Heart-Mind Intention Makes the Difference

“We know truth, not only by reason, but also by the heart.”
- Blaise Pascal

At this point, you may be asking why you should believe that practicing when-which-how is any more effective than behaving in a loving and kind manner toward those you encounter in your day-to-day activities. Generally speaking, there is not much of a difference. There is no question that practicing goodwill, showing common courtesies, and practicing good manners form a solid foundation for right human relationships. Honestly speaking, however, it’s relatively easy to be nice to people when we don’t have to live with them or have to spend hours working with them each day. In fact, most of the stress and emotional negativity we experience is produced by our relationships with those closest to us, whether they are family members, co-workers, or friends. And yet, even in our closest relationships, it might be difficult to comprehend the difference between being kind and understanding and practicing when-which-how.

But there is actually a vast difference. It’s the difference between a light in a room and a light specifically directed at an object of art—displayed with appreciation. It’s the difference between the sound of an orchestra tuning its instruments before the symphony and the sound of the symphony itself—played with humility. It’s the difference between the chaotic clash of colors in a child’s finger-painting and the harmonic combinations of color and perspective in the work of a great master—created with understanding. It’s the difference between spending your paycheck on whatever you desire and spending your paycheck to take care of your family—spent with compassion. The distinguishing features of these examples are the intentional, intelligent, efficient, and virtuous uses of energy.

Here is the point. We can be kind to others and intentionally, intelligently, and efficiently transmit compassion to them. We can thank someone for holding a door open for us and we can intentionally, intelligently, and efficiently transmit appreciation to them. We can listen to our spouse’s complaints after a frustrating day at work and we can intentionally, intelligently, and efficiently express to them our understanding. In other words, practicing when-which-how does not eliminate the practice of goodwill—it strengthens it. Practicing when-which-how does not eliminate lending a sympathetic and thoughtful ear to a family member’s rough day at work or school—it eases the pain. Practicing when-which-how adds an entirely new dimension to every relationship and encounter we have in life.

Practicing when-which-how increases and strengthens the relatively small amount of positive emotional energy that already exists in the social order—that energy generated by people of goodwill. It doesn’t replace good manners, decency, morals or ethics with its own brand of behavior. On the contrary, it contributes to the established, traditional sense of good that already exists in society and at the same time, it raises the quality of goodness by bringing a new dimension of love to others—a new reality of love to the world.

Not only do we have light in our room, but we now have a light intentionally, intelligently, and efficiently, focused on a beautiful work of art with appreciation.

Not only do we have instruments capable of producing sounds, but we now have a collection of instruments intentionally, intelligently, and efficiently, producing a beautiful symphony of sound with humility.

Not only do we have paints, canvas, and fingers that can express a child’s creative urge, but we now have the tools that allow us to intentionally, intelligently, and efficiently, produce beautiful paintings with understanding.

Not only do we have the ability to earn a living, but we now can intentionally, intelligently, and efficiently, manage the fruits of our labors with compassion.

Not only do we have the ability to be decent, kind, and good to one another, but we now can intentionally, intelligently, and efficiently transmit appreciation, compassion, forgiveness, humility, understanding, and valor to ourselves and anyone we choose.

If your experiences in the everyday world have taught you that being decent, polite, and kind to others makes you and others feel good, reduces tensions, leads to positive social interactions, contributes to better understanding, increases the simple pleasures of living, and generally makes life more enjoyable, then how might practicing when-which-how contribute to these experiences? This is something worth thinking about. If you believe that your life is qualitatively better by being a kind and decent person, then practicing when-which-how may very likely contribute to that belief. This small step in belief can result in a giant step in experience. By adding this new reality, this new dimension to your life, you may find your life more meaningful and more satisfying than you do now. Your third-dimensional goodness may be uplifted, upgraded, and even upended by the addition of this new dimension of love. By adding this new dimension to the inherent goodness you already possess, you will have added a fourth dimension to your life. You will be living from the heart by expressing its fourth-dimensional virtues.