How often are we so consumed with the self that we forget all the ways in which our ultimate wellbeing is tied to the wellbeing of the greater whole?
The figures within the Torah remind me of that important principle.
When God told Noah that he was going to destroy the world and to build him an ark, Noah built the ark to save his family and the animals. His goal was to lessen his own suffering.
When God told Abraham that he was going to destroy Sodom, Abraham pleaded with God to save the people.
When God told Moses that he was going to destroy the Jewish people, Moses’s people, Moses told God to destroy him as well. Because, as Moses stated, he would be nothing without his people.
When given the opportunity to optimize for the self, in the immediate moment, Moses chose to reflect on his greater purpose. He looked into his future. And understood that his welfare could not be disconnected to the welfare of others.
Too often we fail to maintain clarity on such crucial matters of the self. To ensure we have enough of, or more often, that we have more than, we sometimes take from others. Consumed with the preservation of our own wealth, power, status, or growth, we directly or indirectly hinder the growth of others. Doing this repeatedly erodes the quality of our connection with others.
And, as Moses knew, meaningful connection with others is a basic human need for which we can not live without. At least not live well. Connections of integrity, love, and kindness create irreplaceable roots. Roots that help us maintain faith in times of uncertainty. Hope in times of despair. And a reassuring north star when feeling anxious, weak, or lonely. All human feelings that come and go and are much easier to reconcile with the support of others.
I’ve often said that if I am not for myself, then who will be for me? But if I live only for myself, then who am I really? We can only leave this world better than we entered it if we live outside and beyond our own self – interest.
This week, let’s remember that helping others, supporting others, loving others, and being kind to others, are not just duties we have to this world. They are critical items on the path to our own peace and wellbeing. Give your good graces to others and watch as your own serenity and resolve grow alongside.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love