How does one find peace and joy in the world?
I will begin by telling you a story . . .
Once upon a time, there was a man who desired to hammer a nail into a wall. The man picked up the nail with his left hand and the hammer in his right. He swung the hammer with a mighty swing.
But, not being experienced in such matters, he missed the hail, hitting his left thumb with the mighty blow intended for the nail. The skin of the left thumb was broken and blood began to stream out everywhere, pooling on the floor.
What the heck did you do that for? screamed the left thumb.
Do what for? asked the right hand, acting rather sheepish.
Hit me with the hammer! exclaimed the left thumb, bleeding profusely.
I didn’t, lied the right hand.
Yes, you did, stated the left thumb forcefully. You were trying to kill me!
Hey, yelled the right hand, looking down at the right foot, did you see me try to kill him?
Uh, well, uhno replied the right foot, knowing that he had best stick with the program, as he was on the right side after all.
Bull! exclaimed the left thumb, growing weaker from the loss of blood by the minute. Somebody better help meI feel really.
We better get to a hospital, said the left leg. Let’s go.
Not me, replied the right leg, I, for one, am tired of all you lefties trying to run things all the time. The right leg turned a bit to the right, staring off into the distance, attempting to bar any further contact with the left siders.
Come on, urged the left leg and made a move toward the front door.
The trip to the hospital was a rough one, as the right hand refused to open the car door and would not help steer the car. This forced our poor man to steer using his left wrist.
Of course, the right leg would not press on the gas pedal at all. This forced the man to run both the gas and the brake with his left foot, switching back and forth, back and forth.
The walk to the emergency room door took forever, with the right arm hanging down limply and the right leg just dragging along, refusing to take any steps at all.
The required forms never got filled out as the right handed man could not use his right hand to write and could barely see the forms anyway, as the right eye was closed and refused to open.
Nonetheless the left thumb was bandaged, sutured and splinted and everyone somehow managed to make it home in one piece.
We demand a trial for attempted murder, shouted the left knee-cap and the entire left side joined in. The head must be the judge, as it is wisest and is impartial in matters such as attempted murder.
Very well, stated the head, somewhat reluctantly. The head considered itself to be unbiased and impartial but preferred not to participate in such matters.
The trial took many days, as there was much arguing, the body being split right down the middle on many issues. The debate raged on and on. But, as these things go, the right hand was eventually convicted of attempted murder with a deadly hammer. The deciding vote was cast by the right knee, who was known to be a turncoat anyway.
Finally the Day of Judgment arrived. It is the decision of this court, pronounced the head solemnly, that the right hand is guilty of attempted murder. The sentence is. surgical removal from the body and permanent exile.
The entire left side of the body cheered, as the four faithful finger-brothers of the left hand gleefully reached for the butcher knife on the nearby table.
Now, this is a ridiculous story. If you were to hit your own left thumb with a mighty blow from a hammer, causing it to split and bleed, you would most certainly grab it with your right hand and apply pressure to stem the flow of blood.
Both sets of legs and feet would hustle off to the nearest sink. You would turn on the water with the right hand, apply some form of ointment perhaps, bandage it up and head to the hospital, both sets of hands, arms, legs, feet and eyes working in unison to stop the flow of blood and repair the damage. You would do this because, you know something very important
If the left thumb were to continue to bleed unchecked, you might die.
This silly story, though, is a perfect example of how you live your own life in this world. You believe that everything IS separate.
You believe everything has just its own interests at heart and protects and defends these selfish interests accordingly. You see divisions everywhere you look and perceive walls around everything.
What you steadfastly refuse to accept is that, in reality, everything is completely connected.
Do you love your left thumb? Your first instinct is to say no. But I tell you; you love your left thumb more than you love any other person, place or object in the world. This seems rather strange when verbalized. But the fact of the matter is this:
You see your left thumb as a part of you. It is you. If it is injured, you are injured. If it dies, you die. You see no difference between that thumb and yourself.
And that is the highest and purest form of perfect love imaginable. There is a wall between you and your spouse. You perceive a distance between you and your children. Yet there is no division perceived between you and your thumb.
Yet you see everything else that exists as being separate from you and your beloved thumb. In your perception, your thumb IS a part of you.
What you might call Your Creator loves you in just this perfect way. It sees you as Itself, not as separate entity.
It draws no distinctions between you and Itself. It could no more condemn you for your mistakes than you could condemn your own right hand for its mistakes. The mistakes of your right hand are considered by you to be your mistakes. It sees you in this same way.
If you bleed, Your Creator bleeds. If you are in pain, Your Creator is in pain. It is you and you are It.
Hear this. All your brothers everywhere are one with you. In reality, this is no separation between you and all of them. We are but parts of one body. If your brother bleeds, you bleed.
If your brother is in pain, you are in pain. The walls you have built in illusion do not exist in reality. They are but illusions that you protect. It is your ego that is the guardian of this thought system.
Think of the human brain. The brain is comprised of millions upon millions of cells, each distinct. Yet, nonetheless each one IS a brain cell and is a part of the whole.
Now, if but one cell in the brain contracts cancer, does the brain have cancer? Yes it does. The whole thing must be healed or risk death. This is the relationship you have with all of humanity.
If your brother, that single cell, is sick, then you are sick, as is the whole. The insane choice is to condemn that single cell for its sickness. The sane choice is to help it to heal, thereby healing you.
Like our thumbs in the story, it is only your condemnation and judgment that allows you to risk killing yourself for the perverse joy that condemning another brings to you. This IS the thought system of the ego. This is what you have come to believe.
All of this is lunacy. The walls you imagine are not there! This is why you are out of accord with the universe and need correction. The universe, your Creator, being known by whatever name you wish to call it, knows that none of this separation is true.
Do you want peace? Do you want joy? Then you must understand that forgiveness in regards to this process IS the key to all peace and all joy.
Forgive the universe. Forgive the world. Forgive your brother. For they are you!