Today, Aloha Friday shares the 4th of July holiday, full of fireworks and celebration to commemorate the Independence of our great country. We think of our founding fathers and writers of our Constitution as our heroes who brought forth ideas and tenets that would make our country united and strong while protecting individual freedoms. Throughout our history as a nation, the words of united, together, for the people are all expressed on our seal of the United States, E Pluribus Unum, ” Out of the many, one”. Tim Ryan, our congressman from Ohio has written a book, A Mindful Nation about how mindfulness practice is changing lives of children, veterans, addicts, students, military strategists, and people experiencing any kind of mind/body imbalances. Mindfulness increases our awareness and attention while increasing our resilience and compassion for ourselves and those around us.
We think of meditation as a practice to still our minds and balance our bodies, perhaps bringing more intuition and guidance to our inner soul searching. But there is another important aspect to meditation, especially mindfulness meditation and that is connection. Becoming more compassionate, feeling more empathic and sharing loving kindness with others is also a by-product of this practice. The compassion and connection we feel towards ourselves radiates outward to those around us. Tim Ryan shows us countless examples of how mindfulness training can contribute not only to our personal journeys but that of our community as a nation, bringing an awareness of what is important to all of us. As Congressman Ryan writes, ” A mindful nation is about recognizing that we are all connected, we are in this together”. No one accomplishes anything or flourishes by being completely independent. Only when we support each other, care about each other and those around us can we truly embody the strength we associate with independence. As we move forward in this truly challenging time, now is our opportunity and responsibility to teach our children that by compassion and connection to others, they will flourish in ways that will benefit all of us collectively. They will connect to values that benefit everyone and the environment as well. They need a nation that teaches them to be mindful of their actions and that whatever choices they make will always affect them directly or indirectly. We all need each other to stand tall and express our independence and so does our nation.
Today in celebration of connection to our fellow countrymen and our founding fathers, be mindful of the journey our country has taken and where it can continue. Be compassionate, kind and help us as Tim Ryan says, to “recapture the spirit of what it means to be an American”. That spirit is really one of Aloha isn’t it? Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!