The Things We Take for Granted

How many times do we stop and appreciate the following?

* The air we breathe? Only in extreme cases is it anything but life-giving.
* The sunlight that supplies all the energy that keeps life going.
* Despite our situation, we can always count at least 10 calamities that we have never experienced.

These and numerous other blessings are usually lost and forgotten by most, taken for granted in the pursuit of such things as the job, wealth, success etc.

On the journey of self mastery, in the pursuit of excellence, we become more aware of how much we take for granted, we start to give of ourselves freely, selflessly to other people as appreciation for the blessings of being alive and healthy …..and there comes a problem – our love, our care, our service, our attention and all those other things we give freely are undervalued, ignored and taken for granted! I have struggle and continue to struggle with this and it is a painful but very valuable reminder that I am still not completely without ego.

For why do I feel hurt when I make sacrifices that are not recognized? Love selflessly and give attention that is not reciprocated? – I think the answer is simple … I still want something back, its because my motives are not completely selfless and so my ego needs recognition of sacrifice, it needs reciprocation of love and attention and of care, I am still attached to that reciprocation.

And so, when a loved one takes my love, care and attention for granted, when I make personal and professional sacrifices that are not recognized, it is a painful reminder that I am NOT the centre of the world. For the vast majority of us, our migraine is the most important calamity in the world right now, more important than the next person’s cancer, refugee’s starvation and homelessness. Such a harsh reminder serves to correct our course in the quest for excellence and self mastery; it reminds us that so long as our deeds don’t serve some purpose greater than the petty needs of our ego, only pain and hurt can result when these deeds don’t yield the desired payback.

With this knowledge of how much our egos can ruin our ability to contribute genuinely and love selflessly, what is the person who walks the path of ‘Shibumi’ to do? If I had THE answer, I’d be the world’s free-est person. However, after dealing with my own pain on this issue and meditating on it, I offer a perspective

A. Motives: First of all, we must examine deep within ourselves the motives for the deed/s in question. When due to lack of integrity, we peddle crushes ad romantic feelings as selfless love, when we peddle self-serving deeds as sacrifices, when we seek to serve ourselves while pretending to be rendering service, then we have already taken the path of ego-feeding and only pain, hurt and disappointment wait at the end.

B. Lack of Detachment: As further evidence that we have substituted the wants of our egos for the needs of the conscience is the fact that we become attached to outcomes – recognition for out ‘contributions’,’service’ and ‘sacrifices’ as well as reciprocation for our ‘selfless love’. Because our motives are not right, we miss out on the rewards that are in the deed in and of itself and apart from its end. These rewards can only be valued by our conscience and right now, our egos are in charge – checkmate!

So people will always take you for granted – after all, you aren’t more important that the air they breathe which I might remind you they already take for granted ( …. And pollute!). however, with proper motives and with true detachment, we can transcend that and still love people in spite of them taking us for granted and still contribute, serve and make sacrifices in spite of the fact that someone may be using you – its not about them, its about us, our purpose, our values and our dedication to certain principles.