Human Relationships (Video Script)
Humans are social beings. In every area of life, healthy relationships with others enhances quality of life, longevity, and survival of the species.
For example, sociologists have established a connection between the quantity and quality of social relationships and health. On average, people who are socially active live longer and are healthier than more isolated peers.
In contrast, social isolation is associated with specific health risks and mortality for medical conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
In one fascinating study conducted at UCLA, psychologists reported that simply looking at the photo of a loved one, significantly decreases the experience of pain.
In the workplace, research in human relations has emphasized the importance of interpersonal skills such as effective communication, empathy and openness to others’ feelings, and the ability to cooperate to solve conflicts and resolve problems.
Likewise, the social dimension of religion and spirituality is recognized in almost every tradition. Hindus believe that all life is sacred and practice non-injury, in thought, word and deed. Likewise, Buddhism emphasizes compassion. Judaism underscores the sacredness of community. Christianity teaches that we are all, our brothers keeper. Charity is a pillar of Islam.
The golden rule of treating others as you would be treated, is the foundation of most spiritual traditions. And yet human cruelty and inhumanity is a plague to life on this planet. Materialistic, survival of the fittest individualism – that insists that greed is good and that each person should only look after themselves – is short-sighted and contributes to social instability. Selfishness has become so pervasive as a cultural value in the modern world as to appear insurmountable. What is a soul to do?
Just as God’s love implies sacrifice, human relationships are nurtured by selflessness in thought and deed. This is one of the great paradoxes of human experience. To enhance one’s self, one must become selfless in service to others.
To be sure, this runs counter to the worldly view of selfhood based on looking out for number 1. Self-sacrifice will appear counter-intuitive to the social climber, business entrepreneur, or power-hungry politician focused on personal accomplishment.
Even for the less ambitious who are just struggling to get by in life, self-sacrifice can seem counter-productive. But as Jesus noted, the servant of all, is the greatest of all.
By putting others first, the self awakens to its full potential as companion and co-creator with the divine. At a fundamental level, the search for God embraces human relationship. Relationship requires sacrifice.
In giving we receive. By setting self aside in service to others, the awareness of God is magnified.
A Debt To The World
The Cayce readings endorse the concept of social responsibility as a way of life. We each owe the world for the opportunity that it provides as a channel for soul expression.
The primary focus of the lessons to this point has been on interactions with others at the individual level – person to person. With the progress in soul development that has been made thus far, it is time to consider a broader application of spiritual principles that bring light into the world. The person-to-person emphasis is not to be abandoned or slighted in the least. Rather, this is an extension of that loving effort into the world.
Thus, seeking God through human relationships can also occur at a collective level in terms of social activism. Much good can be accomplished by cooperative activity at various levels, from small groups to enormous organizations.
Involvement in a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or secular social group with a high spiritual ideal, is a natural expression of loving relationship. Likewise, participation in a political movement or a business with a high spiritual ideal, can be a channel for developing sacred connectedness to others.
From the beginning lesson of A Search For God, the pattern was set: First to the individual, the group, then to the classes, and finally the masses. Through human relationship across the spectrum of social interaction, heaven is brought to earth and God’s love is made manifest in human history.