Do you know what it takes to be great? Knowing and living Self. That is it. Notice, I didn’t say important, nor did I say famous. Great.
Abraham Lincoln was great. People who are great want others to be so, too. In an 1859 speech, Lincoln said “that by the best cultivation of the physical world…and the intellectual and moral world within us, we shall secure an individual, social and political prosperity and happiness whose course shall be onward and upward… .”
Yesterday, I said that for this nation to function in the unique democratic form the founders intended, we needed to live idealistically.
Why? This republican democracy depends on us being in the state to which Lincoln referred: progressing, moving onward and upward individually, socially, and politically.
Not only did Lincoln recognize that, but also Walt Whitman, Lincoln’s contemporary and the great American poet, did, too. That progress depends on becoming self-aware, knowing who we are, and realizing that all is for and to the individual. Only then, in that self-awareness and self-knowledge, can we be open to everyone and everything else in life.
Walt’s exploration, intuitive understanding, and total search for self opened his heart to all. In “By Blue Ontario’s Shore,” Walt says, “I reject none, accept all…All is eligible to all…For the great Idea, the idea of perfect and free individuals” will “Produce great Persons,” and then, “the rest follows.” The governance, progress, and greatness of this country depends on individuals living their highest, their true Self.
In some ways, I wish I knew how Abraham Lincoln reconciled the orders that he had to give to living his heart. No criticisms here — just wondering. He and Walt were great people, as were many women and men of that era. However, they gave us examples and words. I am more concerned about “the great Idea” being played out now.
I ask you the question Are you great? You are the only one who can answer that? Have you spoken with your heart and come to know You? Have you decided on and therein discovered your life purpose, one that allows you to express You? That is the greatness. That will allow all good things to follow for you and those who you touch.
One hundred and fifty-one years ago tonight, a great person was struck by an assassin’s bullet. That assassin might have had a cause, might have been intelligent and talented, and certainly became important. However, he was not great. He was living a purpose determined by others and their causes. Lincoln suffered over decisions that would cause destruction; he had many proofs of living Self. John Wilkes Booth did not.
We can only experience “the great Idea of perfect and free individuals” when we live the heart and not the ego. Who, then, is great? “It is I who am great or to be great, it is You up there, or any one…”
I hope we can move together, as was Abraham Lincoln’s wish, Onward and Upward!
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!