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Spiritual awakening is lopsided, if it doesn’t lead to engaging and taking action in the world. But, sometimes we think that the only way to make a difference is by doing something grand, and then we discount those smaller acts, or do nothing instead.

Yet, one act from love has an impact, even if it does not make it into the hall of fame. We have talents and hearts and hands, through which we make a difference. Opportunities are found, if we look around.

I keep meeting people who grab hold of these moments as they move through the currents of time. I met a porter in New York who makes it a point to give each person who walks through the door a smile and a word of acknowledgement. Some notice and receive his gift and for a moment their spark is lit. The guy on our street, who looks rather disheveled, has a kind word for everyone who passes by, despite his own hardships and that some treat him like a worn rag.

This may seem trivial, but acts from unconditional love leave a mark for those who receive and give it. Maybe they are far more important than we realize…

Taking Others for Granted?

Sadly we sometimes dismiss the goodness others express, the beauty among us, the love that flows between us. We may take it for granted and do not appreciate what folks do, those who work tirelessly for a better world. Or we doubt that we have anything valuable to offer to another person and this world.

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Some work hard to make a difference and become plain worn-out. We do not need to save the world. Nor follow a “should” or do good deeds in an attempt to escape our own suffering or to prove we are a good enough. Our actions won’t cause the effect we might hope for and love is on the sidelines if our own attachments are too strong.

Sometimes we can get distraught about the messy state of affairs. It can be overwhelming to face the seeming endless suffering around us, trying to understand insanity with the question: “Why?”

It’s easy to become hopeless, when we hear so much news on TV of yet another crime or war. And when we hate the other bad guy over there, even in the name of justice, we just create more harm and the outcome is usually not beneficial for anyone. Or we hang our heads, not caring about anybody else but ourselves, maybe we even hide in a narcissistic spirituality that not only misses the mark, but a heart.

Some disappear into a pink cloud, deny the shadow side of humans, and ignore the effects of their actions with defense and naïveté. Some try to rise above the human suffering with fancy concepts that feel empty and cold, or worse, they numb out and do not care, as if nothing and no one matters anymore.

Responding from Presence and Love

You do not need to resolve all the suffering in the world. Remember when wiping one tear has made a difference—for your child or friend. We don’t have to end all hunger, but one child fed is one more not going to sleep with a growling belly.

It’s a waste of time to wait until you are rich, so just give one coin for a greater cause than your own. We do not need to end all wars, but to stop violence with a fierce “no” makes a difference to the boy who is beaten up by bullies at his school.

You do not have to point to all the troubles in our world; one creation of beauty inspires the one who walks into your life. Nor do we have to serve to exhaustion, for one step taken in service of love, always leaves a mark.

To tend to family and our relationships is of equal importance as working toward peace in the world. You don’t have to clean up all the trash, but one plastic bag not taken at the checkout counter sets an example for the next customer and may save a turtle from drowning in the plastic sea.

We do not need to be famous to have an impact, just shine your light without holding back. You do not need to lift up all the fallen people, but your presence and words of encouragement might help another. Nor do we have to have a thousand hands to help out. Giving a hand to the one who sits beside us or reaching out to someone who is on the edge already makes a world of difference. It starts simple, beginning right here in this moment with you.

There is much need and trouble in our world, it can be overwhelming and infuriating, but our hearts know what to give and what not to. Lean in and listen.

To discover how we can best make a positive difference we have to make a bridge into an unknown world, to release our judgments and assumptions and be curious about: “How is the world of You?” To step beyond our own familiar worldview and what we imagine is beneficial for another.

Recently I heard a funny story that illuminates this:

An Italian charitable organization set up a project in a village in Africa; with the best intentions they tried to end starvation. They wanted to teach the African villagers how to create their own vegetable gardens, so in turn the people could feed themselves. The idea sounds good, right? But to their surprise, the villagers did not help to dig and plant the gardens.

The volunteers planted the seedlings anyway, imagining that once these juicy Italian tomatoes were ripe, the people would get such a delicious taste, that they would be inspired enough to grow gardens themselves. The charity put in money, time and energy and excited volunteers; proudly thinking they were teaching the people an important thing.

Until one day, when the crop was just ready to be harvested. Helplessly they had to watch as the Hippos paid a visit to the pretty gardens and indulged their afternoon feast with the ripened Italian red tomatoes. Within the hour the gardens were trampled down and the crop was gone.

