Who knows - maybe that person was just upset that I didn't enjoy her favourite foods/meals when I was there for a shared meal as much as she did? I certainly enjoyed most of the meals, and was not rude or impolite on the basis of my food dislikes.
It all smacked a bit of the parent trying to get a child to eat by saying "think of all the starving people in X". My response usually was "send them the food then", but
(a) I DO live in a privileged society, and am privileged to be in a comfortable position where I have never been short of food;
(b) trying to over-feed or force-feed people is actually not hospitable (it can be harmful to health), although understandable (and, in the case of alcohol, choosing to become upset because someone will nto drink alcohol is pathetic, morally wrong behaviour); and
(c) as I recently had pointed out to me when I was struggling to finish what was on my plate (despite what I've just written, I don't like to see food go to waste :D ), food can be wasted on a plate or wasted in your system if it cannot be usefully digested, and just get stored as fat instread.
But before I get further into my thoughts on this topic, take a moment to ponder: what is your scale of perspective? What is important to you?
A common item of importance to many people is family. I have talked about this with both my sisters (well, actually I have more than two, but I have not met my half-sister in my birth family yet) in the context of caring for my father (that is, my adoptive father) and my brother (my full-blood brother in my family). The conversations were along the lines of "of course I/you/we would do
But it is not what I consider the be-all and end-all of love and caring.
In the Hindu tradition, the Path of Bhakti Yoga is the path of devotion and love. To summarise this (and this is mostly based on what I read in Lobsang Rampa * - for a different point of view, look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhakti for the "proper" view), people start off only being able to love in a very limited way: this is usually described as "self love", and may be described - incorrectly, I consider - as beign selfish. An analogy for this is a child, who is self centred.
As one grows, whether that is maturing within one lifetime or over a longer term perspective, one's idea of who one should love expands. This is the point where many people are at, in my experience: they consider love for family (including, for the purposes of this post, "romantic" love) is the highest pinnacle of evolution, anf the standard by which all loves should be measured.
Sorry - it ain't.
I've posted previously on this view ("who is in your family"), but to pick up from a more recent post (on chakras and push-pull), I would describe these people as "living in the solar plexus/heart chakras" - most of the energy being used in their lives is energy on the level of emotions and love (with, perhaps, occasional excursions into throat chakra energies, which are communication based, and may be manifested [used] in more functional family units).
That is not the limit of love, nor of evolution.
The idea of Bhakti is that one expands one's devotion as one evolves. In a sense, you could say you practice loving until you can apply it more widely. You start off loving a parent, then youir family, then your friends, then maybe others (strangers? I'll touch on St Francis of Assisi shortly) or a guru (which simply means "teacher" - don't give the word any more emotional meaning, I would suggest, than you would to the word "teacher"). Ultimately you attain "Ai", which Rampa defines (in Wisdom of the Ancients") as universal love, in the agape sense of love that Christ wanted humanity to live and manifest (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agape).
There are steps along the way here. Do you feel comfortable giving donations to people who are less well off than you? Would you do as St Francis of Assissi did, and give someone half your garment?
In my case, I'm somewhere between the two: I'm very happy to give donations and spend time and energy working for the wellbeing of people outside my family (I consider my friends my family of choice, so I include them in that - and I have housed friends in need), but I'm certainly not as evolved as St Francis of Assissi!
It can be interesting to contemplate why people limit their love - whether that is to only their nation, or only their social group/culture, or only their family. Is it because they fear that they don't have enough love to go round, or that their love for theose close to them will somehow be cheapened by having agape type love for other people outside that group?
The Universe is actually very abundant - particularly on the topic of love. In fact, a definition I like of "God" from Stuart Holroyd's "Briefing for the Landing on Planet Earth" (Pub. Corgi, 1979; ISBN 10: 0552109975, ISBN 13: 9780552109970; I think republished as "The Nine: Briefing from Deep Space" - see http://www.theonlyplanetofchoice.com/newbook.htm) is along the lines of (my books are still in storage, so I can't be too precise about this - sorry - and you should see what I had to go through to get a citation for the book! :D ):
So, if Deity grows on love, it would seem to me that there is a good reason to have more love in the Universe, and if there is more love floating round in the Universe, then that is surely going to be of benefit to those we love at some point? Somewhere they should bump into all that extra love, surely?
There's an additional element to this, and that is the love that is manifested by people who live more in the higher chakras - third eye, crown, Soul Star, etc.
This love may be hard to understand for those who live in the heart chakra. For instance, someone who lives in the Third Eye Chakra may be driven to provide lots of selfless psychic service to people (a bit like John Edwards *, or Gordon Smith *, or Allison DuBois * [who the TV series "Medium" is supposed to be based on], or James Van Praagh, who the TV series "Ghost Whisperer" is supposed to be based on).
If someone is living in other chakras, they may become someone like a Mohandas K. Gandhi, the Mahatma, or seek to live well beyond the confines of loving only their immediate (or wider) family. As another example of that, one woman I knew, who was a bit like a foster mother to me, used to send her children out through the streets of Frankston to find homeless kids and bring them home (one of them wound up marrying a close friend of mine).
Where do you fit on this scale of Bhakti?
More importantly, are you prepared to let others live wherever they are on that scale?
(As a post script, perhaps most people living in their heart chakras is the reason some poets use the language of love to try and shift people along the scale of Bhakti? I was tryiong to find an example for you, dear Reader, but can only think of the Persian**, Sufi poet Rumi, and I don't think that is quite what I am looking for.)
* Wikipedia is an online encyclopaedia. Being online does not rule out conventional thinking, nor intellectual conservatism. Hence, there is a fair chunk of the "claims to be psychic" stuff in articles I link to. I don't consider that bad - you should be thinking critically anyway. However, if you're unhappy with what you read on Wikipedia, look at the source links (generally included at the end of the article, and you may be able to find more "favourable" links.
** This a National Geographic link, not Wikipedia, and is well worth a look - even if you know a great deal about Persia, and ESPECIALLY should be looked at if your knowledge is based on "Iran"
Love, light, hugs and blessings
This post's photo is yet to be posted
Tags: personal characteristics, attitudes, discrimination, emotions, family, interpersonal interactions, judging others, life lessons, Lobsang Rampa, self knowledge,
First published: Saturday 20th June, 2009
Last edited: Saturday 20th June, 2009