Not Until They ASK: The Rules of Helping in America
The United States of America is a profoundly spiritual nation. To truly appreciate it, you must understand its spiritual underpinnings, its roots nourished by many faiths, and above all the words of Jesus Christ who taught, You’ve just got to stay positive!
As the bearer of “the good news”, Jesus was persecuted and finally crucified by critics who couldn’t handle his incessant optimism. Jesus came to Earth to teach us to love, care for and help others.
But there is a very important clause. (Thank God! How else would we ever find time for ourselves!) You are only ever allowed to help someone if they ASK for help. They must ask. Otherwise it’s no good. Helping before you are asked is no good at all. It’s interference. It’s totally wrong. You must not interfere with anyone’s process. Especially if they’re in the process of dissolving their organs. That’s, like, practically sacred.
If a person is ready for help, they will announce (to you, to the greater public, and in the presence of an authorized notary) the nature of their problem and their total helplessness in the face of it.
For example, someone may say, “I am addicted to alcohol, shopping, and frozen desserts. I have borderline narcissistic personality disorder and I cannot tolerate gluten.”
Then you are allowed to help. But not until they ASK. Always remember: grovelling first!
People must ASK for help. They must ask for help directly and specifically. Then and only then you can help. It’s not enough if they call up and say, for example, “I am covered in my own filth,” or “Honestly it’s difficult sometimes, living here under the bridge” or “I have burnt through my esophagus” or “Excuse me, would you mind if I borrowed a plastic bag, a roll of electrical tape and some barbiturates?” No! That’s not enough! Don’t make a mistake. They must ASK for help.
In the meantime, while you are waiting and very carefully refraining from helping, what should you do?
Why not focus on yourself? You’re an important person! Your time is valuable. Eat right, meditate, do workouts. Practice the union of Pilates and Dzogchen. You need all your force to bring your unique gifts and talents to market in this time of economic uncertainty. Do you feel fulfilled? Have you found your unique life path? Are you receiving the recognition and love that you deserve? Focus on YOU. You are the only person you can change. Be your very best you!
Also, you need your strength because it is very likely that, by the time your friends and family members ask for help, there will be very little of them left.
America prides itself on efficiency and comfort -- and what could be more efficient or comfortable than ignoring the misery of those around us? (Ignoring the wretchedness of those at a distance comes naturally. Ignoring the misery of those in the same room with us requires special reasoning -- and is still totally easy.)
Nothing works -- about that we can agree. Nearly all pious busybody interventions come to nought. The simple truth is that many if not most of us, and many if not most, of those we love will be needlessly hindered by our addictions, habits, compulsions and fears. Our bodies and minds will be damaged and destroyed, our beauty ruined and our talents pointlessly blighted.
Nothing mysterious about this. As you no doubt have noticed, life is often painful, not infrequently excruciating, and the desire to throw ourselves on anything that might make us feel momentarily better is well-nigh irresistible.
This is just the situation: pious interventions and equally pious non-interventions both fail most of the time. The most brilliant and gorgeous people we know will go on drinking and we will watch helplessly as the system shuts down piece by piece: stomach, esophagus, colon, liver, kidneys.
This is the point at which the genius of America really comes to bear: in the assumption that averting our eyes will have a magical effect. This is the triumph of positive thinking. We can do little, so doing nothing must be right. You’ve just got to stay positive!
We are important people, after all. We have so very many things to do. We need more achievements, more successes, more credentials, more influence, more connections, more talents, more romance, more fulfillment. Why should we waste our mental energy on what is probably a lost cause? Life is short, people!
Why should we be haunted by the suffering of those we love?
This is the daring Gospel of Jesus Christ, who said of Judas Iscariot, “You’ve got to let him hit bottom!” Then wiped him clear out of his mind. This is Jesus, after all, master of positive thinking and time management, who had the whole Holy Land atwitter and no doubt guessed his gig as World Prophet would be brief.
What is the use of grieving? Why should we allow our hearts to be broken? If we went on telling the truth all day long, how could we ever go on being positive positive positive?
You can’t understand America unless you know the Bible, on which the forefathers founded this great nation: Moses and his Ten Commandments, Jesus and his Twelve Steps. “Not unless they ask for help,” says Jesus in the one of the Gospels.
Then of course there is that other Gospel, on which America was also founded, the Gospel wherein Christ teaches, “Never ask for help. Never ever EVER.”