Chapter 9 - Reflections on Stewardship - Strength for the Journey
Stewardship vs. 'Mine, Mine, Mine'
We are constantly obsessed with the things we own. What exactly do we own though? Realistically, not an iota. We are daily lent everything we have by the Divine Principle inside each of us. Were we to keep that in mind, oh, how our attitudes towards life, and each other, might radically change.
Our personalities have claimed much. These days, a practically limitless stream of unfounded confidences issue forth from that morbidly temporal 'part' of ourselves. It's high time we engaged our actual Divine right of sovereignty to tame our (mostly) unchecked egos.
Stewardship. A medieval term, that has sadly fallen out of vogue in our day. It means (responsibly) taking care of something that rightfully belongs to someone else. When we come to terms with the fact that we were not graciously placed on this planet simply to satisfy the whims of our carnal appetites, we might then ask the question: just what ARE we meant to do with all that we've been entrusted with?
Other individuals specifically, and from a larger perspective, human Society in general, provide each of us with opportunities every day to serve the Greater Purpose, aka the Divine Plan. Taking care of ourselves is a vital part of that, I would highly question the notion that the Divine Plan would require us all to be in poverty & an endless martyrdom of personal sacrifice... Quite frankly, that approach does nothing productive for anyone in the long run.
In the times we live, one does face quite a few external challenges (opportunities) in trying to live as any/all of the moral sages of history have suggested, aka Being Love in every situation. However, just as many issues arise from our very own 'programmed' perspectives on the world. This deeply held concept of 'personal ownership' is one such nemesis.
This is not to advocate socialism. Certainly the only thing worse than each of us 'owning' everything is all of us 'owning' everything. If our personalities are a problem mano a mano, then a crowd of them can safely be termed 'a riot'.
What I'm suggesting is that (and this will be close to home for my American readers) the Founding Fathers placed such emphasis on the defense of individual rights, because they believed in the principle that stewardship must be a personal responsibility. We must each steward our personal lives, because if we don't... well, we can just look around at the state of things, and it's becoming fairly clear what all their fuss about 'not letting things go to pot' was referencing.
We must take stock of the things we 'own', and pretend for a moment that they were put in our hands for a purpose. A Greater Purpose, even. What should we do with our lives? Let's stop asking, "What do I want to do with my life?", and start inquiring: "What personal course of life would be best for everyone (myself included), were I to take it?".
As a society, we have become so selfish, so tunnel focused on our own 'needs' (wants), that we rarely spend a moment's time considering the larger picture of humanity's general welfare. Were it not so close to home, one could find humor in the fact that, as a whole, modern society has largely accepted the 'mythological' status of genuine altruism. Heaven help us all.
Now, the wisest course of action is not to go running to the nearest fool to hand over one's possessions. That's (too) easy, and also completely pointless. No, the real work ahead of us is found in determining what we are going to do to better our world. Throwing money at things is the often selected approach, because it makes us feel useful, and we don't have to actually change anything in our lives. It's awesome for our personalities, but just dreadful for anything approaching authenticity.
It's also questionable just how many folks are even in a state to consider helping any larger movement to improve the world. Hence the timeless adage, "change yourself, change the world". It's about all we can manage at the moment, and things are not looking good even in that arena. Proper preparation is key. Practice before one preaches, might be a better turn of phrase.
What do we need to do then? We need to start living in accordance with the Divine Principle. There are paths (widely mentioned, rarely practiced) in all the major religious schools of thought, psychological studies, etc. You've got your Beatitudes, your 'Fruit of the Spirit', your Eightfold Path, your Greater (Inner) Jihad, you've even got your 'secular morality' to choose from, etc.
At this stage of the game, it's best to stick with what one knows, and just actually start being a kind, considerate & loving person, ensuring that it's authentic, and not just for pretend. If the details of a chosen spiritual path are incorrect, first, it makes little difference from the starting line, and second, we just don't have the time to waste hammering them out before we start doing something productive.
Once we start living right, we'll instinctively start being better stewards, of 'our' time, 'our' possessions, 'our' relationships, etc. We'll be less obsessed with owning things, more focused on Being something, and the Natural Laws of the Universe will start being kinder to us all!