Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
This “rule”, known as the Golden Rule, comes from Matthew 7:12 in the Bible and is taught in some form or another to most small children in America, no matter the parents religious belief. Seems simple enough, but it certainly isn’t easy. If someone has harmed me, or cheated me, this little sentence becomes pretty radical.
I am reading a book called The Third Jesus by Deepak Chopra. As a person who lived and breathed fundamentalist Christianity for 25+ years, this book is a breath of fresh air. I have been questioning my beliefs for about 5 years now, not a churchgoer anymore, but always a lover of Jesus. I am finding answers to some of my deepest questions, bringing new clarity to the question, “What would Jesus do?” The simple answer, after reading about 50 pages, is love. Not just those who agree with him, or those who are kind to him, but everyone.
In Matthew 5:44-45 Jesus says to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…..God makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the the righteous and the unrighteous. Whoa. Can I really do that? And that seems pretty unfair! This passage is speaking of divine love, the kind of love that is so beautiful yet so hard to live by. The images here are sun and rain – the basis of life, the source of nourishment. Inside each of us is a level of awareness that is as steady as the sun and as life-giving as rain. According to Dr. Chopra, this is pure Being, and without a connection to it, loving your enemy is impossible. This is a clear dividing line between everyday mortal consciousness and the higher state of consciousness Jesus was teaching about.
How do I apply these lofty ideas to my day to day life? That is the basic question for me. In general, I’m not persecuted. My workaday world is one in which I find myself having opportunity to help and serve people who are in distressing situations. My boss is pretty great most of the time. I have no coworker issues. But I have plenty of judgmental thoughts, or I disagree with someone else’s actions or stated beliefs, or I see political posts on Facebook that make my blood boil. What do I do?
On a daily basis, I meditate. I used to try to “pray”, as prescribed by the Church, but my soul never seemed to really connect with who I perceived God to be. Meditation has brought calmness to my soul, and a sense of connection to the greater universe, what some might call cosmic consciousness. As situations arise and negative ideas or thoughts permeate my brain, I try to pause and think about it. There are times that the right response is righteous anger, as when someone innocent is being harmed, but most of the time, the best action is to let the thoughts either settle or drift away, and look for the loving response.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind….and love your neighbor as yourself.
These words from Matthew 22 are the basis of the God kind of love, whatever your personal beliefs are. This isn’t about being a monk, or a nun, or about going to church on Sunday, or being a follower of Jesus, or of Mohammed, or Buddha, or anyone else. This is really talking about a change of mind and heart, and it is not a struggle to simply love when the mind has found its god-source. It isn’t a struggle anymore. Just as a mother doesn’t have to think of loving her baby, loving the god-force by loving others comes as naturally as breathing.The Hope of Loving What keeps us alive, what allows us to endure? I think it is the hope of loving, or being loved. I heard a fable once about the sun going on a journey to find its source, and how the moon wept without her lover’s warm gaze. We weep when light does not reach our hearts. We wither like fields if someone close does not rain their kindness upon us. – Meister Eckhart