March 7, 2010–Life is full of joys and disappointments. Both have life lessons to be learned. However, it is often the painful times through which most spiritual growth occurs.
Consider your youth. Did you enter the job market full of energy to make positive change? Did you prepare by gaining information and skills related to your intended life pursuits? Did you dream of making a valuable contribution to social issues through education, medicine, law, social policy or work, political science, or other service profession?
What happened when you began working in your chosen field? What were the attitudes you encountered? If you were a new teacher, how were you accepted? Did you have to prove yourself to your peers? Were you given all the assignments nobody else wanted? Did you feel supported, or alienated? Are you still teaching, or did you choose another path? What fulfillment have you found? What disappointments have you experienced?
If you prepared in the field of healthcare, how many caring peers have you encountered? What were their motives for choosing the healthcare field: service? financial gain? both? Do they still care? Did they ever care? What motivates you? Are you still excited about your work? Are you disappointed or disillusioned?
Early teachings at home, school, and places of worship may stress a caring attitude and the responsibility to provide service to one’s community or nation, or to humanity. Think of college students who become politically active. They look at the world with hope, dreaming of making a difference. What happens when they enter the “real world “? Can they maintain their enthusiasm to make positive change when faced with bureaucratic thinking, power-struggles, and ego-based agendas? Where can they go for inspiration and support so that they don’t become bitter–accepting the status-quo as “just the way it is” or the only way to the top of the career ladder?
We can make our world better. We can give caring support to those who are hurting. We can stop discrimination in all of its ugly forms. We can work together with those with similar passions. We can keep our enthusiasm for life and what we want to accomplish in our few years upon this earth. How?
From my own disappointments, I will share what I’ve learned so far.
1. Caring isn’t found in a title, office, or job description. It’s found only in the heart of a person.
2. Find the people who care at all levels of society. You may find them volunteering for causes close to their hearts.
3. Beware of people with great ego needs. They will step on any who get in their way.
4. Note those who are materialistic. Their focus on materialism may signal their need to accumulate, rather than to give.
5. Be cautious, even in volunteer organizations, as some are using positions to garner political favor.
6. Listen to what people say, but focus on their actions. Do they “walk the talk”? What do they really value?
7. Raise world consciousness by developing personal consciousness. As we develop new awareness, we will increasingly be able to demonstrate our love for humanity.
8. Be inclusive. Caring is found in all races, abilities or disabilities, and personal life expressions. Said another way: Caring may be found where we least expect it.
9. Believe that love is stronger than hate, and let love be your guide in all decisions.
10. When you are hurt and disappointed by the behavior of others, find new opportunities for service.
All of life is full of some disappointment. Even the baby learns through disappointment when he must share, or wait for gratification. In all painful experiences there are valuable lessons to be learned if we can remember to ask, “What am I to learn from this experience?”
This Meditation is dedicated to all those who care, and who work toward improving the quality of life of others.
Sue Kidd Shipe, Ph.D.
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