The villagers had known about wildlife in the area and that is why no one had participated in this well-intended project, which had missed the point entirely. The charity learned from this failure, changed its ways, and has become very successful, because they now listen to the wisdom of the local people and work together with them.

Seeking The Course of Wise Action

We do not always know what the course of wise action is and what is helpful for another, so we need to look deeply, ask and listen with an open mind to the land and the people we desire to care for.

The attitude of “I know better than you” or “I know it all” or “One method fits all” is not a useful approach and usually backfires. We discover what truly serves when we let their wisdom reveal what’s beneficial for them.

Use the tools of curiosity and inquiry. Then we can work together, each offering what they can bring to the shared meal. This is a far more empowering and effective approach.

And our innate wisdom knows what to offer and how to help, if we open to it, listen and act.

Maybe your teenager needs tough love, a boundary, that lets him know you won’t let him wreck his life with drugs. A little one may need to be held when she has a tantrum so that she can release what is pent-up inside, instead of giving her a “time-out” once again. Your wife might need more attention from you, just letting her share without trying to fix the situation. Someone needs money to help them through a crisis, but rather than throwing coins into a tin, their self-esteem might increase when given a job to earn their keep.

There are kids who live in dumpsters who don’t need fancy toys, but if you fund a school that provides education, they will have a future. Even just a pair of shoes would already make a difference for those bloody feet.

Taking a Step Right Where You Are

When a call rings true in your heart, answer and take a step right where you are. Your gifts are waiting to be shared, and in so doing your own life becomes more fulfilling, rich and inspiring too.

If a cause ignites you, be it human rights, ecological activism, or social justice, by all means engage with what you’ve got. Join a group, give your time, money, energy, whatever you have to offer and whatever is right for you—get involved.

Maybe what calls for your love isn’t established as an organization? Even if no one has yet seen what you have recognized, simply start with one action, for one step leads to another. And if a revolution or a movement emerges from that—great, let’s celebrate. If no one notices that you have given others a hand and you do not receive a deserved thank-you, don’t give up. Know you have etched a mark in the world.

Giving of Yourself Wholeheartedly

If you give of yourself wholeheartedly, it is more than enough, even if the results are not always obvious. You may already be engaged in a project and have made an impact on humankind in a small or a big way.

Just know that what you have done from your heart matters and has value. Thank-you on behalf of everyone. Every act of love has an impact often far greater than we realize.

Behold with honor your dream for humanity and the gift that only you can give. It is here for you to live, and may come true on a larger scale, when least expected, as you walk in growing presence and love—wherever you are and in whatever you do. Begin with you, in your home and in your community and then love your way further into this world.

True change comes from the inside out, from one heart to another, from the grassroots it grows. Movements of positive change most often begin in kitchens and living rooms, when we are together with people who ignite the fires of love.

Copyright 2024. All Rights Reserved.
Adapted with permission.

Article Source:

BOOK: Love Unleashed

Love Unleashed: How to Rise in a World on the Edge
by Nicola Amadora Ph.D.

book cover of: Love Unleashed by Nicola Amadora Ph.D.Urging us to plunge into the depths and heights of love to turn the tide in our lives and this world, this book unleashes a grounded, enlivened path of spirituality for these wild times. You are invited into true adventure stories, refined practices and juicy wisdom teachings.

Guiding you to realize and embody the fountain of love's presence in the muck and beauty, here on Earth and with each other now. For the sake of all beings - savor deeply, connect intimately and live the greatest love story ever told!

For more info and/or to order this book, click hereAlso available as a Kindle edition.

About the Author

photo of Nicola Amadora PhDNicola Amadora PhD. teaches a refreshingly real and embodied way of spirituality to unleash love for the great turning in our lives and this world. For three decades she has been guiding thousands of people as a Spiritual Teacher, Psychologist, Author, and Speaker worldwide. She is the Founder of Living Connection and The Deep Feminine Way and the author of ‘Nothing but Love,’ truth poetry straight from the heart.

When she isn’t teaching, she loves to write and rides horses in the wild. If you want to know about her labor of love find Nicola in one of her books, on the web, or in the streets of this world smiling at you with a twinkle in her eyes.

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