The Lodestone of the Hearts of Men

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I'm baaaaaaaaaack!!! I have been away from the blog now for over a month! I guess I needed a break. But now life is calming down for the holidays and I have a little more time to re-devote myself to this whole blogging thing.

First things first. Check out this video I found the other day entitled "Why Empathy?". A teacher is relating an interaction she had with a member of the Ku Klux Klan who attended one of her classes.

Pretty cool, huh? It reminded me of a time when I used to chat on a "Young and the Restless" message board many years ago. (Yes, I watched Young and the Restless for twelve years and used to be a big fan, so sue me. LOL! I only just kicked the habit a couple of years back. It's like a drug.)

Anyway, a lot of times there would be individuals chatting on the site who would be downright mean or nasty about different topics of conversation that would come up. Usually, it would revolve around political or religious issues and it got extremely ugly more often than not. Hateful even. Sometimes I would put in my two cents (in what I thought was a very loving, compassionate way) and it made absolutely no difference. The ugliness would continue and sometimes get even worse due to what I had contributed to the conversation. I spent many hours trying to do what I could to quench this endless fire of hate that would spew from those anonymous keyboards across the country.

I don't do that anymore. I learned my lesson. I had always adhered to the teaching of my faith that a "kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men" (full quote at the very end of this post). I still agree that a kindly tongue is always best, but I had now learned that sometimes it is even wiser to just remain silent. For whatever reason, some hearts and souls out there are just too wounded and disconnected with their humanity.

Even worse, those of us who feel we are "enlightened" many times exacerbate the situation by being just too quick to judge others who act in ways that are contrary to what we value and hold dear. I think we should remember that people who act out in angry, hateful or unkind ways are really hurting somewhere deep inside. They may be scared of losing something that they hold dear, they may be desperately seeking validation or as is the case in the video - they may just want to feel connected with those who are supposed to love them most.

This video has inspired me to make a more concerted effort to show love to every single person I come across, no matter how "despicable" they may seem. And then, if I feel like it would be wiser to just "let it go", then I will. Immediately and completely.

As always, thoughts, comments and quotations appreciated. Happy Holidays!

"O ye children of men! The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men. Suffer it not to become a source of dissension and discord, of hate and enmity." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 215)

"Should anyone wax angry with you, respond to him with gentleness; and should anyone upbraid you, forbear to upbraid him in return, but leave him to himself and put your trust in God, the omnipotent Avenger, the Lord of might and justice." (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 75)

"Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom." (King James Bible, Proverbs 13:10)

"Speak not harshly to anyone.
Those thus addressed will retort.
Painful indeed is vindictive speech.
Blows in exchange may bruise you.

If you silence yourself as a broken gong,
You have already attained Nibbana.
No contention will be found in you."

(Buddhist, Dhammapada - Sayings of the Buddha 3 (tr. J. Richards))

"Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious. Great speech is impassioned, small speech cantankerous." (Tao, Chuangtse (Lin Yutang tr))

"Consort with all men, O people of Baha, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and goodwill. If it be accepted, if it fulfill its purpose, your object is attained. If anyone should refuse it, leave him unto himself, and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal unkindly with him. A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding." (Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 15)


Janet Collins said...

The video sure makes me stop and think. It's amazing what lengths we, especially as children, will go to just to be accepted by someone we love so dearly. In this case it was a boy needing to be accepted by his father which is very common.
Most everyone at some point has compromised their morals and values just to fit in, or to feel welcomed by a group, or to look more inviting for someone's love. Even if it was short lived... I think we have all been there at some point to some degree.
Loving and being loved should always be unconditional. It's about accepting people for who they are and once we do, it's almost as if a door opens and we see a whole, brand new side to someone that allows us to find not just a few things to love about the person, but MANY things to love.

It's so important to remember that we all have a story. So, before we jump to judge, we have to remember that we really don't know someone's story until we get to know them as a person... if we even get the chance. From there, we can still extend grace and kindness even if we choose not to have the person permanently in our life.

All that being said... I'm glad you're back in blog mode :)

Justin Johnson said...

Thanks Janet. I am glad you are still supporting me! ;-)

I agree that the video really makes you stop and think about how often you just really don't know a person. You can't be certain why they do what they do or think the way they think until you truly get to know them. And we all should make that effort to truly love and be kind to everyone who cross our paths. One of my favorite quotes is...

"Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 15)

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