One of the most common questions we are asked is, ‘Why is sacrifice so negative?’ What we call sacrifice is that feeling that we cannot live our own life because we have to look after someone else’s needs, whether that is a boss, a child, a partner or a parent. Somehow we have made the choice to sacrifice our own needs, our own wishes, our own authenticity, in the mistaken belief that it will get us something like love, or approval. Yet on the surface, sacrifice can look like giving, ‘she/he is so amazing, so strong, so selfless’; hence the question.
Basically the first level answer is because sacrifice does not achieve its goal or if it does it takes stupendous levels of energy to maintain the outcome, which can quickly lead to burn out. Another negative result is the rage of sacrifice, when you feel like you have given up your life for another and they have not even noticed. However lastly, and often the most deeply buried dynamic, is that sacrifice is our secret attempt to take. Trying to take something from someone else or from a situation always reflects a lack of integrity and is basically against the laws of Heaven. Taking is driven purely by the ego and will eventually destroy any relationship because when any form of taking is present in your relationship or your life then many things will happen but not love. How do you know you are trying to take? That is easy: because you are suffering, hurt, heartbroken, upset, angry, guilty, etc etc ……..One morning many years ago I had an amazing experience. I woke up and my world was very different because my awareness was in my heart. I was in my heart and I could feel every muscular contraction and the opening and closing of valves, but much more than that I was in a state of infinite joy. I felt like a spring of light and love and I had only one desire in my mind and that was to share, to give, to pour this out to anyone and everyone I met. I glimpsed this is what the great masters felt as they walked the earth, consumed by the strongest desire to give, to burn so brightly you would reach the outer limits of the universe in every sense. The idea of conflict or upset was totally alien, as a deep sense of peace seemed the bedrock of this experience. And I still had not got out of bed.
I recognise now that many people speak of this experience and call it by many names. It is true that often we may follow negative feelings to our hearts, but this was so far beyond all that. This was a willingness to step beyond myself, give up all the suffering born of the ego and embrace the deepest desire of our hearts to give and contribute without limits. It feels like when each one of us totally chooses this and embraces the experience, then a well of light and love springs up in the desert and all around life begins to flourish and the joy spreads. This flow is endless and infinite and there is more than enough for everybody.
Of course there is always the lure of wanting to take something, driven by the belief in scarcity and lack we harbour in our minds and from this springs our needs. All our competition, control, grievance, guilt, hurt, heartbreak and specialness build our ego and drive our taking.
As we know, none of these is a recipe for happiness or even happy relationships, and healing all these issues could take us a lifetime. Or we could be willing to shift our awareness to our hearts and our desire to give, no matter what is going on in our lives, no matter what our circumstances.
Take time today to make a conscious choice and put your awareness on your heart and only on your heart. Our mind, where we spend most of our time, is powerful. But our heart holds the key to going beyond ourselves.