If we are going to undertake spiritual practice, then we have to know what we bring to the table. Until we are clear about our own systems, we can only go so far in sadhana. We are required to know what we bring to the table and discern how appropriate it is at any moment.
An important element that people speak about is care. What does it mean to truly care for someone or something? I have written before on what genuine care is; now I want to tease out some important distinctions that people all too often fail to see.
|Caring||Cold / unfeeling / uncaring|
Many people conflate caring for a person, place, or thing with feeling guiltily responsible for that person, place, or thing. The guiltily responsible person believes he is “taking care of” whomever or whatever, when in truth he is trying to keep things in their place and quiet. There is no allowing for what is really going on; all discomfort is to be smoothed over. The guiltily responsible person takes responsibility for discomfort, and then sees himself as responsible for everything—responsible in a more or less guilty way. This vibration of guilty responsibility is what he calls “caring.”
A true caregiver always wants what is best for the person, place, or thing. This may include—actually, it often includes—discomfort so that resolution can occur. A true caregiver is honest, and does not encourage dependency.
A guiltily responsible person wants to soothe. He lulls the “cared for” person to sleep so that they do not feel what they refuse to face. A true caregiver helps the person to get beyond their discomfort by facing it. When you are guiltily responsible, you just step up to the plate without being asked; it is expected that you solve everything.
The qualities of a career victim resonate with those of a guiltily responsible person. Within the career victim, the qualities of the guiltily responsible also reside, and vice versa. The two types tend to seek each other out. The career victim uses their potential as bait for the guiltily responsible; the guiltily responsible wants to be the indispensable guide and support for the career victim. A guiltily responsible person is always attracting a predatory career victim, and a career victim is always attracting a guiltily responsible person—it is a kind of mutual predation.
The guiltily responsible therefore sees the career victim as occupying the top left corner of this fourchotomy:
|Full of potential||Lost cause|
|Missing out||Nothing to lose|
The true caregiver would be very cautious with a career victim. The true caregiver would know that if the person appreciated their potential they would be working to manifest it.
Just as the career victim will always find the guiltily responsible and reject the real caregiver, a person needing and appreciating real care will seek out a true caregiver. The true caregiver has the qualities of the person who seeks care appropriately, and attracts someone truly looking for care.
The fourchotomy below shows these four elements, which need to be separated out, seen clearly, and understood. As we grow, we learn to tell the differences among the four possibilities within this limited system.
|Guiltily responsible||Knowing agent|
|True caregiver||Career victim|
Now we can see how the true caregiver and the knowing agent actually work together for resolution, while the guiltily responsible and the career victim perpetuate a toxic system.
The true caregiver:
Wants what is best
Does not distract
Keeps to purpose
Takes responsibility for what is within control
Has good boundaries
The person seeking appropriate care (the knowing agent):
Has work ethic
Does not dump on caregiver
Does not blame inappropriately
Knows limits of what to expect from caregiver
The guiltily responsible:
Lowers the bar
Affirms the other’s narrative
Does not push
No encouragement to change or grow
No encouragement to remove ignorance
Encourages no agency in order to maintain power and control
Encourages magical thinking
The career victim:
An object controlled by whatever
Engages in magical thinking that will solve everything
Knowing what true care is and bringing that to the table is not easy. It cannot just be a decision we make; it is the fruit of a heart that has worked hard to purify itself. If we want Love, we must do that work, so that we can recognize and manifest true care.
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