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by Swami Shankaratilaka
When people come and ask you about the problems they have, to what extent you have to be involved in the problem?
Do you take the task of advisor while listening? You have to teach the way in which his necessity must be expressed. Don´t we teach with the question? Then, we teach when people express their necessities, even a psychologist has to educate the patient in how to express his disease. If the psychologist allows his patient to express his necessity the way he wants, he is invalidated as a therapist.
Then, listening to what extent? First you have a schedule, an effective capacity. You know that people sometimes just want to “take morphine using another”. They want to talk about their history, but they don´t want to change anything. When you discover this, you realize that he did not have any necessity of advice, he just needs to relieve his consciousness, even contaminating someone else.
When you give an advice to a devotee student, and he doesn´t accomplish it, then don´t go on giving advice. You have to insist in the same advice. Insisting is for some once, for others, twice, for others, three times, for others you don´t insist at all, you stop. And everyone wants to ask you something, and you say “yes, but until you don´t accomplish what I told you, I am not going to help you”; and sometimes, others that do not accomplish, you give them the attention in a lower level, because people have to earn the help they ask for, they cannot spoil teachings and advices.
If I act as a psychologist, they pay me, the person come to the consult, and tells me, and I give advices and orientation, but if he does not put them into practice, and goes on attending, and I see we are inside a samsara, my honesty will make me say “I am sorry, but we have reached a dead point, and I cannot go on helping you, because I cannot cut your inertia; and I am convinced that he can give solution to his problem, but I cannot go on listening to him, that is good for my economy but not for my professional sense.
We are interested in their families, how they eat, their diseases, I am going to give some help, I am going to give a remedy, but to a certain extent. That is, when the person has to do the things for himself, and those do not act, we do not ignore them, they are there, we give them affection, but it is useless and you are not going to dedicate them the sermon of every Sunday.
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