The conversation I just had with my brother ended with our appreciation of the care my mother got from the people at Union Memorial Hospital when she had her heart attacks. The first took her in and the second, that weekend; doctors came in and did extensive open-heart surgery into the night, saving her life. Throughout the hospital any of the staff would stop what they were doing to answer your questions and help you any way they could. Bill said whoever was training the people who worked there was doing an excellent job. I credited the personnel department for the qualities they look for in hiring. For both of us, it boosted our faith in human nature, affirmed the essential goodness that comes out in times of crisis. You could see that the people there were happy in their work in an atmosphere devoted to doing the best job possible. It’s something that applies to all areas of life. When your try to do your best in whatever it is, that means you’re involved, and if you’re involved it feels better. It’s how we’re meant to be, paying attention in the here and now. It feels good, endorphins flowing. As the Zen saying goes, ”The secret to happiness is to live your life as though you’re interested in it.” “Beginner’s mind” sees everything fresh, unclouded by preconceptions and the ideas about reality that we take for reality. Be in whatever you’re doing and the most difficult times can be important lessons. Over time we build skills in living, which are our reward for cultivating the right qualities. More skillfulness, with an instrument, a sport, any area of expertise leads to more pleasure in the doing.
Stretching our abilities is how we grow.
With the media too often focusing on what is bad in people, we feel uplifted when we see people doing it well, involved and attentive to what they do. The mirror neurons of satisfying action stimulate our own impulse to growth.
Seeing the spirit in action kindles the spirit within. Mary Baker Eddy reminds people to identify with the spirit because all good is of the spirit whereas pain and weakness are not. Identify with the best and you become it.
The fact that my brother and I are trying our best to do this well, working together to resolve some very complex life circumstances, is another comforting aspect of this time. Even when what’s going on is really awful, being present instead of running away, facing it honestly instead of hiding, is better than having it pushed aside in the unconscious, a demon to sabotage you later.
We give attention to what we care about. It’s the outer expression of love. Giving attention to every aspect of being let’s love flow through unhindered. Our culture encourages negative qualities that divert people’s attention from what might be truly satisfying, then provides pills to dull the ache of being someone you don’t respect. Doing something well is satisfying in itself, experiencing the life force connecting us to the web of being. It’s pleasure for all involved.