Steve Rogers is sent off to basic training. He struggles as the uncoordinated small guy. He does not have the strength of anyone else in his group. The other soldiers bully him. But he pushes on doing his best.
During one run, the sergeant tells them that whoever can get the flag off the flag pole gets a ride back to base. “No one has gotten the flag in 15 years.” None of the strong soldiers can do it. They all do their best to climb the pole, but slide back down.
The sergeant ignores Steve calling for everyone to get back in line.
Steve however walks over to the flagpole, pulls a screw from the bottom of the pole, and the pole falls over. He retrieves the flag, hands it to the sergeant and gets in the car to take his ride back to base.
I laughed out loud. Marvel enjoys having fun with their movies, bringing in moments of lightness and humor.
Here’s the thing: Steve Rogers uses his intellect to win the prize. He does not try to use his braun (he doesn’t have any). He uses his personal strength to succeed.
In the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Dialogue One, Jesus invites us to use our spiritual intellect as we seek to align ourselves with our true Image, our highest selves.
Cynthia Bourgeault suggests that one’s spiritual intellect is our heart. She reminds us that in Near Eastern thought the heart is the organ of spiritual perception. The heart is not the emotional center. It is the moral center, the place from which all spiritual work is done; the place of transmutation and transformation; the place of insight, wisdom and spiritual intellect; the place where the Sacred resides.
When the Dr decides that Steve Rogers is the one who will take part in the experiment, he explains why to Steve:
The doctor explains that his serum creates superior men. He then explains about the head of Hydra (the bad guys) and how that bad guy took the serum. The serum made him stronger. But there were other effects.
“The serum amplifies everything that is inside, so good become great; bad become worse. This is why you were chosen. Because a strong man who has known power all his life will lose respect for that power, but a weak man who knows very little of strength and knows compassion will not. Whatever happens tomorrow you must promise me one thing, that you will stay who you are, not a perfect soldier but a good man.”
Steve Rogers makes a toast, “To the little guys!”
When we use our spiritual intellect, our hearts, as the lens to perceive the world through, to make decisions, to live our lives, it amplifies the goodness that is within us — compassion, grace, mercy, justice, Love.
When we use our brains, our minds without our hearts, those are the times when we fall short, when we, as humans, create injustice. We are not our best selves unless we live from our hearts.
We can only be aligned with the Image, our truest highest self, if we live from our hearts. When we live from our hearts, from the spiritual center of our being, from the space which the Sacred occupies within us, then all that we do is amplified by the Sacred. Good grows. Love expands. Compassion is experienced and known. Justice reigns down. Economy of God is fully present.
It takes a different kind of strength to live from the heart. You can not live from your heart by shear will, by physical strength, by academic intellect. These are not the qualities that bring you into your heart.
To live from your heart you must find strength in your vulnerability, humility. It is through prayer and meditation that you learn and gain insight. Living from the heart requires a willingness to let go of your will power and trust the Guidance of the Sacred.
Living from the heart is not about perfection. It is about amplifying all that is good within you. It is about allowing the Sacred to extend your inner goodness out into the world. It is about an inner strength that relies upon vulnerability. Compassion.
When we live from our hearts, all that compassion is amplified in the world.
What will you amplify in this world?
Are you willing to embark upon the spiritual journey into your heart?
Will you take the time to align to the Sacred’s transformative spiritual intellect?