Self-sufficiency and Cooperation

(This article responds to comments from the previous article.)

Self-sufficiency is a worthwhile tool, but not exactly what we  think it is. In some things, it is helpful and can move us forward, but in others, it can be harmful and move us backward. While it is an ideal that can provide some benefits, the axiom is true – no man (person) is an island. In the same way, no family can be an island. We live in a world where we strive to join together and cooperate with each other. Almost everything we have in our lives is a result of both family member and non-family member cooperation to build our society, our community, our nation, or our world. To say that the opposite is good – self-sufficiency – the more the better – and reliance on others is a bad thing that we need to get away from is to not acknowledge that all things in life have come from cooperation between one person and another. Cooperation is the working with and relying on others to contribute what they can to a task.

If we thought we were islands unto ourselves, even on farms, first we would have to acknowledge that our tractors, vehicles and tools were made by other people who joined together to make them, our fuel was refined by other people cooperating, our seeds and animals may have come from cooperating individuals, our education is provided by other cooperating people, our understanding of math, science, the world, how things work, how things can be fixed have been provided by cooperation with other people, our medical needs are provided by other people who joined together, law enforcement, the task of fire response, and our religious and spiritual understanding came from people who have been cooperating to develop them. Books, machines, our dwellings, our learning, our …. everything comes from cooperation amongst family or non-family people. Show me anything that has progressed humankind further and I’ll show you where cooperation among people coming together to form groups to accomplish tasks was a part of that. So, self-sufficiency is only one “tool” and not a “savior” of sorts.

Even to send a message that the people in government are not trustworthy – which is why many say self-sufficiency is necessary – is to deny the fact that many, many people go into public service with the belief in their hearts that they can help or they can try to make a difference. In general, these are not shallow people, but people like you and I who see a need, see a potential avenue to help, and then want to try to help. How many times have any of us thought, “I know I could do a better job than that if I was in that job”?  Well, they are the ones who try to do that ‘better job’.  This belief in our hearts doesn’t just disappear the 1st day in office. In general, they try hard to hold onto that belief and ideal as they maneuver through the mine fields of all the people pulling on them. Psychically, I can see cooperation among many people who are elected, in order to try to do some good. I can see decent people, like us, that try to do what they believe can help. Not everyone succeeds, but enough people, hold onto their hope to help – with their efforts sometimes hidden to public scrutiny – in order to say that it is not true that “government is not to be trusted”, because “government” is just people – trying. Psychically, I don’t see a lot of prayers being said for them to maneuver through their mine fields full of challenges and temptations. If any group of people needs our supportive prayers, these people could certainly benefit from our prayers to help support their resolve to serve and to strengthen the courage of their convictions. But, how many people pray for those they look down upon and disdain – elected officials?  There are very few prayers coming from the people who criticize and condemn them.

I won’t discuss whether there are good or bad people involved in government service, because there are good and bad people involved in every aspect of life. There is even good and bad – both – in every single individual on this planet. In addition, the beneficial things in life that have helped further societies’ helpful development and evolution have come with ever greater cooperation among people as part of the tools bringing forth that development and evolution.

No “blanket” view or “stereotypical” view or “black and white” view or “condemning” view is going to offer the truth of the situation or with people. These views are going to be very easy and popular to take on, though. Yet, seeing both sides, or a deeper and balanced view takes willingness to do just that, and then effort and change. We tend to not want to see the truth of other people – the humanness within all people – because we sometimes want to vent our frustration and find easy targets of blame – like political figures. But, the truth is nowhere around when we base our beliefs on seeing people of one group or one position or one anything as being who is to blame, and therefore not worthy of prayers that help them. Nor is the truth around when we decide that only one way of living is worthwhile.

Life is cooperation, as much as anything else. The whole world is at our level of development and evolution because of cooperation throughout the ages, and the whole human race knows that better things can happen and more people can be helped when cooperation happens. If you’re wondering if you’ve ever been helped, because you couldn’t do something by yourself, I would ask anyone who reads this, were you helped to be born? Were you helped by others to grow up as a baby, adolescent, child, teenager and as an adult? Were you only helped by your family? or child care personnel? or teachers? or friends? Police? shopkeepers? barbers? elected officials? service people? Ministers? Priests? Doctors? Firemen?  Bus drivers?  Engineers?  Mechanics?  Architects?  Can you count how many people have helped you in some way, large or small, directly and indirectly, throughout your entire life? With all that help, can we really say ‘Self-sufficiency” is what we think it is?  or isolate any effort or group to condemn?

Right now, there are 7 billion people cooperating on this planet in the task of being alive together trying to live a life while still trying to support the freewill of every soul. Even with the pain and suffering being inflicted by some – very few, now, want to ever again cooperate to bring the taking away of freewill based on who a person is or was born being. We’re working to find ways to cooperate with accepting living on this planet while building lives we believe are better. 7 billion souls believe it’s worth the effort to try to be on the planet right now.  Some of that effort finds that relying only on ourselves – self-sufficiency – does indeed help in some areas of our lives – but that self-sufficiency alone – could never be the only answer.  The paradox is we can only have self-sufficiency within the paradigm of cooperation and joining with others.

