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!
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.