A woman was crying alone by the water’s edge and all the members of her village soon became very concerned for her. One by one they brought her little gifts placing them gently beside her before retreating silently to give her room to grieve. Her Mother placed a beautiful shawl, her husband left a piece of jewellery he had repaired for her, a friend left her a little bottle of perfume and so on until she was surrounded by so many gifts as to become almost hidden by them. Yet still she cried, on and on into the night while everyone who loved her stood silently grieving with her. Eventually it all became too much for her rather impatient Uncle. “For goodness sake woman, what on earth could possibly be so bad as to make you cry for so long?”
“Uncle, this is where I fell down 2 days ago, and I think I may have broken my ankle.”
So it is with misguided solace poured out over pain. It is of as much use as water poured into a broken jug. Do not be in such a hurry to smother the suffering in sentimental gestures and gifts, first seek to know what is really going on. If you do not ask, or follow the trail of clues correctly you will be left standing in the dark, a useless bystander in the sufferings of our world.
It is always easy to be sentimental, the world is filled with sentimental people, but sentimentality doesn’t get it done. You must be forceful and demanding in your enquiries into suffering. Do not shirk your responsibility as a witness to suffering – first assist before running to tell somebody else. How do you know the next person you tell will be any better equipped than you to deal with what is before your eyes?
A suffering soul will not appreciate sentimental gestures anymore than a drowning man will appreciate a shout of encouragement from the shore! Wade in and offer practical assistance, perhaps throw him a life-ring or a branch to grab hold of, these are generally better than a swimming lesson in this situation, but you will all know the right thing to do at the time.
Guru Karma Gain is an imaginary friend of the writer Kay Sharp ©2014