Many people find the process of asking someone for something to be very difficult. Most people try to master this problem through action. Perhaps you have done it too. One way to master this problem is to get on your knees on a busy street and to beg for alms. That’s how many religious and esoteric traditions handled this situation traditionally. It turns out, one gets used to this fast and begging turns into a habitual, daily work. In the process of doing it, your inner state may change, but it does not mean that you understood, processed, and felt this experience thoroughly. You simply exchange one habit for another. You were in a habit of not begging, and now you develop a habit of begging. As soon as a certain action becomes habitual, you stop being aware of it. So, what kind of a state appears when you have to ask someone for something? Would you like to investigate this question?
Why am I ashamed to ask someone for something?
— I would like to investigate a state a human being who has to ask someone for something is in. A problem hides there that I have not noticed previously. Over the last few months, I observed that I am stressed by it. I always avoided asking other people for help. I always try to do everything myself. I think I have always tried to do everything by myself. Perhaps, that is the reason I was good in school. I never cheated on a test. It is difficult for me to ask my relatives to do something for me. It is even more difficult to ask a stranger for something.
— What do you feel when you ask someone to do something for you? Why is it a problem for you?
— I am not sure what I feel. I think it is a problem, because I am in the habit of doing everything by myself.
— You have said, “I am used to do everything by myself. That’s why I don’t ask.” But, certain things you cannot do on your own.
— I am talking about asking people that I don’t know well.
— What happens when you ask someone that you don’t know well?
— I experience stress and anxiety. I expect to be refused.
— Okay. Let’s say, someone refused to help you. What happens next?
— Nothing, I am going to ask someone else, but this uncomfortable state of anxiety will remain.
— You have never allowed yourself to get in touch with this state. Try to see it now as you see your hands. What kind of a state is it? Are you ready to get in touch with this state and see it?
— Well, I was in touch with it quite a few times. I asked people before …
— But, you don’t want to experience this state again. You try to do everything by yourself. Why? Is it because you don’t want to experience this unpleasant for you state again?
— Yes. Unfortunately, I will probably have to ask many people for help now in order to experience this state again.
— Do you want to master this problem through action? You can find a place on a street corner and start asking for alms. But, it turns out one gets used to it fast and it turns into a habitual, daily work. Your state may change as you do that, but it does not mean that you really feel it through. You simply exchange one habit for another. You were in a habit of not begging, and now you develop a habit of begging. As soon as a certain action becomes habitual, you stop being aware of it.
For example, for people who make their living begging on the street corners, begging turns into a habitual, mechanical action. Perhaps, you have noticed that some bums beg as if people were to owe them. They don’t beg, they demand. People who on the face of it perform the same action, in our case begging, may experience very different states. It is unlikely that by asking for help more frequently you will be able to get deeper into the state you discuss.
Actually, you can get in touch and feel this state right now, here. The method you described will just postpone it for you. In order to see something, you don’t have to do anything special. It does not require any preparation. You can get to experience this state right now.
So, what kind of a state do you get into when you have to ask someone for something? Do you want to investigate this question? I think it is important for every one of us. The question is to give or to take? A human being is alive only as long as he inhales and exhales. One has to breathe all the time. To give and to take is similar to inhalation and exhalation. We can see it as a breath of life that constantly passes through us—an interaction of our internal and external worlds. When I give something to someone, I exhale something into the external world: my thoughts, feelings, intentions, and actions. When I take something from someone, I inhale. His thoughts and feelings enter me. What if this exchange was to get interrupted? What if one were to try to inhale or to exhale only? Try to inhale for five minutes or try only to exhale. How long will you be able to do that? What happens when you want to ask someone for something? What kind of a state do you get in?
To work up the ability to ask is to work up a technical side, a skill. But even if you were to learn this skill, you would not be able to exit the limitations of your own notions of the concept «give—take». Irrespective of our notions about it, this process occurs all the time. It occurs based on the natural laws that cannot be understood by the superficial, conditioned mind which is limited by the ideas of the false personality.
If you have decided to beg in order to work up this skill, it means that your personality wants to acquire the ability to beg. For the man who does not know how to beg, the necessity of doing so is very painful; it traumatizes his personality. When alms are being refused to him, his personality feels somewhat less convincing, less worthy. It feels traumatized.
Now, let’s take a man who knows how to beg. He learned and perfected his technique. He can ask and beg twenty different ways. He can get down to his knees. He can crawl and shed tears. But, this is just a skill; it does not touch him internally. He is just playing the role of a beggar. If we were to look deeper into the personality of this man, we would see that as a result of all these operations—getting to his knees, crawling, and shedding tears—his personality gets reinforced. Why does it happen? It happens because he is doing it professionally. He doesn’t care how he does it. Only the results are important for him.
We cannot say that he does not know how to beg. He begs in such a way that it is impossible to refuse him. If it is necessary, he can wet twenty handkerchiefs with the crocodile tears. He knows which method to use with a given human being, and the arsenal of his methods is vast.
What about a karmic debt to a man who robbed you? This is not a habit. This is a notion that allows a personality to soothe itself in the situations when it feels humiliated and insulted. Some personalities can use it and pacify themselves. It is a very sly method. But this method in no way questions the presence of the personality itself, the opportunity of its future existence.
The question «To give or to take? » is connected to a profit. One thinks, “Why would I ask him for something, when I would have to return something later on?” One starts to think what he gains and what he loses in connection with it. When the mind calculates all these factors, I start to feel dissatisfaction, and I don’t want to ask for anything as it seems to me I am going to lose more than I will gain. Those are the questions of the account balance.
But let us ask ourselves, “Is a human being just a personality or is he more than just a personality?” The state that appears in you in connection to the necessity to ask someone for something points to a certain installation of your personal program. By deciphering this installation, you will find something about your personality. This is the meaning behind the uncomfortable state that comes hand in hand with a necessity to ask someone for something. It is a signal that attracts the attention of self-investigator to the structure and organization of his personal program.
What happens to you when you ask someone for something? Try to feel this now. Is it easy for you to enter this state? Are you meeting resistance? What kind of thoughts, feelings, body sensations appear along with a necessity to ask?
In order to answer these questions you have to be able to de-identify with your states, thoughts, and sensations, i.e. to look at them from the side and to be able to describe them. This is a transition to the state of the observer, the state that is greater than the personality.