When talking with clients, a conversation often takes place around the idea of being in service to ‘the common good’.
What serves the ‘common good’? Who determines what it is? Is it even possible to be in service to ‘the common good’?
Is it remotely possible to know what constitutes society’s best interests? After all, a community comprises individuals with a diverse array of needs, wants, desires, physical and intellectual abilities, education and wealth? Adding to those racial, cultural, religious and political distinctions, it can look impossible.
Actions that are good for an individual or group might be equally bad for another individual or group. What works for some sectors of society won’t work for others.
From voting to shopping, and most other decisions we make, as individuals, we usually pursue what appears to be in our best interests. Yet, do we ever stop to consider the unintended consequences of our actions for others – for ‘the common good’?
To start exploring the concept of ‘the common good’, let’s begin with the most recent USA elections between President Donald Trump and his successor, President Joe Biden.
The result was very close, and it is just one indicator of just how divided the USA is: Joe Biden received 51.3% of the popular vote and Donald Trump 46.9 % of the popular vote (Source: Wikipedia). But please consider the actual numbers? Joe Biden received 81,268,924 votes and Donald Trump 74,216,154 votes. The difference was less than 7 million votes from more than 155 million cast to both candidates. That’s a meagre 2.2% difference. How can the ‘common good’ be served by any government in a nation so divided?
Now, moving forward, the ‘right’ hold tight to their position, the ‘left’ equally tight to another, and never, it appears, the twain shall meet. But are these age-old divisions cast in stone?
Would understanding what creates the division between people end it?
I hope you are interested enough to read on and find a possible answer to what ails America – and humanity.
WHAT APPEARS TO BE A PRIMARY CAUSE OF THE DIVIDE BETWEEN PEOPLE IN THE USA AND PEOPLE WORLDWIDE?
Visiting the USA many times over 50 years – working and training – I witnessed those divisions ever-widening during that half-century.
Today the rift between Americans has reached the intolerable. Tens of millions of individuals are experiencing physical and psychological pain. And, like bad cancer, bit by bit, claiming the life of American culture.
Held dear in the US, the pursuit of freedom is considered an inalienable right.
Should it be at the expense of our neighbour?
And is it an either-or proposition?
The USA, as it seems elsewhere, is yet to discover the answer to that question.
That same trend we see in the USA appears to be increasingly apparent here in Australia, as it is the world over.
So what might be the source be of this worldwide division and separation of people?
To begin, it is not what we do or fail to do – our actions or non-actions. By action time, the horse has bolted.
Something else is at work – something primary – a factor that underpins the success or failure of all our actions and reactions.
Our lack of understanding of that factor manifests as individual self-interest held supreme over service to ‘the common good’.
Consequently, too many of us – probably all, to a lesser or greater degree, fail to consider our fellow travellers on this journey through life.
Our actions to serve the ‘common good’ start with our mind-heart connection.
At any moment, what we are thinking, how we are feeling and how we are behaving reflects our mind-heart connection or disconnection.
It follows that being in service to ‘the common good’ is determined by our mind-heart state.
In that state, we are in service.
I’m not suggesting our actions are guaranteed to serve the ‘common good’. But it’s a state that we each have that heals the division and separation between us. It means we are in with a chance.
YOU AND I CURRENTLY POSSESS SOMETHING OF UNIMAGINABLE VALUE – A STATE OF POSSIBILITY – A HEARTFELT STATE OF BEING IN SERVICE TO THE COMMON GOOD
The nucleus of being in service to ‘the common good’ is a largely unrecognised, unacknowledged, but innate human quality.
That quality, inborn to you and me, is the most precious aspect of being human. It’s of incredible value to you and essential to the future of humanity.
That intrinsic human quality, in words, is abstract – when experienced – life-changing.
That something of unimaginable value is our unrecognised, in-built potential for a transformed reality.
Existing within you and me – within each human being—is a core power experienced upon waking up in The Realm of Possibility.
In that Realm, we have an experience of our life-giving energy in the form of original Thought. French philosopher, Rene Descartes, made that point: “I think; therefore I am.”
Our conscious understanding of Thought identifies humans from other animals – and our capacity to see and experience Life in terms of ‘the common good’.
