The Basic Idea Revisited

the Basica

  Imagine, for just a moment, that you were the only consciousness in existence and that you experienced yourself as totally whole, not fractured into separate selves or parts somehow. If you were kind, how and to whom would you show that kindness? If you were generous, what and to whom would you give? If you were friendly, with whom would you share companionship? If you already knew all there was to know, what would you learn?

  It is not just a hypothetical question: What if these are the kinds of things life is really all about? What if this is what we are here to do? Any material thing you possess, even if it is buried in your tomb, will remain in the material realm when your spirit no longer occupies your body. Even your legacy of power, fame, and wealth is a matter of concern only for those still remaining in the physical world. And that, like any object, can eventually be corrupted or lost and forgotten. But what we become and what we create together by our sincere kindness, generosity, willingness to learn and to teach, and other, similar things remains. Even anything of that nature that is abandoned or destroyed at some time can still be regained or rebuilt. In looking at the longer arc of existence, we can see the lasting value of these ideals and of our attempts to reach for them day by day. Even our failures have their merit, if we consider and respond to them wisely.

  We are not simply directed to behave ourselves while we wait for whatever comes next or made to jump through hoops for treats and scolded if we disobey. We are in the business of love, joy, respect, education, mutual aid, and all other acts of goodness. They are worthy and rewarding in and of themselves. Anything else we do should be in their service. It may be interesting or necessary to have some pursuits with other themes, but we must never completely lose sight of what really matters. And the more central we make our real purpose to our thinking, feeling, and acting, the more noble all our pursuits become.

  In this spirit, let us say, "Do not worry about the payment you might receive when the work is done and you are to return home. Do your job - and with pleasure!"

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