Ram Dass, speaking from his wheelchair, said: “It’s easier to go around the world to help cure blindness and build hospitals than to need someone to pick me up and put me to bed.” Even when we’re able-bodied, we know what he means. It’s easier for me to help you than to ask you to help me — whether it’s to pick up something heavy I’m not allowed to lift yet, or drop something off at my house because driving is still off limits, or — to ask you to support InsightLA.
Asking feels as though we are making ourselves vulnerable, and we are! We open ourselves to possible rejection or refusal. Yet, as the poet Rilke said, “Ultimately it’s upon our vulnerability that we depend.” We’re vulnerable to each other, we’re raised by other mammals. Our safety riding through a green light depends utterly on other people stopping at a red light. The truth is that we are all interconnected.
We can choose to shut down our vulnerability and never ask for what we need, or we can open to the reality that we depend on mutual caring and let the heart respond. Our openness and responsiveness as human beings leads us to one another. This vulnerability we feel is actually a gateway to experiencing interdependence.
When we understand this, both asking and giving build trust. We know that we can be here for one another, and we are. Just as we trust that sunlit days will lengthen after every winter solstice, there comes the trust that we can practice receiving as well as giving. As we open to receiving, we generously allow others the chance to give. In this way, we experience our interdependence, our interbeing, and love – a quiet joy that enriches our lives and makes the Dharma, the teachings of mindfulness and compassion, flourish.