Performing volunteer service work in India allowed me to associate with a few living Masters. In the Far East it is one's duty to properly nurture family and, with integrity, serve the community as well. This is called 'dharma' or the 'natural way of things'. I discovered that a living Master can inspire and lead the aspirant from the darkness of a selfish lifestyle to the light of a meaningful life. This teaching is particularly applicable in the Western world.
The Master instills in the aspirant an inner purpose in serving one's family, work associates, and the less fortunate in the global community. Both Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Rajneesh, came on the North American scene knowing they had quite a chore ahead of themselves in their wish to transform the Western mindset. They baited the hook with the notion that daily meditation would be enough to bring about 'happiness.' However, within their teaching was the emphasis that true 'Self' knowledge was vital.
It wasn't until Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama, and Mata Amritanandamayi came on the scene that the depth of a 'dharmic' lifestyle began to take hold. Yet still, the essence of each of their teachings was: 'discover the depth of love within the Self....and then share that, express that love, in the world'. At first the search for awakening may even be considered a 'selfish' pursuit. But once the heart is awakened, fulfilment is found in sharing that joy with others.
Mother Theresa had told her aspiring service workers; "No one leaves this ashram facility to serve in the world community until their faces radiate real joy while assisting the sick and dying." Mata Amritanandamayi had bluntly told her aspirants that a fellow can meditate for hours a day, come out of his room, and quickly loose all the bliss enlivened during his meditations by carrying on in his old pattern of selfishness and impatience. Impatience and selfishness negate the joy that arises from a full heart.
Those who are unawakened have little interest in the well-being of others. So the task of the enlightened Master is to shake up the old egoism of the aspirant and, at the least, awaken him to the love residing within his own Self. Until that real love is awakened, 'doing unto others in a kindhearted manner', will require persistence and conscious effort .
A resident care attendant at the extended care facility I used to work at once looked me straight in the eyes and quietly whispered; "Bill, its all about the laaave. Its all about the love." Meditation is an important practice; it opens the doorway to expanded awareness. On the other hand, performing one's duties with kindhearted intentions, keeps the life joyful. Being compassionate in daily activity is the icing on the cake.