We have been designed by God to need one another and for a purpose.  All of this is designed to be part of the path back to the awareness and cooperation within our relationship with God.

For those of us who seek to contribute something to the human race, or “to help make this world of people a better place when we leave it than when we came in,” we also try to find ways to cooperate with our spiritual essence in order to find ways to add something worthwhile to this world.

Ultimately, when we learn how important it is to cooperate in all our relationships, because we are not islands at any level, we may then learn how important it is to cooperate with God inside the relationship we have with God, Him/Herself directly. In learning how to do this, we can find that cooperating with humankind is, in fact, cooperating with God. Cooperating with God is, in fact, cooperating with humankind – whether it’s done with one person, a hundred, or 7 billion.


“Go deeper.  Look deeper.  Examine deeper.  The deeper we pursue, the more truth we discover.” (The Rainbow Cards, ©, 2015, Jodie Senkyrik)

5 thoughts on “Self-sufficiency and Cooperation

  1. Have you ever read the book series, the CROSS TIME ENGINEER? Its a neat little fun easy read about someone with a lot of knowlege gets trapped in the past and his journey to bring a less technical world up to speed so to speak. The author full name escapes me.
    I mention this because in the first book, there is one of the best explanations of the workings of government I have ever read.

    I too believe or rather have to believe a person first runs for office to give back to the community that has been in some cases good to him or her or yes sees a need a truly believes he or she can affect? effect? A change.

    So why do these good people become not so good a few scant years down the road? I believe it is the system or rules they must use to govern.

    This first book and its explanation certainly changed the way or at least help me to explain behavior on the government level. The UN-elected certainly have very much to do with this. Those entrenched which hold their jobs for years and years who are invisible to the voting public in my opinion can be serious speed bumps to those who see the need for change.

    Anyway on a lighter side. That series of books is a fun read if you like reading books which have to do with Kings and Knights and Lords.



  2. Well stated Jodie. You and your readers might be interested in reading this blog post from Joseph Riggio. He too discusses the idea of “cooperation and altruism” although he looks at it from a scientific/sociological perspective. He offers an interesting “new” society view point at the end of the article. Here is the link:


  3. Hi all,

    Sorry if this comment is kind of long and not strictly pertinent to Jodie’s post. But I was reading Venerable Master Hsuan Hua’s commentary on the Shurangama Sutra when I came across the excerpt below. I feel it is particularly relevant to psychic visions or predictions and how the karma and event can be changed due to prayer and virtue:

    ……inauspicious signs. They see two suns, two moons, comets, shooting stars, rainbows and secondary rainbows, and all kinds of inauspicious astrological signs.

    In China, in the past, every time there was a shift in dynastic rule, every time the dynasty or the emperor changed, these kinds of inauspicious things always appeared. Long ago in China an emperor who saw some inauspicious signs asked Qin Tien Jian, an astrologer, what their meaning was. Qin Tien Jian answered that they pointed to the death of the king. “But I have a way for you to pass off the calamity on the prime minister.”

    ”That would not be permissible,” said the emperor. “If I am meant to die, how can I put it off on the prime minister? The prime minister looks after important matters in the country. It would never do for him to die.”

    Qin Tien Jian said, “Well if you don’t want the prime minister to die in your place, you can have the people die in his place. It can be turned on the populace at large.”

    ”The people are the foundation of the state,” said the emperor. “If the people were to die, what meaning would my imperial reign have? That’s also impermissible.” He didn’t want to do that, either.

    Qin Tien Jian said, “Then you can transfer the calamity to the year. This year the people will starve to death. That would also be possible.”

    ”But that won’t do, either.” said the emperor. “I don’t want to starve the people! It’s meaningless to be that kind of an emperor.”

    So then Qin Tien Jian bowed to the emperor. “You are truly a just emperor. With so much good in your heart, I am certain that you will not die. There has been an evil omen, but it can change and become auspicious.” And the next day the evil omen disappeared. It is clear from this incident that although evil omens manifest, the evil can be transformed into something lucky. It all lies in a single thought of people’s minds. If in a single thought you change, then what might have been evil can turn into something auspicious. The practice of lighting incense and reciting the Buddha’s name before something is about to happen is another method for bringing about a change. Calamities and blessings lie in a single thought to change. Lao Zi said:

    If the mind brings forth good,
    that good affects what has not yet happened
    and turns it into something auspicious.
    If the mind brings forth evil,
    that evil affects what has not yet happened
    and turns it into something horrendous.

    In this connection, there are auspicious spirits and evil spirits. You should not think that all spirits are good. The business of evil spirits is repayment in kind. They punish whoever does something wrong. Good spirits protect people who do good. Each spirit has its responsibilities. So the changing of a single thought is extremely important. The fact that that emperor could take responsibility for his own death, and not have the prime minister or the people stand in for him or cause the year to be a bad one, allowed him to encounter the evil and turn it into good. So these matters are all subject to change. They are certainly not fixed.

