Most of us have a desire to help others and to help the world, but we usually find ourselves at a loss.
“What should I do?”—possibilities often seem distant, many steps away from us, or seem to require personal sacrifice we are unsure about.
You may, for example, want to give support to a friend who’s going through a rocky period. At the same time, you feel hesitant, because you don’t want to get caught in the emotional turmoil they’re experiencing, feel drained afterwards or, with only limited free time, you may balk at the idea of having to sacrifice activities you find nurturing.
But is giving up your own welfare a necessary requisite? What if you knew how to transform your helping that is supportive for you as well as for the people you want to help?
Breema, the Art of Being Present, has a unique and practical philosophy that naturally applies to the topic of helping. And instead of taking something from us, Breema’s way of helping supports both giver and receiver.
According to the philosophy of Breema, being present is the key to helping.
When we are present, our body, mind and emotions work together in harmony, which brings us to a new level of consciousness. In those moments we are connected to that consciousness, we are naturally more able to do things in a way that supports harmony for ourselves and others. We no longer feel that the people we help “owe us,” because we are nurtured and supported by our efforts to support others.
Breema uses its Nine Principles of Harmony as a lens through which to approach the subject of helping. The principles are accurate descriptions of how we are when we are present, and also provide direction for how to become present. And according to Breema, we have to be present in order for the help we give to really be helpful, because for any action to have a harmonious effect, it needs to come from presence.
Breema’s Nine Principles of Harmony are:
Firmness and Gentleness
Single Moment/Single Activity
No Hurry/No Pause
By becoming familiar with these principles and developing a “working relationship” with them, we can increase harmony in all aspects of our lives.
Let’s start with:
Body Comfortable: At any moment you “check in” with yourself, you’ll find there is something small you can do to make your body more comfortable. As you continue to work with this seemingly obvious principle, you will discover an unfolding depth to it that never ends. For example, you may find out that your body isn’t truly comfortable when you mind or emotions aren’t. Going deeper, you may see that the people around you have to be comfortable, too, in order for you to really be comfortable.
This naturally leads into another of the Nine Principles: Mutual Support. Working with this principle, you find that when all the parts of the body support each other, you function better. Going a little deeper, mind has to support the body, and body has to support the mind. In true giving, you simultaneously receive.
Mutual Support leads you to another principle: Full Participation (in fact, every principle is connected to all of the other principles). True fulfillment is achieved by fully participating in whatever you are doing. When you engage your whole body in an activity, and bring the mind’s relaxed attention to it (while doing it willingly), body, mind, and feelings are working together, participating fully.
Let’s look at how a few of the principles can apply:
1. Body Comfortable. For our body to be truly comfortable, our mind and feelings need to participate in what we’re doing. This never happens automatically—it takes intention and practice. When we have Body Comfortable, our help is more easily received, because it is given with a calm, centered energy.
2. Mutual Support. Help is real help when both giver and recipient benefit. By staying connected to our own experience, we can discover what to offer, and in what way. Proper help makes the giver more balanced, calm and energetic.
3. No Judgment. The person or situation we are trying to help never needs our criticism. Nor do we need to judge the result of our efforts. Coming to the present helps to experience that we are not separate from others, and so supports us to let go of blame.
4. No Force. Help should be given as an offering, not forced on others. Force engenders resistance. Letting go of force supports us to interact harmoniously.
5. Single Moment/Single Activity. What we are doing in this very moment deserves our full energy and attention, free of distracting thoughts based in the past or the future. Being present in every moment we can is the best “preparation” for the future.
By starting with these simple principles in whatever way we can, we begin to relate to them more practically and more deeply.
Because they constantly orient us to do what we can do to be more present in each moment, so our helping supports harmony—for others, for ourselves and for all life.
Jon Schreiber, D.C. is the director of the Breema Center and the Breema Clinic. He has been teaching Breema nationally and internationally since 1980, and is the author of numerous books and articles on the philosophy, principles, and practice of Breema.“Breema has been the most important transformative influence in my life, and the source and foundation of my most meaningful experiences. Breema supports our essential desires—those we know of and those we haven’t yet discovered—from the desire for more balance and harmony in our mind, feelings, and body, to the desire to relate harmoniously to other people, to the desire to take a step towards discovering and fulfilling the purpose and meaning of our life.”
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Assistant Ed: Terri Tremblett/Ed: Bryonie Wise