Power of Caring

I believe people care.  Despite the commonly prevalent apathy and disclaiming of responsibility, there is genuine concern.  We care about the planet, we care about community and we do care for other people.  We often care so much – that we would rather turn away and pretend that nothing matters.

The belief – ‘I cannot make a difference’ fuels resignation and complacence.  Which is quite different from acceptance.  Yes, we certainly need to face the facts and see reality the way it is right now.  But from thereon, we can each take conscious steps to ‘Be the Change we want to see’.  In fact, that is the only way forward.   When each individual realizes that every step, no matter how small, is a useful movement in the direction you want to go.

Hopelessness, frustration, or anger all arise from a sense of victimhood.  From feeling powerless in the face of larger forces perceived as being out of your control.  From believing you do not count.  But you can make a difference.  In fact, only you can make a difference. Our own actions and inactions are decisive contributors to the world we inhabit.

Stephen Covey discusses the ‘Circle of Concern’ and the ‘Circle of Influence’ in his book ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, encouraging people to take small yet concrete action steps wherever and whenever they can.

And there are so many people who follow this route.  Like the stranger I met in a lovely natural park in the midst of Pune city.  He was picking and prodding at the path with a sharp spear like object.  When my friends and I got closer, we realized that he was picking up litter with a handmade picker and collecting it into a garbage bag.  The instrument looked unique, so we asked him about it.  Very matter-of-factly, he explained that he was an engineer and had crafted a bicycle brake into a levered litter picker, so that he could clean the paths as he walked.  He explained that he had tried various modifications and was finally satisfied with this piece.  Clearly, he was someone who believed in self mastery and in striving for excellence.  Not only did he want to clean up the paths – he wanted to do it as efficiently as was possible.

The park itself has been a blessing for me.   While it cannot compare with the distant wilderness, it still remains a haven that rejuvenates many a tired soul.  I know that there are many anonymous volunteers who plant trees and carry water up the hills, to nurture and nourish this green oasis.  The efforts of such nameless leaders – gifts me something so precious, that it cannot be described.  I feel overwhelmed with gratitude and admiration for the dedicated efforts of such individuals.  With no expectation of recognition, nor instant, dramatic change – they quietly go about making the world a better place. Contributing to the great joy of strangers who walk those forest paths.

What differentiates these catalysts of change from those who give up or give in?  What makes one person do whatever he can, while another cynically shakes his head?

I believe it is commitment.   The resolution to actively seek out opportunities to contribute to the larger good.  Recognizing that you are a part of the larger whole.  So it does not require you to quit your job, take to the mountains or give up your personal goals.

It only requires an attitudinal shift.  The mindset that is willing, able and determined to align behavior and action with intent.

That is what makes all the difference.

In today’s world, there is no dearth of access to teachers and knowledge.  There is demand and admiration for the spiritual paths and practices.  But at the end of the day, return to routine – without incorporating change in attitude or habit – is pointless. Practise is what converts knowledge to wisdom.  There is no substitute for the experience.

My original thought was to make a list of simple yet significant ways in which one could demonstrate care…  But there are any number of ways and websites that can help you with this.  Some related links are given below.

With this post, I invite your resolute commitment to small steps… realistic, doable actions that will help you bring a better future alive in the now.

When we do things, instead of only talking about them, or visualizing them – we feel an immediate sense of peace and satisfaction.  We have reclaimed our power.

For myself, I would rather do the best I can, instead of feeling like a helpless victim.  If nothing else, I will have the satisfaction of knowing I tried.  I sincerely did what I could.  And that is all that one can do.

If this article strikes a chord, please do share it with others.   Let us send out more ripples of change.

Related Links that may inspire creative ideas:

Return to Love (One of my notes from FB)

IOFC – The Character Bank of India

101 ways to Make a Difference in the world

10 Tips for Sustainable Living

How to Make a Difference

The Rainforestsite

Global Care Rooms

Smile.  You are ‘it’ cards

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14 thoughts on “Power of Caring

  1. A very good article and a very well written one… I completely agree with the first half of your article that every individual cares for everything around him. But I have a slightly different view on the later part. (It might essentially mean what you are saying in different words but I am not sure of it).

    Every individual(even an animal) works for itself first and once its own basic needs(food, shelter etc.) are taken care of, it starts working for the good of its species(till then it competes with individuals of its own species also). Once the basic needs of its species(sustainability, stable team dynamics) it starts working for a larger group. (From “Selfish Gene” of Richard Dawkins)

    Most humans are lost in understanding what “basic needs” mean to them. For animals it is simple, food and shelter but humans have created a lot of choice for themselves and hence the term “basic needs” differs for each individual(eg. it differs for lower, middle and high class). If all of human race has the same definition of “basic needs” as for animals, humans will start thinking more rationally and contribute to the surroundings. The commitment to work for the growth of society will be a very natural thing.

    I believe living simple(understand basic needs and stick to them) will improve the society as a whole.

    1. Thank you Sesh.

      I have read the ‘Selfish Gene’ many years back and found it quite thought provoking at that time.

