There is a real sense in which it may be said that our human side thrives on cares and concerns while our spiritual side thrives better without them. Our unavoidable membership and participation in the race of man carries with it an equally unavoidable hierarchy of cares. That’s life!
Primary among all cares is our concern for ourselves: our safety, our health, security, comfort, and happiness. Next in line is our care for others: family, friends, relatives, associates, and even strangers. In all concerns our care seems to empower our humanity. Our care for ourselves emphasizes that we are here, now, in this world, and with a distinct bodily form. That’s what we have to offer. We are magnetized consciously and/or subconsciously by this concept. Secondly, it weighs heavily that we are surrounded by others in the same condition who may benefit in some way from our presence in their lives.
Yet, I think such cares often cloud the growth and development of our spiritual side. How crass and contrary it would seem of us if we expressed that our cares and worries for ourselves and others should be shelved. Yet this is, in effect, what the monastic does. We might say that abandoning cares and concerns is tantamount to abandoning love. Not really!
It takes a microscopic examination of our cares and worries and a change in the way we think about them to make progress. So very much of what we are anxious about stems fromfear based on lack of trust – of ourselves, of others, of You. Your own words in the gospels have told us many times not to be anxious. We might say that our worries and cares are based on love, but such instances, at root, seem rare. Like the monastic we need to jettison the kinds of cares and concerns that are not to the point. Caring and worrying about how to love unselfishly is much different than anxieties about how much gas is in the tank, how clean the house is for guests, or whether things you do are noticed or not. The monastic has shed such petty concerns to simply love, give, and erase self.