The Orlando shooting last week brought home my thought, at the end of my previous email, of how much pain I see in the world. It is odd to me, how I live in a kind of paradise-recovery, friends, loving wife, love all around, fantastic food/health, fulfillment, great work, beautiful nature and much much more; while viewing all that outside pain.
As I walk a very imperfect spiritual path, all of it compels me to say:
A fundamental spiritual principle is to reject creeds, policies and behaviors that inflict pain, suffering and deprivation on fellow humans. This principle needs to be extended; we should not just seek an absence of pain and suffering, but also the enhancement of human relationships and the enrichment of human experience. Then kindness can begin to rule and thriving becomes the natural way.
All the great teachers who have arrived during our known written history, expressed a “universal spirituality” in their teaching systems:
“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love. This is an old rule. Hurt not others with that which pains thyself” Buddhism
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself” Christ
“Wherever you go, wherever you rest, may the peace of Good Allah keep you and everyone blest. None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself” Islam
“What you don’t want done to yourself, don’t do to others. To be in one’s own heart in kindly sympathy with all things; this is the nature of righteousness.” Confucius, 6th Century B.C.
“Do not do unto others all that which is not well for oneself.” Zoroaster, 5th Century B.C.
“What does the Lord require of thee but to do justly and love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God?” Judaism
“Chose thou for thy neighbor that which thou choses for thyself.” Baha’i
Etc., etc. When what we do helps everybody win, then we’ve won.
From Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation
“Unfortunately, most of us have been trained to strive for perfection by willpower and determination. In men’s work we call this the heroic journey. Self-assertion and striving characterize the young male, and this is the shape his ego takes. Yet all spiritual traditions at their more mature levels teach that the soul must be receptive…….and simply accept love, without heroic effort. It is a path of descent more than ascent, unlearning more than learning, letting go more than any performance principle. It takes a long time to believe this. If we try to fix ourselves, we’ll do it with the same energy that caused the problem in the first place–which only strengthens our ego style.”