• Mina Semyon

Giving Authentic Help

The following is an extract from my new book 'Yoga Stories for Healthy Living'


‘Here let me help you’, said the monkey, putting the fish up the tree’

To be of help to others we need to watch out not to put our hidden agendas onto other people in the name of helping. Ronnie Laing used to quote the Hippocratic Oath, ‘Do no harm’, emphasizing that one can do harm by ‘trying’ to ‘do good’; he also said, ‘One human cannot wake another up; the best we can do is not to sing lullabies to those who are waking up.’

My understanding of ‘not trespassing’ is having respect for the other person's inner sanctum, the inviolate place within. My aim in my classes is to create space for each of us to experience our presence together, giving us glimpses of faith, based on our own experience, that there is life beyond our habitual preoccupations. Presence is nearer to us than our breath. Each individual unfolds and grows according to his or her own pace and rhythm, and the important thing in helping is not to get in the way of that unfolding. A good teacher will give instructions and encourage the confidence that is already within the student. I think that the only authentic help we can give is that of helping others to help themselves to get in touch with what’s already there.




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