QUESTION: What is the difference between being helpful and being useful?

ANSWER by Mr P: "When we are helpful we are creating connection (with the ‘event’) from within. The ‘help’ goes towards a subject – be it a person or a situation – and requires our 50% engagement. Not 50% in relation to outcome, but 50% in relation to our participation with our experience of the item requiring our help. It is always an inner/outer reflection. I may help you cook dinner and although I may be in the wings in relation to direct involvement, my engagement with my desire to help you – whether purely to assist you, or to create a faster dinner on my table – is personal. No-one – and I mean no-one – can decide this for us. We may say “Oh but I had no choice if I wanted to see dinner this side of 9pm,” but this would be a lie. The choice is always there. ‘Helpful’, therefore, is a self-realising choice. And this is why it is such a valuable question you pose. For many think they are helping others but are in fact, solely helping themselves.

Being useful is altogether different, though both may occur simultaneously – and hence an area of mix-up. For when someone has been asked to help, and help is given against one’s inner choice, though we may dare not admit this, recrimination surfaces. For you see, being ‘useful’ can only occur when one is both asked and the response or corresponding action is given unconditionally. And it is this area of unconditionality which creates the confusion. For how can we give unconditionally if it is truly a choice?

When assistance is asked of us, we have two responses: to differ (put to one side) or to detect (act, through awareness or physical action). When we chose the latter, we decide, clearly and swiftly, to step forward and be present. We give unconditionally to the other or the situation. Presence moves to a place of sublime flow and always the connection will be effortless, inspired and relatable. Always.

When however there is resistance, but still action is taken, then conditions arise. The outcome from this place will be very different. We will have ‘done the right thing’, but not ‘done what feels right’. Fear – through indecision; there being two paths (always present in fear) – rules the show. But when aligned, there is no ‘choice’ of outcome in one’s awareness, just the decision, clearly, to step forward, unconditionally, to assist.

Letting go, unconditionally into assisting another – when one has been asked, very important! – comes with experience and self-trust. Trust remains so strong that it creates the awareness, boundaries and safety of the experience. It at once becomes safe to assist, and as one steps to a higher frequency (as like attracts like, one can rest assured of a ‘mutual’ response from the person or situation) the divine nature of the moment explodes into being. The request for the help, as ‘divine’ and unconditional as the response or considered action. This is being useful.

So how to differentiate and discriminate on a daily basis? Well, deeply consider all offers of help. All. Notice what part of you is offering to help. Is it for you, or for the other? “I must help.” “There must be something I can do” as an energy often prevents the identification of truly where the help is needed. In reaching to help over there, we can overlook the help being requested over here. Presence, awareness, listening, seeing: are all in service of the offer of assistance – not in order to promote our image of oneself, but in order to offer unconditionality. This is true service.

In listening, seeing, we start to notice. When compelled, we firstly check ourselves. If the desire persists to offer help or assistance, we may do so – as long as it is unconditional and emotive: that it fuels and feeds desire within us – i.e. keeps us in flow and wellbeing (with practice this become more profound and ‘en-light-ened’). We may offer, with both hands metaphorically outstretched, and then, vitally, we step back, hands back by our side. We create space – and the opportunity for response. We let go, cut the ties with attachment, and be. We remain openhearted and unattached to outcome. And we be; just a little more. If, within this space, the other wishes to ask for help, we then engage in a mutually respectful exchange. This is useful. This is the undercurrent of life.

When exchanges become messy, life becomes messy. When exchanges become simple, pure, peaceful, life becomes simple, pure, peaceful. Help becomes useful. The key is trust and embracing the unconditionality of one’s nature.

Wonderful question! Thank you."