“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ~ Albert Einstein
Selfish. That is probably the best word that can be used to describe us at our infancy. When we are first born, we look at the world entirely as ours. Anything or anyone that walks into our vision is ours, to be manipulated, touched, tasted, and tested at will. We do not think about others. We think about ourselves and our needs and desires. If they get fulfilled, we are good, happy babies. If our needs and desires are not met, we scream, cry, and tantrum.
Einstein would agree with this assessment. He realized that people tend to see themselves as isolated beings pursuing their own goals and pleasures. They might have a few people in their lives but not that many and generally to satisfy their own wants or needs.
It is only when we realize that we are not alone, isolated beings that the real work of a human can begin. It is when we realize that we are a part of a much larger group that we understand our relationship and even our responsibility to others. We can understand that relationship best when we look at the world through the eyes of another and not our own.
When we become close to another person or other people, we can see the world through their eyes and experiences and understand the need or plight of others. They raise our consciousness to higher levels as well as invite and encourage us to meet the needs of others. That is all done because we dared to look at the world through the eyes of a friend.
That can satisfy our human needs. We feel more secure as people when we can respond to the wants and needs of others. We feel better belonging to a larger group that shares the same feelings and longings we have. But it shouldn’t stop with that.
In order to be fulfilled completely, we need to take care not only of our human wants but also the wants and needs of our soul. We need to reach out and realize that we are not alone but that we are a part of the universe and members of the family of God. Our souls need to be nurtured and that comes about by the relationship we develop with Jesus as well as His people.
Einstein would say that it is necessary to widen “our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Make no mistake about it. The entire human race and all nature is beautiful because it has been created and nurtured by God. Celebrate that!
FAITH ACTION: Look past your own wants and needs today and reach out to those around you.