I said yesterday that spiritual development comes from being as much as doing, and that it comes in many guises. An unselfish will to good, conscious or unconscious, is always key, however actively or not it is expressed: it does not matter.
Modesty is a hallmark, always, of those rare individuals who devote their lives to helping others in the way they are called so to do. If they find renown it is by chance, unsought, and it is accepted only because the public profile may help their work. Sometimes the “celebrity” is endured as a painful necessity for the greater good, and Mother Teresa is an example of one who, driven by her burning desire to help the poor and sick of Calcutta, acquired fame with reluctance but also acceptance for how it could help her mission.
When she died she was recognised everywhere for her commitment and achievements, and her inspiration to many. It is easy to think of others like her such as Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King who similarly are remembered for what they did to help humanity. They poured heart and soul into their cause not for glory but to fight injustice for those who suffered under it.
We must not forget that there are many others who similarly are driven by a desire to make the world better but who are not well known. They are unsung heroes who dedicate all they have to a cause dear to them sometimes at personal cost and without thanks. While they may think their achievements are small in fact this cannot be so, ever, for any expression of good intent is sowing seeds for growth sooner or later often abundantly. However small a kind act may seem to be at the time, the repercussions will be sizeable – including for the initiator. Unsung heroes have much light on their souls.
I met an unsung hero last night, a man who has through an organisation called Soul of Europe dedicated many years to trying to combat anti-Muslim racism and to assist peace-building whenever he can. It continues to be a challenging project with bureaucratic hurdles and limited funding, but nonetheless he and his colleagues persevere with a determination and commitment which is truly admirable, and they are doing much good without any thought of personal gain.
Unsung heroes are all around us, perhaps in your child’s school, sitting on the tube next to you, farming the land or striving for world peace in a small or a large way. Indeed, you may be an unsung hero too.
(Soul of Europe’s website is at www.soulofeurope.org)