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Emergency Rescue Your Mind by Helping Others

Mike Mather

With the intention to attain

The ultimate, supreme goal

That surpasses even the wish-granting jewel,

May I constantly cherish all living beings.

Langri Tangpa

Alcoholism and Selfishness

Recovery from alcoholism and other addictions is benefitted by the concepts of Buddhism regarding happiness and freedom from suffering. Let's discuss the role of selflessness and service in achieving these goals.

Drawing from the teachings of Langri Tangpa, it is important to cherish others and practise selflessness instead, to find true happiness. By shifting our focus towards the needs of others and taking action to alleviate their suffering, we can cultivate a sense of contentment and fulfilment that cannot be attained through selfish pursuits.

Consider this advice often given to newcomers to AA -

  • Get a sponsor
  • Get a home group
  • Do service work

These three steps are about helping others, though at first we think they are for only us.

A sponsor is someone who is following the 12 steps to save his life from alcoholism. If you are working with a sponsor, you are saving their lives.

Working in a home group helps not only all the members of the groups, but you are the Fellowship - A fellowship of people who share their experiences in order to solve their common problem.

Service work is another level of commitment to helping others overcome their addiction, and you provide an example for those who still suffer.

And we do all this altruistic work to save our sorry selves from the plight that we are running from. How ironic is "giving it away to keep it"? Hahahaha!

Six Sexy Sectors for Success

We need to begin to develop qualities such as patience, moral discipline, effort, concentration, and wisdom, collectively known as the 'Six Perfections'. These qualities guide us towards a path of self-improvement and enable us to make a positive impact on the lives of those around us.

In this way, we replace the focus on ourselves with a compassion and interest in our fellows, somewhat alleviating the need to escape through drinking.

See also The Frightening Paradox of Freedom From Suffering

A blond and a brunette women laughing

Photo by Dave Goudreau on Unsplash

Happiness and Fulfilment

Langri Tangpa's teaching, called Eight Verses of Training The Mind, highlights the importance of helping others as a key to happiness and fulfilment. Langri Tangpa encourages us to reflect on what they can do to ease the suffering of others and make a difference in their lives.

By adopting an attitude of selflessness and service, we can not only find true happiness, but also contribute towards creating a more compassionate and connected world.

Small acts of kindness can make a difference in the world. By practising the six perfections, we can improve ourselves and our relationships with others.

The Mind's Health

In our modern society, people are increasingly lonely and struggling with mental health issues. There is depression and anxiety, addictions, and a myriad of others issues that arise from the pressures of living in the 21st Century.

Are these mind problems that much different to the anguish and pain suffered 2,500 years ago when Buddha began teaching mindfulness?

With the intention to attain

The ultimate, supreme goal

That surpasses even the wish-granting jewel,

May I constantly cherish all living beings.

Whenever I associate with others,

May I view myself as the lowest of all;

And with a pure intention,

May I cherish others as supreme.

Examining my mental continuum throughout all my actions,

As soon as a delusion of self-cherishing develops

Whereby I or others would act inappropriately,

May I cherish them as if I had found

A rare and precious treasure.

When others out of jealousy or anger

Harm me or insult me,

May I take defeat upon myself

And offer them the victory.

In short, may I directly and indirectly

Offer help and happiness to all my mothers,

And secretly take upon myself

All their harm and suffering.

Furthermore, through all the above practices,

Together with a mind undefiled by stains of conceptions of the eight extremes

And that seed all phenomena as illusory,

May I and all living beings be released from the bondage of mistaken appearance and conception.

this text has been translated by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche
A group of young people in casual meeting in a sunlit room

Photo by Redd F on Unsplash

In both the rooms of 12-Step recovery and in all Buddhist teachings, it is the selfish, self-centred mind that is the source of the problem and where the solution abides. Through mindfulness and meditation we can become clear about the nature of mind, and through following certain steps we can learn to live a life that is free from suffering.

First, we can have relief from our current problems and through consistent and disciplined training we can reach enlightenment and the freedom from all suffering.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says, "We can continue to squander our life in pursuing worldly enjoyments that give no real satisfaction and disappear when we die, or we can dedicate our life to realising our full spiritual potential".

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About the Author Mike Mather

Mike was born in 1963 which technically makes him one of the youngest of the Baby Boomers. An Australian with Indigenous and European heritage, he has been an avid and required student of Buddhism and alcoholism since 2008.

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