Life’s Most Persistent and Urgent Question – What Are You Doing For Others?

Photo Credit: archer10 on Flickr

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others? – Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s easy to close our eyes to the fact that there are people in need virtually everywhere. There’s such a need as a matter of fact, that most people become overwhelmed by it and just try to shut out the awareness of the immense suffering — instead of doing something about it.

Why do they try to shut it out? Why don’t they get out there and do something?

With all of the environmental devastation, corruption, and violence happening around us a type of inner-saboteur can occur, compelling us to “retreat” in order to protect ourselves from the heartbreak of the crisis that the world is in.

Author and activist Andrew Harvey writes about five inner-saboteurs that keep us from doing something for others. He categorizes them as: disbelief, denial, dread, disillusion and the desire to cease to be.

1. Disbelief occurs because we’re conditioned to respond to immediate difficulties, but find it hard to respond to a whole cluster of looming disasters for which we have no precedent.

2. Denial occurs because it’s one of the easiest ways to make the magnitude of what’s happening in the world disappear from our conscious minds for a while.

3. Dread occurs because even if we believe that suffering has a meaning and a goal, the extremity of it seems overwhelming.

4. Disillusion occurs because when we do have the courage to unmask our denial, we’re faced with the fact that humanity is in pretty bad shape and changing the situation is a daunting undertaking.

5. The desire to cease to be (or feel) occurs because we’re so consciously or unconsciously traumatized by what we can’t help but knowing about the world crisis, that a sense of desperation and a desire to evade the pain by any means is inevitable.

The fifth inner-saboteur, the desire to cease to be/feel, is what drives so many of the addictive and self-destructive behaviors in people who’ve done a lot of personal and spiritual work. Many of the people who I work with in fact, people who are kind, loving, compassionate, and want to help others, are the first to admit that there are many, many times when they just want to numb themselves and somehow “check out.”

The more awake we become within ourselves, the more aware we also become of what’s going on in the world around us and the more we can start to desire to cease to be/feel in the midst of the chaos.

As we awaken, all of our parts — our light and our shadow — are felt with so much more clarity and depth that we become exponentially more accountable for being with them all, and that’s not always easy!

The question “What am I doing for others?” has the power to propel us into action and liberate us, IF it comes from a place of authenticity instead of obligation.

When we’re in a dark place and feeling insignificant, isolated, or unlovable and we’re able to be fully present with, acknowledge and accept those feelings of lack, something magical happens. By totally surrendering to those feelings we actually create the opportunity to turn the desire to cease to be into gratitude for being incarnated in this body, in this life at this time.

People are often terrified to be with those feelings because they don’t want to get stuck in the void, feeling powerless, and helpless. The way out is through, and the gratitude right on the other side, to be here now and experience the sacred vessel of our bodies with full authenticity, becomes the foundation for the kind of inspired action that can help so many others.

By asking the question “What am I doing for others?” from a sense of wholeness, realness, humility, and a desire to serve, and in seeking to be present with ALL of our feelings, and know ALL of our parts, we’ll ultimately discover that our salvation is to be found somewhere in this realm, where self and other merge as one.

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About John Amaral

Santa Cruz Chiropractor Dr. John Amaral has helped thousands of people from over 50 countries transform and awaken to more meaningful and purposeful lives. Follow him on twitter at @johnamaral