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What is the most helpful attitude toward world problems like hunger, strife, and war?
How do you apply what we are learning to things that happen in the world: hunger, strife, war. We contribute financially to help with these things, but what is the most helpful attitude toward world problems?
Last night as I was leaving a gathering, a woman asked me the same question. She said she did not want to be indifferent to the world. She wanted to act from a feeling of love and compassion. She said: "What do I do with the feelings that come up when I watch images of war or starving children?"
The Holy Spirit would have us realize that all of our feelings are coming from decisions. He asks us to be honest about those feelings and to look closely at the thoughts behind the feelings. He does not teach us to turn away blindly and be like cold and stiff robots. Mother Teresa is an example of one who let the love of God flow through her. When someone was hungry she fed them. If someone was sick in the street she pulled them off the street. She learned how to live very simply and let God move through her without letting an interpretation of pity creep in. Pity is an arrogant thought that says you are better off than others. If you are acting out of pity or guilt, you are reinforcing the separation in your mind. So always ask the Holy Spirit how to be "truly helpful", remembering the prayer at the beginning of the Course. Then act appropriately as the Holy Spirit moves through you, from a spirit of lightness and joy.
To inspire is to be in the spirit. So whether you work at a soup kitchen, a hospital or a shelter for the homeless, it is your attitude that is really teaching. When I worked with dying patients in hospice, I was in complete joy. The doctors and nurses told me how helpful it was to have someone peaceful and happy in their midst, because they typically felt so sad and depressed about the dying. I realized there was no death, so I was used by the Holy Spirit to speak to these people. I would be carrying a tray of food down the hall, and someone would call me into their room. They would be coherent and alert, and ask me questions about the meaning of life. In most cases they were just hanging on because they were afraid to let somebody down. So even in their final hours they were "people-pleasing"! I told them, Don't worry about it. Just go to the light. The next day I was told this person had passed.
You really start to realize that life is not of this body. Life is a state of mind. It's kind of funny to think that six billion people are running around doing crazy jobs and occupations, full of stress, trying not to die, when they are all afraid of living! Nobody in this world is aware of how much they fear love. But when you work with A Course In Miracles, you come to see the fear of intimacy. You learn to drop the mask, but also feel the fear of dropping the mask. The ego says: "Look at all your past relationships, how you put your heart on the line and got hurt." The ego says it is not safe to love. It teaches that love always leads to hurt feelings. Now we have to listen to the Holy Spirit and learn that it is helpful to forgive and love. You realize that you cannot give away something you do not already have. So the more that you practice loving, the more you realize you have love and you are love.
The first few steps are the most difficult, because you are going against all of your past learning. I was raised to think you could love just one person and such a belief makes it seem awkward to open up to many people. But as we follow our inner guidance, we learn that's exactly what we have to do. Then we see how silly our old ideas of relationship were. We see that it is possible to be in love with everyone! Love is not limited. The ego says there's only so much to go around, so you'd better save it. But you find that the more you give it away, the more you have, and it feels good. That's how you know it is of the Holy Spirit.