      Recent research suggests that Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs might need to be revised to give more weightage to social needs, e.g., love and belonging, and esteem, in relation to self-actualization.

      So when I put together Bruce Lipton’s discussion on Darwin in ‘Spontaneous Evolution’, along with David Rock’s work – I believe research is beginning to validate what many of us feel intuitively – that collaboration – and not competition is the way forward. That working for the welfare of the world at large – is the natural and sustainable way.

      Thank you once again 🙂

      Sangeeta

      1. Thank you for sharing this Sesh 🙂 It is an interesting article. Though it appears that the researchers expected to arrive at a certain conclusion. That can influence the design as well as outcome.

        We also need to remember that luxury often has negative associations with factors such as corruption and greed. While some of this is due to living examples and experience, a large amount of it is also thanks to conditioning and dogma. It is not as though capitalists or those living an abundant lifestyle always ignore the good of others. In fact, philanthropists, conscious capitalists and social entrepreneurs often empower others to lead better lives.

        At the end of the day, the choice of luxury or simplicity – and how to manage the consequences responsibly, should come from within.

        Sangeeta

  2. Hi Sangeeta,

    This is once again a lovely piece. Actually when you do things which give you satisfaction and fulfillment you end up doing great things around. The human nature is basically to do good and only when we start neglecting the inner voice and start doing things to please others we lose this essence. All the people who do their own bit on act of care are the ones who still have the connection with inner voice and are willing to get guided by it.

    Lots of love
    Papiya

  3. Dearest Sangeeta,

    As a Baha’i working for the unification of the world, your article resonates with the innermost depths of my soul!! 🙂 What a meritorious piece of work!! You raised some fantastic points there. They are not merely statements but concepts to grasp and understand further.

    What I love about you is your ability to utilise your God-given gifts – your compassionate wisdom and the power of your pen to positively influence the lives of those around you and what better service than this 🙂

    Lately I have been better trying to understand the concept of “being and doing” which I believe is so intrinsically linked to this idea of individual and collective transformation. In order to become effective agents of change we must strive daily to refine our inner lives but, at the same time, engage regularly in acts of service for our communities. As we strive to polish these gems, these divine qualities latent within each one of us through prayer, meditation, reflection and so on (as we be), we are better able to serve our communities and surroundings (we do). And as we reach out to serve our communities in the smallest ways possible (as we do), we naturally polish these gems within us and make them shine (we be). One without the other is a false dichotomy. Should I concentrate on perfecting myself or serving others? This dichotomy paralyses us when actually they are processes that go hand in hand.

    The joy one derives from reaching out and giving/sharing, however small, brings with it such a great sense of satisfaction and empowerment that it is impossible to believe that we were created solely to take care of our own immediate needs or that we are incapable of contributing to the larger good of mankind.

    For instance, even when carrying out our daily professions, if we carry it out in a spirit of service to others and carry it out to the best of our abilities, it is an act of worship in itself. I know and can tell the difference for myself and those around me.

    May all our positive thoughts and actions be blessed with confirmations and may our consciousness, willingness and daily striving yield the fruits of personal and societal transformation, bit by bit, day by day.

    Sorry to go off on a bit of a tangent and thank you once again! This has made my day! It is the first time I came across your blog. You can be sure I will be spending a lot of time here, just to soak in the reservoirs of your wisdom, practicality and love.

    1. Thank you so much Ferishteh! Your writing has a beautiful eloquence and I thank you for sharing your thoughts on the ‘false dichotomy’. I often hear people on the spiritual path struggle with this question and your answer can help others discover their own balance.

      On a personal note, it is most heartening to see my writing touch another in a meaningful manner 🙂

      Looking forward to your future visits and comments!

      love and light,

      Sangeeta

  4. I feel that people are mostly not selfish enough. They neglect the self, and then end up with gnawing neediness. If we pay more attention to ourselves, close attention to the self, we will experience what it is to be human, and will not be able to be inhuman.

    1. Thanks for bringing this up Urmila. We are conditioned to look upon self interest as an avoidable attitude. However, you can only give what you have. Taking care of your self and nurturing yourself is what ends the ‘neediness’. That is when you can give and care freely for others.

      The way we relate to others and our environment is a reflection of how we relate to our self. So when we are more caring towards ourselves, we are also able to be more caring towards others. The two – inner world and outer world go hand in hand. Change in one reflects in the other.

      love and light,

      Sangeeta

  5. After reading the Article and more so, after reading the interaction between readers and Sangeeta, I could not resist the Urge to paint here with my brush to make my Mark! But even as I etch my thoughts into this work of Art(A painting or a Sculpture of high thinking?) I say what I see from it all viz. Each moment in our life’s, each call we take at that moment, either impulsively or after thinking is an Act of that moment, we cannot undo it and correct that moment’s impulsiveness / reaction. Only time and much rumination Later will allow us to experience whether that Act was destined to be right or WRONG! As my Reiki grandmaster Dr. Syamal Durve teaches and here I quote her” We can only learn through experience”.

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