Within the Realm of Possibility, we think beyond the good of ourselves, our family, friends, and some selected politically or religiously aligned neighbours. We think of the ‘good’ of humanity. And not just our fellow humans – but all other sentient beings and our shared home – planet Earth.
We awaken to a state of heightened kindness – the ultimate expression of our love, understanding, wisdom and common sense toward life in its entirety.
Our sense of separation falls away, and with that, the way we divide ourselves into them, those, that, it, and us. We discover our authentic, heartfelt selves – integral with Life itself – free of exceptions.
We experience who we are in our essence – an inseparable, undivided aspect of Life.
SELF-DISCOVERY REVEALS TO US A DIFFERENT REALITY
When seeing deeply enough within our mind, we connect with our true selves – our heartfelt selves. We discover, amongst other things, the following about being in service to ‘the common good’ – of delivering the inherent promise in being human.
- We see beyond ‘the so-called truth’ – a place where the division between mind and heart no longer exists – The Realm of Possibility.
- In our awakening, we experience our mind and heart connecting as one.
- Seeing into that Realm, we recognise that state for what it is: a heartfelt state of Possibility for us and for humanity.
- In that state, it becomes self-evident that we see into that Realm only when we release ourselves from all belief, opinion, and judgment – our thinking that separates and divides.
- We discover that releasing ourselves from our condition mind and connecting with our hearts is more challenging than imagined.
- We wake up to the reason for that difficulty. We see that was because we have been swimming in the soup of our beliefs, opinions, judgements, knowledge and had seen them as ‘the truth’, to whatever degree.
- And we recognise that seeing anything as ‘the truth’ to whatever degree is enough to stop our seeing into The Realm of Possibility.
- Equally importantly, we see our existing knowledge as a stepping stone to new knowledge—and what we’ve learned becomes our servant, not our master.
- As with our beliefs, opinions, and judgements, if our knowledge, however factually based it may be, is seen as ‘the ultimate truth’ on any matter, it drastically lessens the likelihood of seeing into the Realm of the yet-to-be-seen and the discoveries that await us there.
AND WHEN SEEING MORE DEEPLY INTO THE REALM OF THE YET-TO-BE-SEEN, WE FURTHER DISCOVER THAT:
- Our earlier state of experiencing Possibility morphs from the personal into an impersonal, more powerful state. It’s a state imbued with the following heightened noble qualities that have us in service to ‘the common good’ – (it’s as axiomatic a shift as day follows night):
- Kindness: Our heartfelt goodwill and gentleness toward all forms of Life become who we are – rather than who we would like to be. Our respect for our fellow humans, all other sentient creatures, all flora, waterways, oceans, the air we breathe and the Earth we till, mine, build on and pave over is unconditional.
- Understanding: Our openness of mind and heart to all the familiar and foreign to us expands to be all-inclusive. We look at every idea, concept, principle, fact or piece of information with an open heart, free from judgement. We look at everyone and everything from that state of genuine understanding – to neither agree nor disagree – but to understand the other’s reality.
- Wisdom: We see the world through our existing knowledge with the heartfelt kindness and understanding described above and with the genuine common sense described hereunder. It is a state of mind where we take a stand for ‘the common good’ as best we can.
- Common sense: This quality does not diminish or negate the power of the preceding three innate human qualities. Instead, our heartfelt common sense, like wisdom, keeps us grounded in our kindness and understanding, notwithstanding the prevailing evidence of humankind’s inhumanity to other humans and other sentient beings and humanity’s seemingly boundless ill-treatment of our environment.
From a reality that understands that every human being does the best they can see or see to do at every moment in time, we see equally the guilt and the innocence of each of us.
Those of us who are idealists and dreamers become pragmatistic enough to realise those dreams.
We see we are at cause in the world we create!
And we realise we create our world from a mind limited by its conditioning, or a mind having joined as one with our heart: The unlimited Realm of Possibility.
Regardless of our race, religion, colour, education, age and life circumstances, we are all eligible to access that Realm.
Notwithstanding our current beliefs, opinions, judgements and knowledge, if we willingly surrender ourselves to the unknown – the yet-to-be-seen – we will access the Realm of Possibility and be born afresh each time we enter.
And anything we do with such heartfelt kindness, understanding, wisdom and common sense – born from The Realm of Possibility – will, at worst, do little harm; at best, do good.
Warmly … John