If you’re observant enough, it doesn’t take long to realize that it is reeeeally difficult to cross paths with someone who cares. So often, everything that people do, is self serving, even an act of service. Giving, can actually be one of the most egocentric forms of expression. Let me be clear, I am not saying that giving IS an egocentric form of expression, I am saying that it CAN BE, depending on what giving does for the giver.
A lot of times people give as a way of saying: Look at me! Look what I can do, how much I can do, how big my heart is; look at the karmic capital I’m collecting! It’s another stroke of feel good, just like a new pair of shoes, a reason to step out…chin up. But giving and caring should be the exact opposite.
Karen Armstrong offered an extraordinary explanation in her latest book: true compassion is the ability to dethrone yourself from the center of your universe and place someone else in the heart. It is the genuine ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
During the holidays, it is natural to squeeze in a good deed or two, and while those things go a long way, they will never hold a candle to the light that true compassion can generate. I am a firm believer that if people moved out of their own way long enough to truly focus on others, most, if not all, of the world’s plight could be eradicated. Feel free to call me an idealist, but what do we have to lose? I’m just trying to figure out who cares.