THE ANCIENT GOLDEN RULE
And so it is written in the New Testament Bible and accredited to Jesus for having stated: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Keep also in mind, that five centuries before the recorded time of Jesus, Confucius said: “Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself.” This was one of the guiding principles of Life that Jesus taught, and Confucius taught to their followers so long ago. Numerous other philosophical groups and religions share the same teaching. So there must be something very important behind this simple, yet peacefully unifying principle.
“The Golden Rule,” simply means that you treat other people in the same way that you would like to be treated. So if you want people to be nice to you, you must be nice to them. If you want people to be friendly and respectful to you, then you must be friendly and respectful to them. And if you treat people unkindly, you are telling them that you expect to be treated unkindly in return. If you don’t want people to be mean to you, stop being mean to them. Makes sense right?
It’s all about being fair. If I steal from someone I am telling them that I fully expect them to steal from me and I’m ok with it. After all, if I am not ok with it, why would I do it to them? So many of us have put the Golden Rule into our mind and heart, and treat others with kindness, fairness, civility, and love because that’s how we wanted to be treated.
The Golden Rule worked pretty well in the earlier formative years. Anytime a kid was the slightest bit mean to me I reminded them of the Golden Rule and they usually changed their behaviour … or at least left me alone. And anytime I even thought about being mean to another kid, I would asked myself if that’s how I would want to be treated.
It was a great check and balance system. I always checked my behavior to make sure it was in alignment with how I wanted to be treated. Sure I made mistakes here and there, but for the most part I did pretty well with the Golden Rule, and I was very happy to have such a clear cut way of behaving that felt good to me. I even learned that it’s a “you go first” concept.
Then came Junior high school. Clearly some of these people had not had the benefit of learning the GR, because I started seeing some of the worst behaviour I had ever seen. Fortunately for me, I had as one of my best friends “Diego.” He was about twice as big as anybody else in school and all he had to do was approach a problem and it dissipated. Funny how well that works?
High School began two years later. There were the cliques, periodic and seemingly random assaults, and fights that broke out over who got to sit where in the cafeteria. Even daily food fights. The high school years can be a chaotic, violent, and scary time for people. Fortunately for me, by the time I was driving, I had enough credits for open campus packet teaching. And off I went .
So I went to school for homeroom every morning, then signed out and headed to Fair Lanes Bowling Alley, thereby avoiding much potential conflict. We had a smoking courtyard back then and sometimes tempers would ignite like the cigs. One good thing by checking out and leaving every day, I was actually increasing my bowling average to about 250. I was also a musician and car freak. A pretty chill group of friends within our inner circles, but step outside … and trouble was always waiting. Especially if you wandered downtown … DC, or Alexandria. If you really wanted to test your limits, Baltimore wasn’t that far.
I somehow managed to have survived high school (with double credits), and got out on time even though I had lost months to being afflicted with mononucleosis. I had no interest in attending college, but I’m sure the Golden Rule was left behind by many in that environment too. I have no doubt that along with much good times and fun, there would’ve been random acts of violence and assault there too … but this time committed by so-called “adults.” Of course, drinking age for ALL alcohol back then was 18, and led some down the path of stupid at a much earlier age.
But even way back in high school and college times, things were tame compared to what is evident in the world today. It’s very easy to lose your faith in the Golden Rule when other people around you are breaking it all the time. After all, why should you be nice, kind and loving when other people are taking advantage of you, stealing, getting away with murder, committing violence, and lying; especially when some of these people are your world leaders, bankers, political parties, lawyers, doctors, or even clergy and churchmen?
Because I live very closely aligned with the Golden Rule I don’t understand why things like guns, bombs, and war are still part of civilization. I know I don’t want anyone to shoot me, bomb me, or invade my homeland so I can’t fathom doing it to anyone else, though I will protect myself and my family. I abhor violence and see no need for it. The constant exposure to violence on TV, online, news, movies, videos, FB, children’s games, etc. is partially responsible for my PTSD and panic attacks. Sometimes I just have to go into my box.
Before I take any action towards someone else I always ask myself if what I’m about to say or do is something I would want done to me. If the answer is no, I find another way to express myself. I’m not perfect by any means, but I am usually aware when I’m breaking the Golden Rule and spend some time thinking about how to improve. Not to mention the plain and simple fact that this Golden Rule should’ve come installed from the factory. It should be natural, and instinctive. We shouldn’t have to be taught such basic knowingness.
I am also greatly pained when I see adults violating the basic rules of decency that we try to teach our children. Can you imagine what our world would be like if everyone followed the Golden Rule? There would be no need for prisons, there would be no wars. And if we had the money that we spend on wars and prisons, and could spend that on medical and health … imagine what a better world we would live in?
Decency and civility would be the order of the day, not back stabbing, violence, and deceit. People would be more fair, just, caring, and compassionate. And there would be a lot more love and unity in the world.
After all that I have personally been through in my life, I understand the Universal Laws that guide the universe. One of them being cause and effect. Someone’s got to set the example. Let’s do it one by one. Let’s bring about a time when people can respect and honour each other. Especially for our children and the future of our world. Be the miracle that you wish to happen.
Just a thought …
~Justin Taylor, ORDM.
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