Too often we may find ourselves confronted by the plights of a homeless person and shrink away with a silent prayer that they will not approach us or bother us for money. We shirk our responsibilities to these people daily. But we are part of a world which has created and maintains a large homeless population and we have some obligations to share our good fortune with them, even if it is only to smile and greet them warmly and share a kind word with them.|
A kind word and our acceptance and appreciation for who these people are may often be of far more value to a homeless person than the dollar or two we might give them or our cast off clothes. Instead we shun the homeless, we attempt to ignore their presence among us, and in this way we degrade them and devalue them making them less than ourselves in our own eyes. But truly we are all equals on earth; our accomplishments and wealth do not make us better than anyone else. The regard we give to those of wealth and power is a reflection of our own avarice, we wish we ourselves could be that powerful or wealthy and we idolize those that achieve that level of success because we want to achieve as much for ourselves.
Also, the winners get the best publicity and have the most influence on our cultural values, so they make sure that they are perceived in the best possible light and that the competitive streak which got them to the top is worshipped as a great virtue.
But that competitive spirit can go too far. It can rend our society with its values as it drives the division between the wealthiest and poorest people ever deeper. More and more of our wealth is flowing into fewer hands which is driving the middle class deeper into poverty. So what is accepted as a virtue, a strong competitive nature, may not be virtuous.
One other reason we accept the notion of a strong competitive nature as being virtuous is because it is the bread winners of our families who support us and whom we personally venerate for their success and their ability to care for us and to give us our comforts.
What would be the consequence of failing to have a competitive streak?
If we were to look into another person"s eyes and see their need to succeed and step aside because we are not so driven as they are because we hate to win and to make some other person lose then we may naturally migrate to the bottom ranks of society and accept marginal lifestyles that at best may be barely subsistent and at worst can make us homeless. Why should we characterize people like this as bad people if they do not have the spirit to compete? Such meek people often feel as if they are hurting others when they compete with them; they feel that they are taking food from someone else. In consequence the meek may care less for themselves than for others around them to whom they defer their own needs.
This meek quality seems to me to be a virtue. To feel for others so deeply that you would automatically sacrifice yourself at every turn for their benefit no matter how this will affect you seems to me to be a noble character trait. Too many of the homeless are like this, souls rich in kindness and humility that cannot bear the cutthroat atmosphere of our economic world and decline to participate, not out of laziness or moral turpitude, but out of generosity and an inherent will to put other people"s needs ahead of their own.
These people should be our heroes.
We should learn from this example and embrace this ostracized population and take them into our homes and care for them. Instead we characterize them in ways which frighten us and make us more inclined to shun them. The homeless see the world through vastly different eyes than our own and we fear contamination from them. We fear what would happen to us if we shared their world view and understood them. So we distance ourselves from them at every opportunity rather than embrace them.
This is a great injustice to these kind people. Certainly, some among the homeless do not share these virtues and may have unpleasant character traits such as being substance dependent or thieves, but we allow our perception of those among the homeless who may have such unpleasant character traits to color our perceptions of the homeless so that we characterize the general homeless population as being a dangerous group of people whom we must avoid. But those who hide among the homeless to enable themselves to do harm to themselves or to others are not representative of the larger group of homeless people. Many of this class of people who appear to be homeless only camouflage themselves among the homeless and have homes to return to at night. These predatory types who adopt the coloration of being homeless to engage us for their own benefit by panhandling or robbing are only a minority and are often not homeless themselves but only use the disguise of being homeless to their advantage. We should not characterize homeless people as a group with the negative character traits of a minority of that group. We should not shirk our social responsibilities and shun our homeless neighbors out of fear and misunderstanding; we should instead open our hearts to them and show them our love and acceptance.
We often may characterize homeless people as insane or psychotic or schizophrenic, but even in this regard, those with true and serious mental disorders are a minority. What appears so irrational to us is their failure to compete in our society. This is the thing we actually fear the most about homeless people for we are conditioned to compete and to trample and defeat our competition. It seems scary and unnatural to us to see someone who fails to exhibit a strong competitive nature.
One consequence of being homeless is that homeless people often do not have many good opportunities to communicate with people who have stable lives in good homes. They may gravitate deeper into that marginalized portion of society where people are more like them and may share their world view. Consequently they learn to communicate in ways which are poorly understood by people outside of homeless populations. Within groups of homeless people communication skills often break down or evolve into forms that frighten us because we may be unable to understand what a homeless person is trying to say to us. This often causes us to perceive homeless people as being crazy when they are not. Some homeless people may be genuinely crazy but even those homeless people who have adopted the habit of talking to themselves or to people who are not visible to us are not necessarily crazy. Many homeless people who exhibit these behaviors may only be very lonely or may be gifted with a psychic perception that allows them to talk to spirits whom no one else may see. We may perceive these people to be lunatics, but this is because we are afraid to risk understanding them for we fear we may be contaminated by their beliefs. We do not wish to risk becoming like them.
Once upon a time there were more roles in our society for such meek people. They were our home servants, sweeps, gardeners and so forth. Such people were employed by the middle class in large numbers and they lived among us, perhaps not always as equals, but as friends and helpers. But as economic pressures drove more competitive people to take those jobs once held in low regard, and as those same economic pressures made domestic help unaffordable to more and more of the middle class those roles that once were open to people of a less competitive spirit have gradually disappeared and left fewer opportunities for meek people to find a worthwhile role among us.
Consequently, there are more homeless people among us and we face a dilemma. So long as we allow these people to remain marginalized we create an environment within which criminal elements may hide and among which those in need of urgent medical care may die neglected. We make our own world shabbier and more dangerous and our own spirits more filled with guilt, grief and anger by our choices to neglect and ostracize those people among us whose economic fortunes are less than our own.
We owe it to ourselves, to our world and most especially to the homeless people among us to do better for them, even if all we have to give them is a friendly greeting and our warm words.
And somehow, I suspect there is far more that we may give them than our encouragement or a bowl of soup. So do not let your fear of homeless people stifle the humanity in your soul. Open your heart and find something more to give them than your discourtesy or neglect. Not only will you make another person"s day much brighter, but you will feel a satisfying sense of joy and wellbeing in response to all you give to those around you who most need whatever you may have to offer them.
Author Bio :
Greg Gourdian is a member of Gharveyn, a collective of people sharing one body. Members have many different skills and personalities. We tell many strange tales regarding our spiritual journeys. Greg is our best writer.Experience includes working as a psychic reader. We teach Metaphysics & Parapsychology, Sociology, Psychology, Tarot and Alchemy, and more… Our Spiritual Counseling work specializes in helping people disoriented by Spiritual Awakenings. We promote Love, Peace, Compassion and Nurture. Namaste, Blog: http://tangledintime.blogspot.com, Home: http://greg.gourdian.googlepages.com/home
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