On getting used
It is a sad fact that I feel the need to caution people on the spiritual path against abuse. I will need to be honest, I think, even if it is uninspiring.
Caring for others in any walk of life can be a thankless task. If people read you as a caring person they will quickly come to you with all their problems. Then when they start feeling better they don't want to know you any more because they associate you with the problems. They will often accuse you of being negative even if you have always tried to encourage them. So if we are going to be carers we have to love it for its own sake or sell our services.
This is perhaps even more so these days. There is no doubt in my mind that mankind is becoming more selfish. As a monk I was largely withdrawn from society for many years. Returning to a more engaged life as an Abbot I really notice the difference. It is only in recent years that I have found myself badly used by others. It is a sad fact that the modern 'spiritual shopper' is capable of taking without even thinking of offering anything in return. Even members of a spiritual community can be like this, wanting more and more and wanting to give less and less.
I find this very sad but I have to survive. I find myself more and more cautious in what I offer before I see some sign of return and advise others to do the same. It seems to me that selfishness progresses naturally when someone cannot afford to be generous, knowing that they will receive nothing back for all their efforts, so I keep myself ready and eager to respond to anyone who appears to be an exception to this unfortunate trend.
I offer this for your reflection