I was on my brisk “power walk” around our neighborhood one morning, when I observed a young dad with his little boy out on their front lawn, and a football-sized rock at their feet. As I slowed and strolled by, I heard the dad say, with the vivid excitement that a young child can really discern, “Let’s put bright colors here on this big, gray rock!”
Wide-eyed, his son answered, just as full-throated, “We Can Do It Quick, like Mommy says!” — to which they giggled together with fulfilled glee. (As did I, a transparent trespasser traipsing by!)
As I returned to walking, the sound of the little boy’s pure, innocent words and his father’s warm delight curiously reminded me of a long-ago moment when I met with my mentor to ask him a painful question at a vulnerable time for me: “What can I rightly say or do, if an aggressive person corners me and names me a selfish, self-righteous, egotistic jackass?”
After silently gazing at me, this man — in process of becoming a wise mentor who will guide me in ways of creative action on principle — replied, “Well, I would be compelled to Do Something, ANYthing for SOMEbody Else, and Quickly — the Sooner the Better! I would allow the ‘dis-easy’, insecure pride in Self to relax, be at ease, and open up to new habits of concept, action, and a personal investment that can and will become downright contagious — in You and far beyond.”
When I stared back at him breathlessly (for what felt like eternity), he smiled gently and added, “I have found over the years that when I am kind, humble, and interested in what I can do for others, then I see in others a mirror of my best self. The ease of that awareness brings people together, even if we think at first that we are drastically different from each other. Just try it out.”
That experience was life-changing for me as, over time, I saw myself nurturing a new outlook of my fellow men and women. Nowadays, I find that — regardless of the many distractions and seeming disruptions that life experience might deliver — two simple, basic truths prove out:
++ Most people are fundamentally fair-minded, kind, and generous; and furthermore …
++ Basic human instinct is not dog-eat-dog selfishness, but social cooperation and sharing.
Such is demonstrated in an article titled “Timeless Truths for Trying Times” from the monthly mailing, “Hightower Lowdown”, on the experimental work of political philosopher John Rawls.
“John Rawls has conducted many sessions of exercises to find out how all sorts of people envision a just society. He asked participants to draw up the ethical underpinnings for an ideal social structure, focusing on principles and strictures that best serve their own interests.
“Rawls put only one restriction on this otherwise free-wheeling exercise: The social engineers were to operate under what he called “The Veil of Ignorance”: None of them would know who they would be in the society they designed. Race, income, sexuality, education, immigration status, disability, age, religion, neighborhood … All would be luck of the draw.
“Over and over, participants from every social status and ideology designed worlds with deep, broad egalitarian structures to ensure that the least well-off, most marginalized person would be treated justly. After all, they themselves might just be that person.”
I, for one, call upon myself to manifest and express this same stance of attitude and outlook to be moment-by-moment attributes that attend my purpose for being on Earth here and now.
And I welcome your agreement with me therein …
Warmest of Regards, as always — PenDell