Helping Others

Helping Others: Advice & Personal Experiences

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Is giving money and/or other help
always for the highest good of all concerned?
My own experiences & reading, particularly regarding
the question of how to best handle beggars in the street

by Ulla, designer of Orin © 2005 & 2006
All Rights Reserved.

What is the highest good?
“Insider” advice on help that truly empowers the person you are trying to assist
Some personal experiences with helping others
When help is disempowering
Helping that empowers
On invisible “powers” (agents) & the sinuosities of “karma”: a personal story
When to help: On karma, thoughts (co-)creating reality, probabilities & focus, love as the prime quality & the illusionary nature (unrealness) of 3 D reality
How about giving money to help people stricken by major events depriving them of the most basic necessities of life (water, food, shelter etc.)?
In conclusion: on the spiritual role of money as an institution and of achieving balance between service to others and service to self


Being a Pisces and numerologically life path 9 (or for whatever other reason such as having a helper’s syndrome stemming from past (life) experiences/guilt etc. ;-), the subject of helping others or contributing to “a better world” has next to always been of primordial importance to me.* For years, this was accompanied by a feeling of “I am powerless to help myself” (what with all that trauma and inner suffering I had to deal with) which I compensated by “unconditionally helping all around”, probably with an implied subconscious plea to “please do for me as I do for you, and help ME”.

Years and tears (just for the alliteration ;-) and books and insights later, here are a number of experiences and hints regarding what I have learned in the area of how to effectively help others (and oneself)...

* For those who may be wondering - it has very little to nothing do with my having being raised in the Christian faith since there were precious few positive and credible examples to emulate in the environment I grew up in.

What is the highest good?

As a preface, here is a short (and necessarily limited) personal definition
of highest good based on two of many possible examples:
Is it for the highest good of a drug addict begging for his drug to actually give him the toxic substance he is asking for?
Generally no, because this would merely help him in the short term, taking away his discomfort in the now but actually contributing to destroy his body and/or mind in the long term.
Is it for the highest good of a child to fulfill all its wishes on demand?
No, because this might lead to him/her becoming an adult unable to face challenges, with a demanding ungrateful personality and other character deficiences, not to mention teeth full of cavities ;-).
In other words, the highest good means acting with a view to the eventual effects of one’s actions, i.e. the highest good in the long term. The same would apply in my book when speaking of the highest good “of all concerned”.

“Insider” advice on help that truly empowers the person
you are trying to assist

I was very impressed by an article printed in the German Reader's Digest some years ago. It was written by the president of a French organisation devoted to helping homeless people living in the street. This now-president had formerly been one of these homeless beggars himself. Based on his experiences in both roles, he had the following to advise:

If you give money to someone who is just holding out his hand, you may as well throw it away since you aren't doing him any good. By contrast the person you should give money to is the one who shows an active willingness to earn the money by being of service in one way or another, i.e. who shows initiative. This could be expressed in a number of ways, such as by playing music, selling a newspaper, or by other means (incidentally, someone who formerly went busking [played the guitar] in the streets told me that playing under these conditions is actually really hard work!).

This organisation’s president once handed out an invitation to many of these homeless men informing them about paid work he would like to propose to them (I think it included an offer for a free meal to discuss the nature of the job over with). The result? Hardly anyone showed up!

Based upon his insights, I now generally ignore those just holding out their hand but do give a small “solidarity contribution” (and often a smile) to people who play an instrument or who sell homeless magazines (such magazines are now being widely published in Berlin by recently founded and quite efficient self-help organisations for the homeless). There is one exception: I don’t give to those who smoke, but I will normally explain the reason why to these people. In fact, I advised one of them (who had told me that he smoked out of boredom) to carry headphones playing music or educational material to make the most of his idle time.

Some personal experiences with helping others

Walking in a busy street in Berlin-Kreuzberg by one of the city’s canals one day, I noticed a man sitting on steps. Holding his hands raised in an imploring gesture, he gave the impression of a person at the end of his rope, desperate for financial help. Passing by him, I handed him one deutschmark (a lot of money for me at the time). I had hardly given him the coin, that he had slipped it into his pocket, displaying the swiftness and skill of a stage magician, while a sly and satisfied smile spread over his face. Oh what a lesson! He had simply conned another soft-hearted person into giving him money, to be used for whatever unenlightened purpose he might be using it for*. Needless to mention, he didn’t say “thank you” either.

