Today the world heard the tragic news that the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II, passed away. Throughout the U.K. her subjects are in mourning for the loss of their beloved Queen. I wanted to share a quote from Her Majesty and connect it to spiritual life. She once said:
“I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”
Indeed, sincerity is one of the most important aspects of life, including spiritual life. And without it, trust can never truly be established. Mokichi Okada, one of the greatest spiritual teachers to arise in Japan in modern history, taught that “makoto” (sincerity) was the first principle of spiritual life. According to Okada, the definition of the word “makoto” really implies more than just sincerity. It includes with sincerity a consistency and deep conviction manifest in our thoughts, words and deeds that expresses the divine qualities of compassion, wisdom and peace. This requires us to subordinate our ego to the pursuit of the highest good of all beings, not just ourselves, even as Queen Elizabeth sought the highest good of her subjects. This takes great effort and a lifetime of practice. Okada summed up his approach to makoto thus:
“The key to solving all the problems of the world, countries and individuals comes down to only one word: makoto. Political poverty comes from an impoverishment of makoto. Goods are lacking because makoto is lacking. Moral decadence also results from an absence of makoto. Social disorder occurs in a place where there is no makoto. Every revolting problem has its roots in the lack of makoto. Without having makoto as their heart, religions, sciences and arts would only be some empty shells. Ah, makoto it is…makoto it is. Humans, the key for solving all problems lies only in the manifestation of makoto.”-Mokichi Okada, 1/25/1948
May we all take the example of Queen Eizabeth II and in sincerity commit ourselves to the highest good of others, becoming better people, better friends and neighbors and more compassionate beings.
Long live the Queen!