I understand that this is the beginning of a consciousness towards a change, and I relish the challenge and opportunity.I started out the post with a quote from a new acquaintance of mine Epictetus. He was born into slavery about 55 AD in the eastern outreaches of the Roman Empire. Once freed, he established an influential school of Stoic philosophy. Epictetus’ focus was on the responsibility of the individual to live the best life possible. He insisted that human beings do have freedom of choice in all matters even though that choice may be limited by the operation of “nature”, “Providence” or “God”. In individuals it is the faculty of reason. On a cosmic level it is the rational principle that governs the organization of the universe. His words and principles inspired many and were written down by his pupil Arrian. James Stockdale an American fighter pilot who during the Vietnam War became a prisoner of war for seven and a half years in a North Vietnamese military prison – including torture- and four years in solitary confinement credited Epictetus principles and writings with helping him endure. (He penned a book of his experience called “In Courage under Fire: Testing Epictetus’s doctrine in a Laboratory of Human Behavior” ) Epictetus taught that every individual is connected with the rest of the world and the universe is fashioned for universal harmony. O slavish man! Will you not bear with your own brother, who has God for his Father, as being a son from the same stock, and of the same high descent? But if you chance to be placed in some superior station, will you presently set yourself up for a tyrant? Epictetus – Discourses Chap. xiii.
This seems to be the crux, of the scheme. How we treat and look upon each other will determine if the effects will be to our success.The knowledge that if we infringe upon the rights of others, we become moral thorns and find ourselves entangled at every turn of the road, should be an indication that success is contingent upon the highest moral ideal, which is “The greatest good to the greatest number.” Aspiration, desire and harmonious relations constantly and persistently maintained will accomplish results. The greatest hindrance is erroneous and fixed ideas. ~ Charles Haanel Master Keys part vi
When we start with a thought what will it hold? For we want it to bring about the best outcome for those around us and then for ourselves.
The kernel must start with Love; giving without expectation of personal gain. The sweetest love is that which is neither sought nor deserved. “Charity (Love) ….seeks not her own” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5.
This type of action requires a commitment to remembering that our Creator made us to be in relationship. It comes from the gratitude of recognizing the many blessings bestowed upon us by the Creator. It is expressed by praise through imitating this work done on our behalf. We are our best when we are serving. As we anticipate what can be done for another and receive those gifts given with a heart of thanksgiving.
“Henceforth will I love all mankind. From this moment all hate is let from my veins for I have not time to hate, only time to love. From this moment I take the first step required to become a man among men. …”. ~The Scroll Marked Two Og Mandino
And this is our reward; to have our being and life focused on giving to the basic needs of others and receiving those same with a responsiveness to praise. We are in harmony as we imitate, experience and share with others the love that God demonstrates.
I will close for the week with a quote from The Weight of Glory, by C.S. Lewis. Lewis delivered this sermon at Oxford University Church of St. Mary the Virgin, on June 8, 1941. It was originally published in January, 1942.
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations -these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner – no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat – the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself is truly hidden”, ~ CS Lewis