There is a perceived trade-off between taking care of oneself and taking care of others but I no longer find this true. This shift has occurred because my understanding of what it is to help others has changed. When my goals revolved around success, help ment helping others be successful, but then I realized that success is a relative term comparing my status to the people around me. Therefore, it’s impossible to help someone to be successful without also lowering someone elses status to unsuccessful. These were essentially games of sensation. When we’re competing for better grades, jobs, friends, and toys, we’re automatically contributing to the suffering of the world.
Vipassana introduced a paradigm shift to me. Instead of focussing on all of these results just focus on the intention. If my actions are contributing to a more peaceful and happy mental world my actions are good and vice versa. By helping someone find peace, I’m also helping myself find peace. Then I just let the rest of the pieces fall where they will. High status jobs, friends, and toys will come and go. I try to find peace with whatever faces me today. Peace of mind is the reward.
Then a funny thing starts to happen. I become friends with those people I was unsuccessfully trying to impress. I start working on projects that are more interesting and meaningful to me. I start getting what I used to crave when I stop craving it. This is a slow process, and not everything in my world has fully developed, but I definitely feel like I’m heading in the right direction and that gives me peace of mind. Time to meditate.