“Big head, target for an enemy; big heart, target for a friend.”–Confucius
Once upon a time a Zen master visited a solitary monk. The great teacher queried the hermit by asking, “Why do crows fly away when they see a man?”
The monk puzzled over the question for a time but could not come up with a reasonable reply. So he asked the great teacher why this phenomenon should be.
The Zen master replied, “Because the person still has a murderous heart.”
It has been observed, at least anecdotally, that animals seem to have a sixth sense about whether or not humans present a threat to them. Have you noticed that cats and dogs seem to have a built-in radar that detects whether you are friend or foe to them? That quality appears to be present in humans, as well. Although our intuition is not failsafe, if we pay attention to it, we pick up the “vibes” of people we encounter throughout the day.
This came to mind this weekend when I visited the pawn and gun shop that is located a few blocks away from my home. Although I have zero interest in firearms, I like to browse the pawn shop area of the establishment for old wristwatches and whatnot.
Each time I enter the store, the owner’s dog, Chet makes sure to visit me. Chet and I have enjoyed each other’s “vibes” from the outset. Until I met Chet, I had rarely ever encountered such an affectionate dog.
During that first visit last January, just prior to the pandemic lock-down, I asked the shop owner what breed his dog is. He informed me that Chet is a purebread Belgian Malinois. That type of dog is very protective of their owners. In many cases, the Malinois are trained to be very effective attack dogs. The store owner cautioned that Chet is so trained and that he can swiftly cause great damage to anybody who is up to no good. We both had a good laugh as Chet stood up on his hind legs and attempted to lick my mouth. The dog exhibits similar behavior each time I visit the pawn shop.
“A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child.”–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Who can forget the antiquated ditty, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”? We learned that the saying is frequently untrue. Bullies have found clever comebacks to the ditty and manage to cause a fair amount of psychological hurt to their victims. Words do have immense power; they can be used as tools for good and as weapons for harm. This is why we feel happy emotions whenever a person pays us a compliment or expresses their love for us through spoken or written means.
When we are suspicious of others, they soon become suspicious of us. If we risk sharing compassion with others, in many cases they return compassion to us. If this is not done in a careless manner, our caring, harmless hearts will “connect” and the seeds of friendship will be planted. In this way relationships evolve from being colleagues into being friends.
People who have compassionate hearts love unconditionally. When we connect heart to heart our minds broaden and embrace the differences that make each of us unique.
The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders a saying attributed to the ancient Greek God, Zeus. “A true hero is not measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.”