A mouse was in constant distress because of its fear of the cat. A magician took pity on it and turned it into a cat. But then it became afraid of the dog.
So the magician turned it into a dog. Then it began to fear the panther, so the magician turned it into a panther. Whereupon it was full of fear for the hunter.
Frustrated, the magician gave up and turned it back into a mouse saying, "Nothing I do for you is going to be of any help because you have the heart of a mouse."
Where our heart goes, so too, the mind and feet. Experiences are a reflection of our consciousness, our beliefs. What is your reflection? What is our reflection as a people? Does it reflect the common good? Here are a few common good happenings that occured in history during late February.:
February 23, 1455: Johannes Gutenberg prints his first Bible
1896: Tootsie Roll introduced by Leo Hirshfield
...fortunately, toothpaste began being massed produced in 1873
1954: The first injections of the Salk polio vaccine given at Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA
Feb 24, 1983: Special Congressional commission released report condemning WWII Japanese internment
...almost 40 years late and now California is putting together an official apology, too
1979: Stamford, Texas, the highest price ever paid for a pig was made...$42,500
...pig's name was Glacier
...more for the common breakfast than the common good
And in 1924: Pacifist and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi was released from jail
...one who dedicated his life to the common good.
Seeking the common good is a Habit of the Heart; something that must be developed:
I asked a Rabbi once, “Why does Torah tell us to ‘place these words upon our hearts’? Why does it not tell us to place these holy words in our hearts?”
The rebbe answered, “It is because as we are, our hearts are closed, and we cannot place the holy words in our hearts. So we place them on top of our hearts. And there they stay until, one day, the heart breaks and the words fall in.”
Opening the heart to new words and new insights, thus a new habit, must be intentionally developed in order to reflect into our own experiences and those of the common good. Before we get to the how of developing this habit, let's remember that this country was created for the common good: preamble of Constitution begins “We the People” and the U.S. motto is "E Pluribus Unum" - Out of many, one. So, for those in the United States, remember that working for the common good is one of the American ideals, as well as one for humanity.
Let's talk some more about creating this habit of the heart. In defining the work ”heart,” I found that it comes from the Latin word “cor.” Interestingly, the heart is the core of the whole system -mind/body/ spirit- and is the first organ to develop in a person. It is the core of the body because the heart pumps much more than blood; it also pumps hormones that regulate many bodily functions, including those in the brain. The heart also has an electromagnetic field enveloping the body which has been proven to influence behavior of DNA in our cells. The heart has an intelligence; is the core of the human self, where all knowing converges. Within it is an intricate network of several types of neurons, neurotransmitters, proteins and support cells, like those found in the brain. It is where we integrate what we know in our minds/brains with what we know in our gut - the place where knowledge, intuition, and feeling connect.
Heart-Mind well-being refers to creating a balance between educating the mind and educating the heart. ~Dalai Lama Center for Peace and UnderstandingCor is also the Latin root of the word courage.
When all that we know of self and world comes together in the center-place called the heart, we are more likely to find the courage to act humanely on what we know. ~Parker PalmerOur heart is a reflection of our beliefs into experience and our experiences are a mirror from our heart.
I know it gets difficult out there. Statistics show that in 1963, over 70% of Americans trusted government to do the right thing, nowadays it's only 16%. Trust for corporations in the late '70s averaged 32%, by 2016 it was only 18%. Trust in banks has dropped from 60% to 27%, in newspapers, from 51% to 20%. This decline is found in nonprofits, universities, charities, and religious institutions. Seeing this for years, we start to feel hopeless, out of control and become apathetic. Our heart closes - for protection more than anything.
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. ~JungIn the end, the face we turn toward our self, is the face we will turn toward the outer world. What to do? Parker Palmer, Founder and Senior Partner of the Center for Courage and Renewal designed five habits to heal the heart of democracy:
1. An understanding that we are all in this together.
Everything we receive through the Law, comes from a reflection of our consciousness
2. An appreciation of the value of "otherness"
Of course, "otherness” is a made up notion / bias / prejudice. It is a fear from a learned or accepted perception. There is truly no otherness as all come from same creative energy - the Namaste.
The measure of mental health is the disposition to find good everywhere. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson3. An ability to hold tension in life-giving ways.
Life can be imperfect, yes, however what we do with the tensions of the imperfect is what is important. Are you going to be a victim or a victor? You get to decide.
4. A sense of personal voice and agency.
What we put into the race consciousness via our opinions, judgments, biases, prejudices, etc. affects the culture and our community and world. Choose wisely.
5. A capacity to create community.
If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together. ~Anonymous
A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. ~Mohammed
Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another's pain, life is not in vain. ~Helen KellerBeing in and taking care of community and collaboration is not versus taking care of self. It is inclusive and part of taking care of self.
Somehow, the act of self-giving is a personal power-releasing factor. ~Norman Vincent Peale
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will never be shortened. Happiness never ceases by being shared. ~Chinese Proverb"Lighted from a single candle" reminds me of the Hanukkah menorah lead candle - the shamash. The shamash is the helper or attendant candle that is there to serve if one of the eight candles blow out. Let us all be the shamash for each other, with the heart of a lion and for the common good. In you “there's a heart that must be free to fly…” Break open your heart, let the sacred words drop in and watch the world reflect that heart and shine longer, steadier and brighter as a reflection of love, inclusivity and prosperity for all.
I Am a Mirror Of..
...kindness, victory, prosperity, vitality, creativity, influence, certainty and comfort. I Am in control and secure, full of variety, significance and uniqueness.
I inhale the oxygen of life -Love- and I exhale, spreading that Love.
I Am connected, growing, evolving, transcending, contributing, and seeing life with clarity, beauty, and possibilities
I Reflect the Divine Wisdom In Me!