When we come to believe, really believe in a purpose, cause, or truth, true conviction about that will be borne out by actions. The last few days I have considered the movement for the birth of this nation that culminated in the Declaration of Independence. Today, let’s think for a minute about the next day, July 5, 1776, because that day gives the substance and proof of the commitment to the heart belief of those representatives of the Second Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia during that sweltering summer.
Actually, let’s back up just a bit. On July 4, the guys didn’t approve the Declaration and then send Sam Adams out for some growlers. No, a group, known as the Committee of Five — Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Roger Sherman from Connecticut, and Robert Livingston from New York — set off with the revised and final version of the Declaration to John Dunlap, a nearby printer. The next morning, the five men delivered the printed copies to the representative members of congress, and they took off from there to distribute the the printed copies throughout the colonies to various committees, assemblies, and the commanders of the Continental troops. They were delivering what was, in effect, the judgment against themselves. They were wanted men.
Of course, the Revolutionary War had been going on for a year by then, George III having rejected all attempts at a peaceful resolution. The representatives were already, really, wanted men. This sealed the deal, though. How convinced were they of their life purpose? How convinced are we of ours?
The seal of their deal read like this: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” They were all in. All in. No room for backtracking, waffling, making excuses, blaming others. They didn’t send aides or interns. They designed their purpose, gave it life, and took action. Beyond that, they left themselves no options. They heard the fellowship of their hearts, and followed it.
Do we get that? It was no game. It wasn’t for glory. It wasn’t for blind nationalism, which they had already experienced in their pledges of loyalty to the English throne. It was for liberty for a whole nation, for those who would decide to listen to their heart and avail themselves to lay claim to that which is available to all: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If we don’t choose our hearts, though, choose to listen to them and act, then those words hold little practical value.
Those men worked in a corporate way, their individual hearts binding them together through the Spirit. We have inherited the product of that work, but we need to understand and see it for what it was, and it was a matter of heart principle over ego. Thomas Jefferson said, “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” We have to understand in order to truly participate, because participating does not mean, primarily, voting. It’s grabbing hold of those “unalienable rights” and living them — truths of the heart.
When hearts are in concert, we will progress. When hearts are not chosen and the default energy of ego dominates, conformity results, which means we look to others to tell us what to do, think, and say. The Second Continental Congress did not, could not, accept the wishes, commands, or political correctness of others. They most certainly did not care about how anyone else labeled them. They were seeking their hearts, and honest hearts, debating one another, move onward and upward.
Have we laid claim to those rights that they had been denied as colonists but which they possessed as individuals? Their work, the foundations of America, made it possible for us to not worry about governmental interference in living our truth. Unless we participate, though, by hearing the voice of our hearts and acting, we forfeit their work, personally, and the more that happens on a personal level, the more that energy spills over into the national spirit. Proofs of that abound this election year.
The message, then, is simple: seek our heart, heed our heart, and act. Or, as I put it earlier, design our purpose, give it life, and take action. That is participation in the rights we have been given. Yes, I know much about standard politics, and I don’t believe that was what the Second Continental Congress concerned itself with. Politics, government, and governance were necessary to allow freedom and liberty for us to know and live those “unalienable rights,” and therefore, they dealt with those topics, which was necessary.
Jefferson observed this: “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”
His and all the other signers of the Declaration of Independence defined themselves. They acted in that sweltering summer heat with no air conditioning and, from what I can tell, wearing an awful lot of clothes. They got sweaty busy in following their hearts.
Do you and I know who we are and what we are about, the purpose of our hearts? It’s not selfish; it’s for the collective connection — unity in our individual liberties. Are we willing to get sweaty busy living our purpose for the good not only of self but also of all? We have that liberty. Now.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!