    I am reminded of Yuan Liao Fan, originally called Yuan Xiao Hai, who was an official of the Ming dynasty. After he finished school, his father told him to study to be a doctor, because doctors can save people’s lives as well as make a good living. After he began studying medicine, he met an old man named Kong, who had a long beard, and who was skilled in physiognomy and divination. When he saw Yuan Xiao Hai, he said, “You should go to school! You are an official.”

    Yuan Xiao Hai said, “But my father, mother, and family all want me to be a doctor.”

    ”Don’t study medicine,” was the reply. “You can go to school, and in such and such a year you will achieve such and such a rank in the imperial examination, and in such and such a year you will become a high-ranking official. Then in such and such a year, on such and such a day, you will become a magistrate, and you will become well known. Then, when you are fifty-four, on the fourteenth day of the eighth month, at midnight, your life will come to an end. You will have no sons.” Not only did the old man date the important events of Yuan Xiao Hai’s life, he even calculated the day of his death.

    After the divination, Yuan Xiao Hai did go to school, and it turned out that the divination was unbelievably accurate. The rank he achieved in the imperial examination was exactly what old Kong had predicted. The divination didn’t miss by the breadth of a hair. In fact, it was so accurate that Yuan Xiao Hai didn’t even read any longer. What did he do? He waited. He sat there and waited for the bread to come to him.

    There’s a well-known saying in China: “You just sit on the bed and wait for the salt cakes to fall,” which means one doesn’t do anything at all. One just waits for nature to take its course, waits for one’s destiny to unfold. That’s also a mistake. That’s the way Yuan Xiao Hai was then. He didn’t do anything at all. He didn’t even read. He thought, whatever my fate is to be, I will certainly not fail to receive it. I don’t have to study anything. I don’t have to seek anything. It will certainly come on its own.

    So he roamed in the mountains and played in the water and traveled all over on a grand holiday. He took a long-term vacation and didn’t do a thing. Eventually his travels led him to Nan Jing to Qi Sha mountain, where he heard that Dhyana Master Yuan Gu resided. So he went there to see him. Dhyana Master Yuan Gu handed him a round cushion, and the two of them sat in meditation. They sat facing each other for three days and neither of them moved. Dhyana Master Yuan Gu was very surprised.

    ”Oh,” he said. “Where do you come from? You are a vessel especially endowed with the Way. You’ve sat for three days without having to shift your legs or move at all.”

    Yuan Xiao Hai replied, “I know that everything is predetermined, so I hope for nothing. That’s why I don’t have any false thoughts when I sit here, and so I don’t feel any pain in my legs..

    Where does the pain in your legs come from? It comes from your false thoughts, that is, the false views which this sutra discusses. Because of false views, your legs ache. If you haven’t any false views, if you have true views, your legs will not hurt. Yuan Xiao Hai said that since he didn’t have any greed and didn’t seek for anything, he didn’t have any false thinking, and so when he sat it was not necessary to move.

    Dhyana Master Yuan Gu said, “I’d thought you were an extraordinary person. But as it turns out, you’re just an ordinary person.”

    That upset Yuan Xiao Hai. “Why do you say I am an ordinary person?” Everyone wants to come out on top, and Yuan Xiao Hai didn’t want to finish second, either. As soon as he was called an ordinary person, he was unhappy.

    Dhyana Master Yuan Gu said to him, “If you weren’t an ordinary person, you wouldn’t have been tied down by your fate for the last several decades. You are bound up by your destiny and haven’t transcended it in the least.”

    Yuan Xiao Hai said, “Can one transcend fate? Is it possible not to be bound by one’s destiny?”

    Dhyana Master Yuan Gu said, “You’re a scholar. Doesn’t the I Ching say, ‘Bring out the auspicious and avoid the evil’?” That’s what the emperor I just told you about did. He brought out the auspicious and avoided the evil.

    After that Yuan Xiao Hai changed his name to Yuan Liao Fan, “putting an end to the ordinary.” “I’m not an ordinary person,” he said. “I have finished with being an ordinary person.” And after that the earlier divination no longer came true. It was said that he would die at fifty-four, on the fourteenth day of the eighth month, but he didn’t die then.

    His horoscope said he would have no sons, but he had two. He lived to be over eighty. So one’s fate is not fixed. And the auspicious and inauspicious are not fixed, either. All you have to do is do good, for as soon as you change your mind everything changes. Why are things inauspicious? Because your mind has inauspiciousness in it. That is why you encounter inauspicious circumstances. This proves that false views give rise to false causes and conditions. If your views are true, the false causes and conditions disappear.



    • This doesn’t take up any extra room, and you’re welcome to write as much as you choose. Perhaps this would work as one of your blog articles, with a link for people to connect to it.


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