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Helping Others

by Dr. Stewart Bitkoff


Helping Others

Grasshopper was sad and feeling sorry for himself. He thought no one liked him and when it came to picking grasses, he didn’t think he was as good as the other hoppers. All he ever got were the leftovers.

Grasshopper spent half the morning, sitting beside the road worrying about what a terrible life he had. Then along came Turtle. Turtle could tell in an instant what grasshopper’s problem was and how to solve it.

Turtle called out, “If you’re tired of feeling blue, follow me and I’ll show you what to do!”

Grasshopper thought to himself, “Here’s Turtle sticking his shell into my business again. But what have I to loose? I just can’t shake these blues.”

At Turtle’s direction, the two friends began walking toward the meadow. Grasshopper had promised to do whatever Turtle said and not complain.

The meadow was alive with all kinds of creatures. Butterflies were flying. Bees were buzzing. Ants were crawling. What a wondrous sight to behold!

But these things just made grasshopper sadder. Everyone was enjoying themselves and had something important to do except him.

After a time, Turtle and grasshopper came upon a young hopper who was having a difficult time chewing through grasses and stacking them in a pack. One of the first lessons a young hopper learns is to identify six meadow grasses, stack them, and bring them to his teacher.

As Turtle and grasshopper continued to observe, the young fellow realized he was being watched. Without hesitation, he turned to grasshopper and asked, “Will you help me?” Turtle nodded and in an instant grasshopper was showing the young one how to identify, quickly chew through and stack grass.

In five minutes time, the young one had stacked his pack, thanked grasshopper and was on his way to see his teacher.

As Turtle and grasshopper continued walking, grasshopper felt a little better. Somehow, by helping another, his blues were turned into smiles. Turtle saw this and said, “We are not done yet.”

So the two friends continued on. Rounding a bend in the road, Turtle and grasshopper came upon some ants who were struggling to free one of their brothers. A branch had fallen and trapped him beneath a small limb. The branch was heavy and the ants were having a terrible time with it.

Without hesitation, Turtle and grasshopper helped the ants lift. Quickly, the injured fellow was pulled from beneath the limb. While he was being nursed and carried off by the others, the leader thanked Turtle and grasshopper for their help.

By this time, grasshopper was hopping. He never felt better. He even began to sing. His sadness was completely gone.

Turtle looked at grasshopper and said, “We are not done yet.”

Grasshopper wondered what Turtle was up to next. Grasshopper was happy, what else was there?

Turtle and grasshopper continued walking for about an hour. Turtle walked very slowly and this got on grasshopper’s nerves. Grasshopper felt like hopping, and if he knew were they were going, he could get there lickety-split. But no, Turtle wouldn’t tell grasshopper anything. Everything with Turtle was always a mystery and grasshopper had promised to do whatever Turtle said without complaining.

Then they came to a stream. Turtle told grasshopper to lift some stones and make a path into the water with them. Every few inches or so Turtle and grasshopper placed another stone. They must have laid out a dozen or so.

In the hot sun, this work took about two hours. Grasshopper saw no point in what they were doing. Who would benefit from this path, which seemed to go nowhere? It only went part of the way across the stream.

At one point, grasshopper was very frustrated and about to ask Turtle what was the reason for this work, when Turtle remarked, “No questions until tonight.”

Finally they finished. As the two walked back toward Pond, grasshopper was hot, tired and angry. He didn’t know why they worked so hard and couldn’t wait to give Turtle a piece of his mind.

The Lesson

That evening after dinner, as Turtle and grasshopper sat outside Turtle’s burrow, he started to explain.

“Often when we are feeling sorry for ourselves, it is best to find something to do. Activity is a cure for sadness. The best activity is to help another. This takes us out of ourselves and the helping energy is curative.

Helping others, like the young hopper, is part of our social duty and is part of life in the Pond. Yet it is better to help before help is requested. This is the higher activity. Less indebtedness is created. Hence we helped the ants before they could ask.

Finally, a higher form of helping is when the one receiving help is unaware of the source.

We placed those stones, so, young turtles could stand on them and catch silver minnows. They will think they are lucky to find this spot; never knowing what we did. Yet our energy is connected to this work and we benefit from it.”

As grasshopper watched the night sky, he was at peace. He was not sad. In fact he never felt better. He realized, when we help others, we help ourselves.

Slowly, he was beginning to understand.

________________

Also by Dr. Bitkoff, A Commuter’s Guide to Enlightenment, Llewellyn, 2008 and Journey of Light: Trilogy, Authorhouse, 2004; these books are available from publisher or on Amazon.com. To contact author go to www.stewartbitkoff.com.

Extraordinary Afternoon

It was a warm sunny afternoon. The trees were beginning to change colors. The leaves were turning different shades of red, yellow, orange and green. The morning damp coolness had turned to dry warmth. Slowly summer was giving way to fall and all creatures knew that winter was soon approaching.

Feeling the gentle breeze as it blew across Pond, grasshopper and Turtle rested in the brilliant sunshine. Grasshopper was beginning to fall asleep when Turtle called out, “Let’s go for a walk.” This was the last thing grasshopper wanted. Turtle walked so slow; however, grasshopper grudgingly agreed.

As the two friends walked beside the Pond, Turtle began to point things out to grasshopper. “See how the young turtle has grey minnows to catch. Watch how he struggles to capture a snack. There he has one now. Look over on that tree see the mother robin as she feeds her young an earthworm. Look how the young ones open to accept the gift of life.”

Walking on further, grasshopper wondered if Turtle had lost his mind. Why was he pointing out the common place and making such a big deal about it?

Next Turtle pointed to some bees as they flitted from flower to flower. “Look, see how they gather the nectar to make honey. Moving from flower to flower, they help pollinate and provide an essential service to the meadow. Look over there. See the ants as they carry crumbs from the fallen crab apple. The Light is always providing.”

By this time, grasshopper was bored and had had enough of this walk, and said to Turtle, “I will meet you back at the burrow.”

Hopping back to Turtle’s burrow, grasshopper wondered what this all had been about. It was a beautiful, fall afternoon, but why the need to point out the obvious? All these things happened every day. Sometimes grasshopper just couldn’t understand what his friend was talking about.

The Lesson

Later that evening, as the two friends rested in Turtle’s burrow, Turtle began to explain. “You see, sometimes lessons occur in daily life. When the traveler is in tune, the common place becomes extraordinary. The Light is always providing for our needs. As the warm sunlight gives life to the Pond, so, the Light of Eternity gives substance to our soul. Just as there is food for our body, so, there is nourishment for the soul.

The spiritual traveler must learn to see past everyday events and look for the pattern. The Light is forever loving and giving, as was this glorious afternoon. Without the Light, the world of forms would cease to exist.”

In amazement, grasshopper just shook his head. Clearly, he had missed this opportunity to grow closer. However, he was grateful to have a friend who could help point out the subtle wonders of the spiritual world.

Truly, this afternoon had been bathed in the Light of Eternity and, now, would stay forever in grasshopper’s mind.

________________

Also by Dr. Bitkoff, A Commuter’s Guide to Enlightenment, Llewellyn, 2008 and Journey of Light: Trilogy, Authorhouse, 2004; these books are available from publisher or on Amazon.com. To contact author go to www.stewartbitkoff.com.


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