E pluribus unum

Last Friday I noticed a penny on the rug in our sitting room.  With a lot of things to do in preparation for our marathon the next day, I gave it little thought and turned to head upstairs. Almost immediately I felt a strong impression to pick it up. Hmmm, I wondered, Did this thought come because I recently met that grandpa who always picks up pennies? Silly, impressionable me! I started to resume my course but stopped, feeling again the impression that I should pick up the penny–that it held an important key in my quest for peace.

Yeah, right!, you’re thinking. Weird, I know. But allow me to point out that I’ve done a lot of soul searching recently—a lot of listening for the wisdom of my inner voice—which is why such a thought as That penny is important engaged rather than shocked me. Ready to learn, I stooped down and picked up the penny.

Up close, I looked at that penny as if for the first time. Abe Lincoln in profile. Year stamp. Lincoln Memorial. E pluribus unum.

‘Latin.  Hmm. How would I choose to translate that?  Let’s see . . . “Though many, one”?’

Then it hit me. ‘We’re many, but we’re one!  That sounds like Neale Walsch’s explanation that we’re all individuations of one divinity. That would mean . . .’

What we do unto others, we do unto ourselves!

and,

What we do to ourselves, we do unto others!

Of course!  When we harm others, we are harming part of our selves (that inner, connected part).  When we serve others, we are likewise serving a part of our inner selves!  When we live joyfully, we are sharing our joyous energy with others.  When we complain and criticize others, we are reinforcing internal judgment of ourselves at the same time. Fascinating thought!

It makes me curious.  I wonder if the ethical imperative of the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” or “Do not unto others what you would not want done unto you” (Buddhist version)) actually evolved over time and across traditions to its current translations. Could it be that the earliest mystics perceived that our spiritual connections resulted in our being affected by our treatment of others, and others being affected by how we treat ourselves?

I love the idea that we are connected, and that our living joyfully benefits not only ourselves but all around us. That potential is an acute reminder, too, not to harm others, for such actions would damage a part of ourselves.  E pluribus unum.

Is a greater understanding of our connectedness the “key” to my peace?  I don’t know.  But I know that I’ve recalled this thought on occasions since then, which has motivated me to be a little kinder than I normally would be–both to myself, and to others.  Maybe it is kindness that is the key.

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A better focus

Too many perfectionists (myself included) take their mental and emotional health too seriously.  Unfortunately–at least in this case–focusing our undivided attention on something tends to magnify and increase it, whether it is beneficial to us or not.

I wonder if we perfectionists could “give it a rest” (the mental/emotional stewing over what isn’t working in our lives) by turning our focus to:

– Fueling our bodies well,

– Getting out and doing exercise that we love,

– Making real (not mental) living a practicum of peace (see upcoming blog), and

– Obeying our bodies’ cues for rest

It’s important for us to practice what we want to learn and live.  We should live peace rather than puzzling over the preventors of our peace.  (Are you listening, Shaunalei?!)

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Judging ideas rather than people

I just read a Facebook post in which the author lamented the condescending, “superior” attitude of what she calls open-minded liberals towards those of more conservative belief.  I couldn’t help thinking, “Look in the mirror.”  Both sides act condescendingly towards others who do not believe as they do, it seems to me.

I thought about that tendency we have to think highly of ourselves and judgmentally toward the opposition, and wrote up the following reply:

“We are all deeply invested in our ideas and almost always value them over opposing opinions. Pretty universal. Religious people value scriptural definitions of right and wrong; non-religious/”open-minded” people let their hearts decide.  Ideally, we’d learn to discuss ideas respectfully without attacking the character of our theoretical opponents. People are of worth, even if their current ideas are perverse. (I can’t think of one person, myself included, devoid of at least one bad ideal. Let’s judge bad ideas, not people.)”

If any of you feel that I have attacked you personally with what I write, please inform and/or correct me.  I want to attack bad ideas, bad actions, but not people themselves.  I believe we are more than what we happen to think or do, there being a divine/spiritual core to us that is unencumbered by our mistakes and false traditions. God knows and loves us completely, and I want to love others unconditionally, as he does.  Help me to know and love you well, even if I persist in believing that some of your ideas are worthless.  I hope others will do the same with me.

Good friends correct rather than condemn one another, if there are real problems.  If we care, we help.

Shalom to all my friends,
Shaunalei

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