[ Editor’s Note: haven’t been posting since January 2014… taking time for reflection and building a new list of topics for future posts. This one needed to be posted now, and is a sample of what’s to come when regular posting resumes again sometime later this year. Your comments are greatly appreciated!]
I was horrified recently to learn of the death by hypothermia of a little 22 month-old boy by the name of Cooper who was left all day in a scorching hot SUV by his Marietta, Georgia father. What has horrified me is that there is now some evidence coming to the fore that the father, wanting to live a child-free life, perhaps did this intentionally. Some crimes are unimaginable until they actually happen. So why do they happen? They happen because we ponder the doing of them deep within our hearts, often thinking there’s no harm in this since no one else knows and no one is actually getting hurt. The problem is that our heart is the womb of our actions: The actions we give birth to were conceived and nourished deep within the heart.
Our heart’s desires can be a confusing mystery to us, but not all of its desires are dark or evil-making. Last October 2nd I was able to fulfill one of my heart’s desires when Mr. William Maioho (“Uncle Bill”), the Kahuna Iwi of the Royal Mausoleum at Mauna Ala in Nu’uanu, granted me permission to come early and conduct a Memorial service for the Departed at each of the crypts of the Sovereigns of Hawaii, their Consorts and the High Ali’I interred there. I wanted to do this by way of paying reverent respect to them for the sacrifices that they all made so that there could be a Hawaiian culture for me to come into contact with today. This desire to express my thankfulness to them was one aspect of what was in my heart; another was the secret desire that they might bless me to come and become part of the Hawaiian family. At the end of that momentous morning, as I knelt within the Kalākaua crypt facing Queen Lili’uokalani’s tomb, my heart suddenly opened with the joyful awareness that, indeed, they had already blessed me, had already accepted me into the Hawaiian Ohana simply by the very fact that Uncle Bill had opened his heart to me and allowed me to be there praying as I was. It was a moment outside of time, this realization that what I had desired had been granted to me even before I had asked, even before I had arrived that morning to conduct the services.
Just because our heart and its manifold desires is a confusing mystery to us does not mean that we have no control over what comes out of our heart: What we allow into our heart, what we reflect upon… be it good or ill… will give birth to how we relate to the world. How about if each day we deliberately cultivate goodness by asking ourselves: What one thing can I do today that blesses others with some goodness? Perhaps this can be as simple as holding the door for the person behind us instead of narcissistically sailing through the door with no awareness or concern for others. How about going into the day determined to wish any cashiers we come into contact with that day in Walmart, in McDonald’s or in the bank that they “Have a good day”? How about, after finishing our meal in a restaurant, we purchase a to-go meal and hand it to the first homeless person we meet?
We do have a choice as to what desires we foster within our heart; therefore, it should not surprise us if, having secretly toyed with evil, we give birth to evil.