Things Left Undone by Adelaide Proctor
It isn't the thing you do, dearIt's the thing you leave undone,That gives you the bitter heartacheAt the setting of the sun;The tender word unspoken,The letter you did not write,The flower you might have sent, dear,Are your haunting ghosts at night.The stone you might have liftedOut of your brother's way,The bit of heartfelt counselYou were hurried too much to say;The loving touch of the hand, dear,The gentle and winsome tone,That you had not time or thought for,With troubles enough your own.These little acts of kindness,So easily out of mind,These chances to be angels,Which even mortals find--They come in nights of silence,To take away the grief,When hope is faint and feeble,And a drought has stopped belief.For life is all too short dear.And sorrow is all to great,TO allow our slow compassionThat tarries until too late.And it's not the thing you do dear,It's the thing you leave undone,That gives you the bitter heartache,At the setting of the sun.
Selfishness is suffocating the individual, stifling the family's ability to grow in meaningful ways, and stunting our overall spiritual elevation.
Most of us think of ourselves as giving, caring and loving people. But a closer look at what truly is being demanded of us by the spirit of God working in and through us, we'd see an abysmal picture.
We can't really see the myriad ways of our selfishness, because we don't have the awareness to discern it. But selfishness goes beyond giving, or not wanting to give, away "stuff" and sharing. Selfishness describes the ways we walk through life.
- If we close ourselves off from the world by not staying open to how our days can be changed in a minute by a stranger needing our help or attention: we are being selfish.
- If we're inflexible so that we remain totally unaffected by people, places and events in our environment: we are being selfish.
- When no one and nothing else matters but meeting our needs and seeing the world only through our eyes: we are being selfish.
|We Must Allow the Flow Of Our Talents and Gifts Into Life!|
There's a parable that's shared in Christianity about three men who were each given a talent by their master. The first man brought back three talents for the one he'd received; the second man brought back two talents for the one received, and the third man saved his and returned it to his master. This third man was promptly thrown in jail.
He'd hoarded his "talent."
Let's look more deeply at the real message of this story.
God gives us each skills, talents and gifts to walk in the world a certain way.
- Some of us will expand and use those talents, helping others along the way, thus multiplying our skills and talents into many generations.
- Others will do the best they can to grow in ways they feel led and will expand circumstances to benefit many others as well as themselves. They, too, will be blessed.
|Giving Our Gifts To The World Contributes To Growth for All|
- The third set will try to preserve their gifts and talents by staying focused on one thing, not expanding beyond where they started. Doing so, they limit those very gifts, stifling the good for all and shutting off a flow of good into the world.
When we close off the flow of good into the world, we also close it off from flowing back to us and our families. But many people don't see it that way. Instead, they view their selfishness as a form of self preservation. But this truly is wrong thinking!
Competitiveness breeds selfishness. We all want to win at any cost. We'd prefer to close off our skills and talents to preserve them for ourselves and our families, rather than share them with the larger community. Why share, when we can have it all? By being this way, we can elevate ourselves in our own eyes and those of the world. And, after all, isn't this what life is all about?
This stinking thinking must stop, if we are going to grow forward as a progressive society during this 21st Century. We see when those who think beyond their own companies, and their own needs, manage to elevate the ways of life for many. For examples, we've only got to look at the many critical developments made in the late 20th Century and being made today by those in the Information Technology field and in other industries changing and improving the quality of life for us all. See this FORTUNE piece: ("Must you be ruthless and selfish to be a really successful entrepreneur.") Yet, we've got much further to go: we've got to go beyond individual companies' ROI and our own individual wealth and riches and grow into societies where no group of people is left behind.
In "Mind Is The Master," James Allen writes that we must first discover this selfishness within ourselves, and understand it, before it can be removed.
"Seeing that in selfishness there is no security, no stability, no peace, the whole process of seeking the Kingdom resolves itself into a search for a principle; a divine and permanent Principle on which a man can stand secure, freed from himself---that is, from the personal element, from the tyranny and slavery which that personal self exacts and demands. A man must first of all be willing to lose himself (this self-seeking self) before he can find himself (his divine self.) He must realize that selfishness is not worth clinging to, that it is a master altogether unworthy of his service , and that divine Goodness alone is worthy to be enthroned in his heart as the supreme master of his life." -James AllenWe can rid ourselves of Selfishness, Allen writes, by going through Three Gateways of Surrender:
1. Surrender of Desire
2. Surrender of Opinion
3. Surrender of Self
|Surrender of Desire is the first step to Selflessness|
Surrender of Desire is achieved when we realize that we are a slave to both ourselves and our surroundings and circumstances. Realizing this, then, we are able to get to the second Gate, Surrender of Opinion, which relies on self-control, self-reliance, fearlessness and independence of thought.
"Here also he (man) will have to pass through ridicule and mockery and false accusation; so much so that some of his best friends, yea, even those whom he most unselfishly loves, will accuse him of folly and inconsistency, and will do all they can to argue him back to the life of animal indulgence, self-seeking and petty personal strife.
"Nearly everybody around him will suddenly discover that they know his duty better than he knows it himself, and, knowing no other and higher life than their own of mingled excitement and suffering, they will take great pains to win him back to it, imagining, in their ignorance, that he is losing so much pleasure and happiness, and is gaining nothing in return.
|Build Your Mountain by Surrender of Self|
"At first, this attitude of others toward him will arouse in him acute suffering, but he will rapidly discover that this suffering is caused by his own vanity and selfishness and is the result of his subtle desire to be appreciated, admired, and thought well of; and immediately this knowledge is arrived at, he will rise into a higher state of consciousness, where these things can no longer reach him and inflict pain."
Through development of humility, we learn to distinguish between Truth and others' opinions about Truth. We must learn that opinions about Goodness, Purity, Compassion and Love are very distinct from those qualities themselves, and that we must stand upon those divine Principles, and not upon people's opinions, Allen writes.
|We must Build A Community|
Photo Credit: Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura
Walking through these three gates to freedom ultimately boils down to things: 1. Having faith 2. Having the wisdom to discern the Truth.
Are you able to develop these key attributes to walk away from Selfishness and into Freedom?
As for me? I'm taking a slow, long walk to Freedom. It's trying on many days, but still I persevere.