddha: Life of Ananda, Guardian of the Dhamma”, tricycle.com)
To what extent are you willing to sacrifice yourself? Are you neglecting the things you love to do and the things you believe in order to please someone else? I see people all the time and have been in a position in which I placed the needs of others above the needs of myself.
I hope not. There is a difference between giving and loving and emptying yourself to the point at which you neglect your own dreams, wishes, and desires.
Be good to others, and be good to yourself. There’s karmic balance in that.