You become what you
practice. This is most evident when you study and train for a
career. Whether learning to be a plumber or painter, teacher or
stock trader, gaining knowledge and skills is essential. By
constantly putting them to use, you gradually become proficient
in your chosen field. Similarly your goal to be a kind, caring
person requires commitment to learning and practicing. You don’t
just wake up one morning filled with the ‘milk of human
First you must commit to KNOWING yourself. This does not have to
be daunting. Constant introspection is not required. Just be
HONEST with yourself. You have your wants and desires. You
behave certain ways to fulfill them. And you know in your heart
how insidious some self-serving habits can be … how they can
dominate your life and make caring difficult. Examples abound.
Consider one, a most common propensity: Self-consciousness. You
walk into a restaurant. Strangers’ eyes are upon you. Your
thoughts and feelings immediately revolve around your
appearance, how you sound, the impressions you make. You try to
mask this with a semblance of maturity and sophistication. “How
are you?” “Haven’t we met?” Acceptable societal babble follows.
Sound familiar? Of course. We have all been there.
Self-conscious accommodation determines what you think and say.
Fortifying your ‘image’ is paramount. Focusing on the needs of
others rare. How often have you reflected afterwards and wished
you had acted differently? Been more yourself. Empathetic.
You are always learning about yourself. Often you are surprised
by what you think and do. You ‘mean well’ but something
‘inside’, ego perhaps, puts up a shield and hides behind it.
Your self-serving, self-preserving mechanism handicaps your
altruism. This can easily dominate your life. Loving others can
become too risky. What a tragedy this is. So many opportunities
lost. Can you change?
Of course. First, acknowledge your limitations, your habits.
Smile and accept them. They have a purpose: Your survival both
physical and psychological. Nothing wrong with a little pride in
who you are. Gives you confidence in the face of life’s many
challenges. But you must gradually supplant these self-serving
ways with ‘other’ oriented motives. Practicing caring in a
variety of ways is the ONLY sure way of diminishing the
obstinacy of SELF. Sincerely inquiring about others, about the
magnificence of creation all about you … this will release you
from ‘I am the center of the world’, ‘me first’ bondage.
You will gradually develop a more open ‘heart’ and a more
sharing one. Virtuous behavior will be embraced: Humility,
empathy, faith and hope in the triumph of love. You will become
aware of an emerging YOU … who acknowledges and ‘follows’ the
precepts for growing spiritually. The insignificant,
self-serving YOU will be transformed into a gracious, empowering
entity receptive to Eternal Love.
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