This is a continuation of my previous post ‘Rescue Part 1’.
As I see it rescue and compassion are two different things. The position of rescuer requires a willing participant to be rescued. Every assailant needs a victim, so by putting your frame of reference within that of the role of victim then your only recourse is to find a rescuer. The important thing to note here is that it is a collaborative arrangement. The life-guard can only do his/her job if there is a probability that there will be those in need of rescue from the deep. People create and perpetuate these scenarios in order to enact internal dramas in a setting that can be expressed socially. The upshot being to resolve and overcome feelings of victimhood, so that true empowerment and compassion can come to the fore, without being summarily dismissed as being too complacent. To me that defines abuse, and is precisely the kind of belief that instigates a state of self-preservation where your choice becomes either to stop functioning or to become a martyr to the cause. Either way such a state is a willing disengagement from the world, a coping mechanism that is not conducive to good mental, emotional and physical health in either the short or the long-term. It is an interim state that as expressed above is meant to progress to a state of resolution and valued fulfilment. Even the Self-Help ethos that has prevailed through book-sales, courses, seminars etc. over the past 20 or so years has been a collaborative affair of a compassionate nature, despite the connotations that only the individual is truly responsible for the outcome of their actions. Which to a certain extent is true, but only within the context of one’s immediate subjective experience. We all live in a world full of billions of other individuals and that requires full and willing participation. If you can’t share your experiences including your problems and your worries without reprisal, then you cannot participate fully and willingly.
The flaw with the Self-Help approach is that it condones strength as a virtue, but still maintains that emotion must be kept in check, controlled so that it doesn’t upset the ‘natural balance’ of things. The problem that ‘rescuing your damn’ self’ presents is that it perpetuates a state of separation from the world. It generates sentiments and statements of defiance against the ills and aggressors of the world, and really isn’t at all helpful for the person in pain, or in need of emotional support. It doesn’t allow for full emotional expression, and thus stifles growth and creativity.
Despite popular belief, a smile is more powerful than a frown. That is to say that our natural state is to be compassionate and positive, not predatory and defensive. Except this world we live in continually maintains that asking for help is a sign of weakness, and that the giving of help is then seen as a commodity, something that can be exploited and cashed in on. Exploitation is exploitation no matter which way you cut it, true compassion is spontaneous and given freely, and sadly rare.