Article by Yaron Barzilay
Which might be the best career in the world? Trying to answer this might suggest ideas such as “do nothing, earn a lot”. Maybe it involves working in some exotic destination, making money while having fun, etc. But when talking about a ‘career’, rather than a ‘job’, we are referring to a process of self-improvement and personal growth, not only of earning. So which then, may be the best career for us? What can offer the best possibility of growth? Well, of course, this depends entirely on the individual asking the question; what answers the call for self development and fulfillment. Keeping this in mind, we’d like to suggest one career opportunity: To Be an Idealist.
Making your prime objective in life to follow an Ideal, beyond all personal motives and interests, is a career we invite you to consider. Yes, it has no direct monetary gain. This means you might need to earn a living from a ‘side job’. In addition, it is not always seen positively to be called an idealist these days; ironically it may be perceived as being disconnected from ‘real life’ or being naïve. Yet if your ‘business’ deals with Truth, and Service to the world’s real needs, you may consider Idealism as your main career, the very best one to practice. It will always demand from you to improve, and to better yourself, echoing Gandhi’s words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” You’ll have to ask yourself, “What does the world really need?” Not only will you have to deal with symptoms and immediate repairs, but it will be necessary to go beyond the many shadows our world is darkened by, and search for the light above – an ideal of what the world could, and therefore must, be. Can anything, but the truth, be considered a sustainable solution to the world’s problems? Is there a reality of an ideal world for mankind that we can imagine, and follow? A better model for human life? A higher state of mind? Of a real fraternity with one another, and with nature around us? A higher city in the sky, like the ancients always seemed to cherish; an Acropolis of heart and mind?
You can not distort an Ideal by bringing it down, to your own personal perception. Instead you must always rise up to it, and make an ongoing effort to understand the ideal you are following. A good intention alone, you may already be aware, can be very dangerous, if not followed up with right action. Therefore, being an idealist is far from intellectualism alone. On the contrary, service with the highest efficiency, and putting words into practice, is a basic must for the true idealist. Far from intellectual debate, the idealist will not be satisfied just by thinking about how to solve the world’s problems, while seated idle behind the desk. Demonstrations in the streets, only to point out what is wrong, without offering an example of the right path, only add more chaos to the world; it does not improve it. It is said that, “The World follows Examples, Not Advice.”
On the other hand, to act without knowledge is also dangerous. Superficial ideas and false solutions can cause great, sometimes irreparable, damage. In order to gain right knowledge and understand the needs of the world, one may turn to Philosophy, the love and pursuit of Wisdom. It is not without reason that the ancient world considered philosophy the mother of all sciences, a necessary foundation for any higher study. One needs to understand ‘why’ & ‘what’, before he learns the ‘how’ and starts to act. This also means to know why we live before engaging in the race of life itself.
One needs to observe carefully the reasons beyond his actions, and must always remember that to follow an ideal is to act with the mind, the heart, and both hands, all together. To learn and to act, to act and to learn, can never be separated. From this perspective, there might not be so much of a difference between the concept of an Idealist and that of a Disciple seeking wisdom; both are required to investigate the truth, practice it and dedicate themselves to the betterment of the world. Can one follow Wisdom and Truth without acting in its service? Is it possible to speak of spiritual growth, of expanding the boundaries of the self, without concern for the fate of the other? Following an ideal will put one across fellow companions in the service of humanity, who are working for what unites us, rather than highlighting what separates and divides. Here, age, gender, religion or social background cannot darken the natural fraternity that exists amongst men; that truly work for the benefit of others. To care for, and to be concerned for, the other, means to think less of yourself, and to be less enslaved by the selfish mind that separates us from the oneness of Life, the enigmatic ocean without shores. Therefore, to follow an ideal, to work for the needs of the world, is to follow a spiritual path, and is to be a disciple of truth. It cannot serve a personal goal that only meant to benefit or to satisfy a moral concern, without making the effort to investigate what is really needed, beneficial and effective.
To follow an ideal demands constant change and improvement, and resolution of ethical doubts, while facing challenges and resistance from time to time. This means that constant effort is to be made, which may not be easy to accept, if we glorify a life of tranquility and the warmth of a comfort zone. But is it easier to accept life, without a concern for its meaning? Can we accept that our life’s deeds shall be written on the sand, while we are unaware of the coming waves, that will wash them away? History is full of deeds of men and women who lived their life, leaving behind monuments to last forever: the Pyramids, many temples, and examples of art, literature, and ideas in service of mankind. Many will never be recognized by name, but their actions will echo through eternity. Isn’t that worth dedicating our life to? Isn’t it worth making a career out of? Becoming a bridge between the celestial heights, towards where the ideal vertically points, and the horizontal earth, where man lives and dies, is to become an Idealist. Following an ideal, like a chosen path climbing towards a mountain peak, might reveal that the many ideals , are truly but different facets of the one IDEAL. Then maybe one can explore that ‘The IDAEL’ is everywhere and exclusively nowhere; you may find it in the mountains, covered with pure white snow; or in the trees and flowers pointing towards the sun; in a cry of a soldier fighting for a noble cause, or within a poem written by an unknown wise man of antiquity. You may also find it in the beauty that lies within nature itself. But if you find it, and if you are able to serve it, and call yourself an Idealist – isn’t it already what you ever wished for?
Follow the call, if your heart hears it, because it is needed today, not less than before, but maybe much more. During the day, when the blazing sun shines in the middle of the sky, a cool shade is clearly a blessing for many who can’t bear the direct heat. But in other moments, of cold darkness, a humble bonfire is sought, with great necessity. When night falls, many far away suns can be viewed in all their might and glory. When night falls, the inner parts of houses are easily seen and their secrets revealed. These are challenging moments of great importance, when all become more materialistic, multiply and separate. It is a time for you to stand upright and aim high – to the Good, the Truth, the Just and the Beautiful. This is the time when idealists are most needed. If you seek for the best career in the world…one that is truly needed and is beneficial for the self and the whole…consider being an Idealist. You are certainly needed.
Is it possible to live by the wisdom of the ancient masters in our everyday life?
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