* To diffuse any notion that I might be “judgmental” here: I don’t judge people for doing what they do - it’s just that I don’t want to financially support anything that to my thinking, is not of the light, such as cigarette smoking, drinking alcohol, doing drugs etc.

One very cold winter evening, I discovered a couple sleeping (or trying to) in a major shopping street in Berlin - at minus 15 degrees Celsius, right by the subway entrance. I was appalled, naturally, and eager to help. I went talking to the man in his sleeping-bag, a very well-“padded” rosy-cheeked and healthy-looking guy, with his girl-friend beside him appearing thin, pale and apathetic, to ask how I could help them. I went home to get them some warm wool sweaters I didn’t need (and which had a few moth holes) and called a charity organisation, asking them to come around to collect the couple to provide them a warm bed. Two charity workers arrived in due time and talked to the couple. As it turned out, to get to a warm place to sleep, the two would have had to separate, with one being taken to a women’s shelter and the other to a shelter for men, and the female partner refused to leave her friend’s side. So the charity workers soon gave up and told me that they had no legal means of forcing them to accept a warm place to sleep. They also agreed that while the male partner seemed robust enough to withstand such far sub-zero temperatures, she looked as if she was in definite danger. Frustrated and bewildered, I retraced my steps homewards ...

The next day, quite “accidentally” I discovered the wonderful thick woollen red sweater I had given him (I think most or all of  the other ones too) stuffed right into a dustbin...

Now the most interesting experience for me is that while the man had been originally quite willing to talk to me, he gradually became hostile, particularly after the charity workers showed up. He clearly didn’t want my interference in his decision to stay out there in the cold in the midst of the public eye,  attention and charity (I saw a woman giving him money and I am sure there were a number of such financial offerings presented to him.)

When help is disempowering

I received a striking personal illustration of how some help being offered can actually deprive one of one’s strength (as stressed by Orin who says that “Saving people makes them weaker rather than stronger”, see Orin’s and Edgar Cayce’s thought-provoking advice on this subject in context) in the following incident: I was visiting my best friend who lives on the fourth floor of his building. I was struggling upstairs carrying my bike (and I think a heavy rucksack on top) because it needed some repair. By summoning all my strength, I had nearly reached the top floor when he opened his door, took in my strain and heavy load in a glance, and made a hurried move to rush to meet me to alleviate me of my burden. Instantaneously, all my strength simply seeped from my arms, and I dropped the bike to the floor.
What a lesson! The best-intentioned help can actually weaken and disempower the “helpee”. I actually kind of angrily told him that by indirectly telling me that he considered me in need of assistance, he made me weak! (Though I understand, of course, that he only meant to be helpful...)

Helping that empowers

In my view, help that empowers is help that assists the other person to help themselves and to become independent of outside assistance, such as expressed in the famous aphorism “give a man a fish and he has food for a day, teach him to fish and he has to eat forever” (though I’d prefer a vegetarian version of the quote ;-). This also presupposes the willingness and determination of the other party to achieve such independence.

On invisible “powers” (agents) & the sinuosities of “karma”: a personal story

After studying very hard, I was sworn in as a German/French interpreter with the Berlin courts. For several years following, I used to make a relatively easy income from interpreting French for the police since this type of freelance work is well paid. In fact an interpreter even gets paid the full hourly rate for his or her travelling time AND times are rounded off to the next hour. In other words, if I spend 1 hour and 1 minute on travelling and interpreting, I am being remunerated for a full 2 hours “work”. For that reason, interpreters are invariably called from nearby police stations and courts only (since the German state obviously tries to save unnecessary expenses and Berlin has a dense network of interpreters for many languages).

One day I received a telephone call from an unknown (to me) translation agency who urgently needed a French interpreter at the border police station of Schönefeld airport, Berlin. This was most unusual in itself since the travelling time involved to get me to the airport already amounted to 1 1/2 hours (3 hours two ways). Nor had I ever been contacted by this agency before.

