The Art of "Caring"

The Theosophical ideas of charity mean personal exertion for others; personal mercy and kindness; personal interest in the welfare of those who suffer; personal sympathy, forethought and assistance in their troubles or needs.

—H. P. Blavatsky

Open your eyes and seek another human being in need of a little time, a little friendliness, a little company, a little work. It may be a lonely, an embittered, a sick or an awkward person for whom you can do something, to whom you can mean something. Perhaps it will be an old person or a child. Or else a good cause that needs voluntary workers. Do not lose heart, even if you must wait a bit before finding the right thing, even if you must make several attempts.

—Albert Schweitzer

The rapid tempo and deafening clamour of modern life do not encourage the development of the heart quality. There is no time and all too little inclination to practise kindness and to cultivate good fellowship. It is bad enough to have giant computers solve our problems and answer our questions, to depend upon mechanical devices for the routine of our daily lives. Too much speed and increasing automation have eliminated the human factor. They now threaten to rob us of our humanity. They are paralysing the human element without which man ceases to be man. Without love and kindness man cannot live: he becomes an automaton, a replica of the machine he has created.

This dehumanizing effect of our mechanistic civilization upon men and women is a distressing effect of modern life, and measures to correct it should be taken before it is too late!

We go faster and faster and yet have less and less time for the things that really matter. We argue we must hurry, hurry, hurry in order to save time, but have we stopped to think: What are we doing with the time we save? What is all this speed and rush leading to?

We need to be reminded again and again of this central truth taught by all the Great Ones down the ages: "Love one another." "Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous; not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing." "Never give to the Sun time to dry a tear before thou hast wiped it." The Initiate Paul in his First Epistle to the Corinthians gives a magnificent analysis of love without which the most learned, the most gifted, and the most powerful man is as "nothing." This is not a mere figure of speech or a metaphor; it is literally true, for he is not man who has no love for his fellow men. And love, as Paul rightly points out, includes many admirable virtues: patience, kindness, generosity, humility, courtesy, unselfishness, good temper, guilelessness, sincerity.

We may not intentionally violate the supreme law of love; we may harbour no hate or ill-will in our minds; but we have become too busy to "care" for others. We plead that there is no time and our lives are too crowded, or that there is no one to confide in, no one who will stop long enough to lend a sympathetic ear. Many a heart remains sad for want of a friendly listener.

We must make time and regain the art of "caring." We need to "care" for our own sake as well as for the sake of others. for our own sake, since without love we deprive outselves of the gifts of the Spirit. We become hard and callous and repellent. If we give love, our own lives will be sweeter and brighter and—better still—we shall discover that latent in each human heart are the seeds of nobility, goodness, and beauty, waiting for the warmth of human love to spring into life. The seeds underground remain invisible until a little rain and a little sunshine perform their magic and lo! we have a plant springing up from its hiding place, a plant which will bear fragrant flowers and nourishing fruits, rejoicing and benefiting the lives of many. There is similar magic in the love we give to another. A smile, a kind word, a friendly gesture—just a little caring—and we find the other person responding to the magic touch of our love, and he in turn will spread the sunshine of his sympathy upon other wayfarers.

We have made life difficult and sorrowful enough through our blunders and our follies. We must retrieve our steps, and to begin with let us brighten the lives of our fellow men by regaining the art of caring—let us practise just a little kindness!

The main subject Life teaches us is one that we do not find listed in the curricula of our schools and colleges: it is Brotherhood. The great lesson we are here to learn is to live as brothers, to love one another, and unless that lesson is learnt we are ignorant: for we remain blind to the Light of Truth; we remain deaf to the Voice of Spirit. There is no true progress for man other than spiritual progress. And spiritual progress is only achieved by following the Law of Love, which is that of our own true being. "Altruism is an integral part of self-development," said H. P. Blavatsky.

Let us endeavour to live in the Great Self and be ever aware of its Presence in our own heart. Let us learn to live in our fellows as they all live in that One Self. Let us hasten to take the first step towards that glorious realization by practising just a little "caring."

A man that stands alone, having decided to obey the truth, may be weak and slip back into his old ways. Therefore, stand ye together, assist one another, and strengthen one another's efforts.

Be like unto brothers; one in love, one in holiness, and one in your zeal for the truth.

Spread the truth and preach the doctrine in all quarters of the world, so that in the end all living creatures will be citizens of the kingdom of righteousness.

This is the holy brotherhood; this is the church, the congregation of the saints of the Buddha; this is the Sangha that establishes a communion among all those who have taken their refuge in the Buddha.

—Gautama, The Buddha
(Vide, Mahâvagga, I, 6)

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