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First Action, To Benefit Others

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

Feeding Others

Life can be confusing sometimes. Even the simple act of getting everything that needs doing completed each day can turn our heads round and make us forget that we are living a unique life and that we are individual bits of divine spirit energy. To be honest with you I am known to be a huge procrastinator and often several days can go by without me pausing to take notice of life, spirit or my connections to others.

Over the years I have gotten much better at doing things that need doing, even if I don’t feel particularly motivated to do them, at least more often than I used to. Like when dishes need washing, I use the “just do 5 dishes” mentality and, inevitably, I end up doing 20. Starting is the hardest part.

Days are the same way. Starting them may not be as hard as picking up your tax forms and filling them out, but how you start you day most certainly sets the pattern for how the remainder of your day will flow (or stagnate.)

Oddly enough, my own busy-ness and procrastination, which are always in the way of me starting or completing things, seem to end right at the place where my comfort and desires begin. In other words, I never have trouble finding the time to bake brownies or getting up and starting a new knitting project. Those things are easy to remember and to place priority on. Yet, publication deadlines, jogging, paying bills and mopping the floors can get pushed back for weeks and even months.

I suppose you could call this self-indulgence, and in some instances our distracted mind can fall into such a “pleasure and comfort” pattern. But, in most people’s case, it is so much more than just that.

We live in a world filled with over-stimulation. The mental and visual landscape seems designed, and often deliberately intended, to keep you distracted, to silence the voice within, to reinforce your separateness from other human beings. This is the mentality that has ruled our westernized society for hundreds of years, and it has led us into many of the social, financial, moral and environmental troubles that we have today.

When we see the purpose of life as one of gaining fortune, of acquiring power over others, of conquering our circumstances at any cost, we inevitably become someone who is perpetually over-scheduled, lacking in compassion, physically or psychologically unhealthy, mentally scattered and unfocused or any of a number of other personally or socially unfulfilling things.

I am no different, having been up and down the roller-coaster of money versus fulfillment and bravado versus low self-esteem. In the past I have been someone who wants to please everyone and have vastly over-committed myself in order to try and achieve that. What it leads to is stress, procrastination and unfulfilled promises. And, if you keep ignoring your own inner truth while trying to be everything to all people, eventually to a nervous breakdown. This is a modern ailment, brought on by our externalizing contentment and looking for happiness in the opinions of others.

Recently a new approach to living more mindful, sensible and fulfilling days has been helping me to clear up the connection between who I am and what I do. The answer for me is a simple one, but is a realization that has been a long time in the making.

What I have found is that if I begin my day with “fun” stuff, such as surfing the internet, knitting, laying about and watching a movie, then I am likely to continue in a “self-oriented” way throughout the rest of my day. Obviously this leads to low productivity, but after a prolonged period of time can also lead to anger, depression and a lack of compassion. If a person is unfulfilled on the inside, it will eventually work its way out and effect their moods, relationships and even their worldview.

But, in a world so desperately in need of compassion, connection and personal responsibility, if one begins their day with actions that benefit others, then a complete change in the pattern of one’s day occurs. And this is a change that can sprout wings and flitter into positive changes for other people’s day as well.

What do I mean by actions that benefit others? Quite simply I am referencing any action that you need to do, which has an effect not only upon yourself. This can be changing the snow tires on your family min-van or washing the laundry. Having a safe vehicle benefits your whole family, having a clean environment makes everyone feel better. It can also be taking yourself to a doctors appointment or meeting with a business contact. You being healthy benefits those who love you. You meeting with someone benefits not only yourself, but the other person.

For me this concept generally means channeling readings for clients and writing magazine or blog articles. Allowing my gift to inform, inspire and enlighten others brings more light to their lives and to the world. But, as you can see, doing the things that benefit others as your first priority of the day, also means that you are bringing huge benefit to yourself. When I connect to spirit I am reminded of my own unique purpose, and the lower heart-rate, peace and contentment that it brings me is priceless.

Like I said, beginning something is the hardest part, whether it is one single task or how you choose to begin your day. Choosing to begin your day by accomplishing the tasks that most benefit others allows us to feel truly relaxed when we then sit down and do something completely for ourself. It could be that you enjoy fishing or reading or oil painting. But think of how much more fulfilling those moments of enjoyment and relaxation wil be when you realize that you have connected with others, fulfilled your responsibilities and completed all of your pressing tasks for the day.

And this mindset, this simple approach to task management, will also change you in the long run. You may find yourself becoming more open to the viewpoints of others, more willing to be charitable with your time and energy. We are all in this journey of life together, if we help others who need it then there may be someone to help when we have a need. To approach your day by doing what you can do to benefit others, perhaps the society as a whole can eventually morph into one of compassion and attention to the welfare of others.

As for myself, I hope that this idea can spread. Yet, regardless, it has benefitted me as I begin each day by benefitting others.

  • Joy

    Thank you so much for this idea. Elegantly simple, I hope it goes viral!

    I saved this in my inbox until I could have time to savor and enjoy the whole thing. I'm so glad I did.

  • Michael

    Really thought provoking and useful! Thank you!

  • Mathew

    I suppose if you have negative dreams this would be a bad start to the day but positive dreams do the opposite, it's got me thinking!!!