Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Golden Rule

I am sure you will probably agree with me, but it sure looks like our nation and our world are in quite a pickle in these challenging times. People are fighting and arguing and killing each other because their belief systems are different. Add to that people fighting because of their differences in color, nationality, race, gender, and walk of life.

Whoopie Goldberg made a great statement this morning when she was asked what she thought was the biggest sin. Her reply was intolerance. People do not want to associate with those who are different from them. They want only what they want and to heck with everyone else. (There are many exceptions, but I’m speaking generically.)

Dictionary.com states intolerance to mean: “lack of toleration; unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of different races or backgrounds, etc.”

Recently, I was reading “Swami for Precedent” by Swami Beyondananda (see previous posts), which I would highly recommend. In the chapter “Pray It Forward,” he states: “We are not here to earn God’s love, we are here to spend it!” And that means tolerating (I would prefer to say loving unconditionally) people regardless of our differences. This does not mean that you have to condone any evil behavior; everyone still has to be accountable for their actions. In other words, why can’t we all just get along!?! We’re on this one planet together. We have no other place to go. So how about if we all just learn to play nice?

All religions have their variations of rules and regulations. The only problem with those is that people tend to interpret them to justify their own belief system. The Swami had a great suggestion, which I totally agree with. How about having just one rule, and that is “The Golden Rule.” It is in most all religious texts. Here are a few that the Swami mentioned in his book:

Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Udana-Varga 5,1.
Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:1
Confucianism: Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state. Analects 12:2
Hinduism: This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you. Mahabharata 5,1517
Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. Sunnah
Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. Talmud, Shabbat 3id
Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien
Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself. Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5

You can Google “The Golden Rule” for more information, or go to the Religioustolerance.org website at: http://www.religioustolerance.org/reciproc.htm .


Why is it that young children can play together and it doesn’t matter what the other child looks like, or where he comes from? Their main goal is just to have fun. Hate and intolerance are taught. As we get older, we act on what we’ve been taught by others. And that’s sad.

Fortunately, there is a great movement in the world where people are getting together for a common cause: unconditional love. There are countless organizations and websites that promote tolerance, love, peace, and harmony among all beings.

Let us learn to take The Golden Rule to heart, and starting today, work at treating others the way we would like to be treated. Love others as we would like to be loved. Can you imagine if everyone in the world would do so? Can you imagine the world we could become? Can we say Hallelujah?!?!


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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Need Some Good Laughs?

I have recently come across a great website called “Wakeuplaughing.com.” It is authored by Steve Bhaerman, aka Swami Beyondananda, and it is hilarious. Mr. Bhaerman is an internationally known author and humorist, and he conducts workshops worldwide. His comedy contains a lot of wisdom, as well as countless chuckles, and yet his wisdom is very fitting for today’s times.

He’s also written several books: “Driving Your Own Karma,” “When You See a Sacred Cow,” “Milk It For All It’s Worth,” “Duck Soup for the Soul,” and “Swami for Precedent: A 7-Step Plan to Heal the Body Politic and Cure Electile Dysfunction.” Among other endeavors, he started an alternative high school in Washington, D.C. and wrote a book about his experiences called “No Particular Place to Go: Making of a Free High School.” He also co-founded “Pathways Magazine,” which was one of the first publications bringing together holistic health, personal growth, spirituality, and politics. (This paragraph was paraphrased from his bio on the website. Picture at right is also from his website.)

I was reading one of his recent newsletters and found that he has written a great piece for his "2009 State of the Universe Address" entitled, “The Shift Has Hit the Fan: Welcome to the Sane Asylum,” and it is well worth the read. I especially enjoy his play on words. You can find the article at: http://www.wakeuplaughing.com/news.html

One thing he wrote about, which absolutely amazed me, was that a friend of his, Richard Lederer, took the name “Barack Hussein Obama,” scramble the letters, and came up with the anagram, “Abraham is back: One U.S.”

I would highly recommend checking out his website and signing up for his newsletters. We can never have enough laughs and the Swami will be sure to fill that need.

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