In 2006 we interviewed Dr. Huston Smith at the Crossings here in Austin.
Dr. Smith, 87 at the time of our interview, had been the Chair and Professor of the Philosophy Department at MIT and was known all over the world for his brilliance. Interviewing Huston Smith has been one of the high points of our 17-year history of What If It Really Works?
Karen and I fell in love with him primarily because he was totally heart-centered and fun-loving. He was also brilliant in the field of religions and his brilliance was backed-up with a lifetime of experience, books, TV Shows and lectures.
In the course of our interview, Huston told this wonderful story. He was on a speaking tour of colleges in Massachusetts with Aldous Huxley, the British scholar, author and pioneer experimenter of mind-altering drugs.
As they drove at dusk between two colleges, Aldous looked over at Huston, who was driving, and said: “Huston, I am embarrassed to tell you that after all of my experiences and experiments and intellectual journeys, all my books and lectures and all the other things I have done, I have only discovered and learned one thing.” Huston asked the obvious question: “And what is that?”.
Huxley replied with the most profound answer: “We just need to be kind to each other.”
When he heard this, Huston was stunned at the directness, simplicity, and wisdom of this confession from Huxley. So were we.
Here in one contemporary simple sentence, Huxley summed up the teachings of every great prophet and religious leader including the Buddha and Jesus himself.
This Christmas seems to be a good time to call this wisdom to your attention. We are coming to the end of the two-year national nightmare resulting from the most recent Presidential election and its negative consequences.
Today we are presented with a perfect opportunity to be kind to each other. Our President, his family and staff are headed to a world of legal pain as we watch the man who beat the odds and became our 45th President leave the world of sanity.
Now we see him walking off stages and out of meetings and events as he clearly reveals, for all the world to see, that our most difficult President’s behavior shows the symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia. When we see this in our parents and grandparents, and fear this could happen even to us, there is reason to pause and ask if kindness is the most healing and powerful way to deal with the end of this man and his flawed Presidency and the destruction of America’s reputation in the world.
We have let unkindness and anger and bitterness be at the center of our national experience and our international relations for the past two years and as a result we are all hurt and in pain and even fear for the future.
We already know what the man whose birthday we celebrate this season would advise us to do with and for each other and our failing President.
This Christmas let's be kind to each other and love one another.