I pulled this one from an old blog post I wrote over a year ago…
“Worrying about a person may show them we care, but it also conveys to them our sense of superiority and our lack of trust in their ability ro handle their life…In working with people and their problems, we could accept that those problems might never be resolved”
I found this in an article titled The Problem With Problems by Judy Lee. It really spoke to me because it provides insight into the work that I am currently involved in.
I recently decided to extend my dana to volunteer work and have signed up to help out as an advocate at Safe Nest, a local domestic violence shelter in Las Vegas. So far I have only gone through the training, which is very extensive due to the nature of the work. To date it has been a very rewarding and eye-opening experience. I have been educated about some of the myths and realities surrounding domestic violence.
Throughout the training there have been particular themes repeated by guest speakers and volunteer coordinators that directly tie into the Buddhist practice. They explained that the work is not about us or what we want (non self). We did immersion exercises that caused us to examine our biases and motives (awareness). We were advised to keep our minds open and to meet clients where they are, rather than where we want them to be (compassion). We were told to be prepared for the unpredictability of our clients and their moods (impermanence). Most of all we were repeatedly reminded that at times the best way to help someone is to do nothing. To provide options and let them take the course that is best for them even if they take no action at all. This concept is a true Buddhist principle if I ever heard one.
It is that last statement that ties into the Judy Lee article the most. The best way to help someone solve their issues to separate your ego from the equation and realize that sometimes there is no “fix” there is no “solution” and the situation might never be “right”. This is a very important lesson to hold on to when working with people in extreme circumstances such as domestic violence victims, substance abusers, abused children, etc.
However this is a universal lesson and can be applied to a person’s personal life or family and friend relationships. As Judy Lee states:
“We can learn not to obsess about all the problems we cannot solve, but to sort through them to find one or two things we can actually do that might be helpful. it is better to do one small helpful thing than punish yourself for the many things beyond your power and ability to change or affect. Some problems can be solved, some cannot and some are best left unsolved”