Henry David Thoreau, from Walden
Imagine a world where fruit was not picked and eaten fresh, but was left to rot on the ground. People would view fruit as stinky, slimy and rotten. The essential nature of fruit would be seen as evil: the source of maggots and flies. In such a world, the pleasure of biting into a fresh peach, apple or orange would be unknown. Fruit salad would be unthinkable. A person advocating eating fruit fresh would be seen as bizarre and possibly dangerous.
How is it with us? How do we treat the fresh promise of a human infant? Do we handle them carefully so that they will blossom and bear fruit? When children are brought into the world unwanted, are neglected or abused, and then they turn out rotten, are we surprised? If we expose ourselves and our children to all sorts of toxic thoughts and experiences, as we do with crass TV and movies, and we develop patterns of stinking thoughts and behavior, should we be puzzled? Is it any wonder that so many people think that human nature is essentially evil? Is a pear evil because it is prone to bruising?
This week, be gentle with yourself and be gentle with others.
Watch out for the rottening input of the media, including the Internet. Notice when what you are viewing gives you a less wholesome feeling, and when it enhances. Don't be afraid to change the input.
Say a kind word, or go out of your way to express a kindness to someone around you.
When you feel emotions of aversion, like anger and hate toward others, try to think of the person who stimulated the emotion as they were as a newborn. Imagine them in their fresh untouched state before rough handling bruised their psyches. Think about whether your response will add to the bruising, or could it be somehow constructive?
Spend time in meditation allowing your pure heart to emerge into consciousness.
Think about your talents. What are your creative gifts? Take some time this week to express your talent or indulge in an activity that gives you joy.
© 2002 Tom Barrett