I arrived at the airport and was introduced to an African man I was to interpret for: he was trying to immigrate into Germany on political grounds but (as I was to learn later) was scared out of his wits, hiding his fear of policemen behind a facade of muteness and obstinacy. The only phrase he repeatedly uttered in response to any question asked by the officer in charge of his interview was, “I will only talk to the lady I spoke to yesterday” (I was informed that a female representative of a social service had spoken to him the day before.) After about 10, 15 minutes of such fruitless back and forth, where in essence he never said anything, he finally signed a paper written in German which stated that he agreed to return to his country in exchange for getting his passport back. Apparently he had never properly listened: as shortly thereafter, it dawned on him that he was about to be sent back by the German border police, he broke down in tears at the realization that he might have to face being in his country again. Heavily sobbing, he finally confided his story in me: his father had already been killed by his country’s military regime and he had himself lived in hiding for several years. Being sent back would mean facing possible death. And he pleaded with me “help me, help me”, which naturally I had been trying to do all along.

As I translated his words to the police officer in charge of the interview, I tried to get him to grant the African a second chance, explaining that he was traumatised and distrustful of all police (as he had just told me to explain his previous silence), and that for this reason he hadn’t properly listened and thus misunderstood the explanations given to him. But the officer was adamant. After all, the African had just signed an agreement to return to his country. From the smile on the officer’s face, I received the impression that he was pleased with himself for having managed to rid the German state of another of those “burdensome” asylum seekers (Germany has, or used to have, very generous immigration policies). In desperation as to how to save this man’s life, I asked, „what if I say I’ve made a translation mistake?“. The officer agreed that in this case he would be given another chance.

So I said I had made an error in translation (which was untrue, of course) which had led to the African signing the agreement under a false assumption, and the police was thus forced to give this asylum seeker a second chance with another interpreter. Before leaving, I urged him to divulge all the truth at this new and likely last opportunity given him - which he must have done since I later heard that he had been granted at least temporary stay in Germany and his asylum seeking case was getting up to the highest court instance. Since then I have not heard from him.

 Nor have I heard from the police, i.e. this major source of income was cut off from me. In the following years, coupled with the effects of idealism and naiveté, it led to the worst and most traumatic extended period of deprivation (incl. starvation and inability to pay my modest rent for my 30m2 apartment for three months) of my life.

It was my choice of course to help this man by pretending I had made a translation mistake, and I think I would do it again.

Was it “coincidence” that it was I who was called from so far away to interpret for this man and was thus given the privilege (though of very painful consequence for myself) to probably save his life by deciding to sacrifice the major source of my livelihood to help him? I don’t think so. In fact I believe that this story illustrates how our lives and “destinies” can be greatly influenced by invisible “powers”.

When to help: On karma, thoughts (co-)creating reality, probabilities & focus, love as the prime quality & the illusionary nature (unrealness) of 3 D reality

These involve questions I continue ruminating.
1. On “karma” and learning of “higher soul qualities” through pain and suffering:
Seth’s (and others’) teachings on “karma” (though he was loath to use the term) and learning through first-hand experience to put “the positive desire for love and creativity over destruction and hatred” certainly make the widespread existence of suffering on this planet emotionally acceptable, including one’s personal suffering. It indeed often seems to me that the only way for people to learn “higher soul qualities” such as compassion and empathy is through direct experience of the respective type of suffering involved. (And those who do possess these positive qualities “in spite of” a happy sheltered childhood and relatively carefree adulthood would, by the same token, presumably have made their respective experiences in “previous” lifetimes.)
2. On thoughts (co-)creating reality (as stated by Seth and others, incl. quantum physicists) & “what I focus on increases”:
Do I actually help increase and perpetuate any perceived suffering by focussing my consciousness on it? Would it be best to just visualize a better world to help create it (as in “there are many probable realities and we choose which one to inhabit with our thoughts”, see the famous Schrödinger’s cat experiment). Similar with people: Would it be best to just visualize a happier/healthier  etc. person to experience that probable version of them as our reality? Or, in a similar vein, to just work with energy, light etc. (also see
Orin’s advice on helping others by doing soul work). Or would affirmations (a powerful tool to change personal reality according to Orin and others) such as affirming that “I now live in a world of love and cooperation” also have an impact on others or rather allow us to drift into a probable reality world where these conditions do apply? Or would a combination approach be best: mental focus on what we would like to experience and hands-on help?
3. On love as the most important thing (not helping):
Many and probably most NDE experiences point to love and seeking knowledge being the number one spiritual priorities in life (which forms my personal philosophy in a nutshell). With respect to helping, this would mean to me that only help that comes from a feeling of love has true value in a higher sense (as opposed to help that comes from a feeling of guilt or obligation, again see
Orin’s advice).
4. I have
personal experience of the “basically” unreal nature of 3 D reality. But I suppose this insight will rarely make personal suffering or pain feel any less real and painful.

