Have We Forgotten The Golden Rule?

I noticed a fellow grocery shopper perusing the magazine and tabloid cover photos of celebrities and politicians at the supermarket checkout line the other day. He noticed me noticing him, then he said, “There is a Golden Rule: The man with the gold rules”. All I could do in response was to nod my head, yes.

I’ve heard variations of the shopper’s statement elsewhere and even caught a glance of it on the Web. The observation is not as cynical as it seems. I don’t want to get all political about the appearance of plutocracy running the show in Washington DC these days, so I’ll just leave the thought of it as a mention and move on.

The shopper’s quip about the Golden Rule, caused me to ponder the ages old concept of the Golden Rule. Here in the West, the Abrahamic religions all preach it. Christians overtly call it the “Golden Rule”. Jews and Muslims have their own versions of the same concept. The institutions founded in India famously call it Karma. Aboriginal peoples of the Australian region, Oceania, and the Americas have long taught similar wisdom.

Even Scientology teaches two forms of their own golden rule: “The Way to Happiness, Precept 19. Try not to do to others that you would not like them to do to you. Precept 20. Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you.”

Since some form of the Golden Rule or Karma is a universal teaching by nearly every religion, modern philosophy, and wisdom tradition, why don’t we practice this most basic wisdom teaching that our belief systems preach?

There is the endless cycle of wars that has been ever-present since before the evolution of homo sapiens. Thievery and deception are to be found at every turn. Uncivil behavior is becoming the norm. Religionists are fighting for the right to treat others with abominable malice. There is rarely even lip-service to the authentic meaning of the Golden Rule in general society anymore.

There is a lovely practice one of my Hindu friends taught me, called “Namaste” (pronounced nah-MAH-stay). One bends the elbows and presses the hands flatly together near the chest then slightly, briefly bows the head. It is a greeting and salutation one uses to show sincere respect to everybody one meets. Namaste is a way of affirming that we are equal to one another. It is used among familiar acquaintances and strangers, young and old. Namaste has been popularly interpreted as, “The divine in me bows to the divine in you.” There are equivalents to Namaste in other cultures.

“What we have done, the result of that comes to us whenever it comes, either today, tomorrow, hundred years later, hundred lives later, whatever, whatever. And so, it’s our own karma.”–Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

I’m just hoping that I’m not only one of the few voices in the wilderness wanting to remind people that regardless of what we say and do, we will somehow be held accountable by somebody else. It is good to ponder the Golden Rule or Karma or whatever we wish to call it.

The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes entertainer Art Linkletter. “My philosophy is to do the best you can for somebody. Help. It’s not just what you do for yourself. It’s how you treat people decently. The Golden Rule. There isn’t anything better than the Golden Rule. It’s in every major religion in one language or another.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Controversy, Friendship, philosophy, religion and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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