A must-read :-) in the context of the ideas and questions expressed in 2) and 3) above is On (Self) Love as the ultimate healer and the entire world as our responsibility and projection: Real-life examples of how we heal others from the inside out by healing ourselves with love.

While I have no “final” answers to these questions (except that love is the most important thing in life), I will continue to be a social, ecological and animal activist since I best like the balanced advice given in “Conversations With God” (paraphrased): “Make your voice heard on issues that matter but realize at the same time that you are (co-)creating the reality you are perceiving”. (See for instance here for extensive activist links.)

How about giving money to help people stricken by major events depriving them of the most basic necessities of life (water, food, shelter etc.)?

I think the biblical advice (likely also found in other religious systems) to give one tenth of one’s income towards helping others may be a useful guide here, at least for those who have a low to medium income. Those with incomes higher than their needs may give more. Otherwise it may be best (as always?) to ask to receive guidance from the highest sources of divine love and light one may be able to contact (see again Advice by Orin and Edgar Cayce on Helping Others).

In conclusion: on the spiritual role of money as an institution and of achieving
balance between service to others and service to self

I used to  "always" believe that we should have or strive to create a world without money where everyone's basic needs are automatically met and provided for, because this seemed the only loving world model to me. Since I also planned to “save the entire world” from all its perceived ills (starvation, environmental pollution, social inequality etc.), I only worked for free in unpaid ecological projects, refusing to participate in the capitalistic system (which I held responsible for third-world starvation), often giving things away for free etc. After this had led to my first true starvation experience (which I could have died from hadn’t I made a supreme effort of will to raise myself from the bed I was too emaciated to get up from after two weeks of eating nothing at all, with my only close friend as well as my neighbour being on holiday), I was ready to participate in paid “normal” work to cover my basic needs. But I continued to wholeheartedly reject the idea of money as an institution and invested much time in voluntary unpaid humanitarian efforts. (On a humorous note, I even joined an initiative once which aimed to create a money-free society based upon bartering - until they had to suspend their activities due to lack of funds needed for stamps. :-)
An article called “9D Nibiruan Council Perspective on Money and  Ascension” (yes, the title didn’t sound too inviting, see my comments on the value & credibility of channeling) by Devin/Jelaila I read in about December 2002 (found at, however, created a small inner revolution for me, allowing me for the first time to wholeheartedly accept the institution of money. Here are some excerpts:
“[Earth, our planetary school, provides us with a study course on money.]  This course or class is known as Service to Self/Service to Others. To complete this course you must learn how to serve others to the same degree that you serve yourself and vice versa. ... Finding the balance between serving self and serving others is one of the most difficult of lessons a Soul must learn in order to complete our current Universal Game for Soul Evolution, The Polarity Integration Game. In this Game the polarity of Service to Self is known as the Dark and the polarity of Service to Others is known as the Light. On your planetary school, Earth, you have been taught to value only Service to Others shunning all aspects of Service to Self. Your religions teach you that to serve yourself is selfish and therefore is inherently wrong. Only providing for basic necessities is allowed. ... On Earth school the primary form of power and energy exchange is known as money. [And the institution and existence of money is the indispensable means which allows us to learn  to create that required balance between Service to Self/Service to Others.]
So money is actually something positive: a valuable (no pun intended) and indispensable catalyst of spiritual growth!!!

A final thought to ponder for all do-gooders who may do good while neglecting to properly look after themselves (as I did for a long time): Seth writes in The Nature of Personal Reality: “You try to be so good precisely because you believe you are so bad and unworthy.” Food for thought? Certainly for me...

Hope THAT helps :-)


Compare Orin and Edgar Cayce Advice On Helping Others & Oneself.

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