“Do not be people without
minds of your own,
saying that if others treat you well,
you will treat them well
and if they do wrong,
you will do wrong.
Rather, accustom yourselves
to do GOOD
if people do good,
and NOT to do wrong if they do evil.”
-The Prophet Mohammed
This quote by Mohammed is referring to “The Golden Rule”. The Golden Rule is a theme that twenty-one of the world’s religions have in common. It’s the ultimate rule. I suppose you could call it God’s ultimate GPS to love, friendship, family, common decency, inner peace, a happy marriage, a happy life, world peace, etc.
The Golden Rule teaches us that we should treat others as we’d like to be treated. It teaches us that regardless of what other people say or do, we should always do good. Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, for this sums up the laws and the prophets (Matthew 7:12).”
There are far too many people who only do good for others if they know they’ll benefit from it later. And there aren’t enough people who do good for others just because they want to help others. Okay, yes, many people do help others. But do they help others without an underlying motive to benefit themselves in the process?
Today as the thought of The Golden Rule, is at the forefront of my mind, I am reminded of Karma Yoga, a practice of the Hindu faith. Karma Yoga is also known as “the path of action”. It is the practice of consciously using one’s daily life and work as spiritual practice while ridding oneself of the attachment to the rewards of our daily actions. In essence, Karma Yoga focused on helping others, may be summed up as this:
-Help people as often as possible.
-Do it, not to benefit you, but to benefit others.
-Don’t do it just because it makes you feel good about doing it – after all, you would still be doing it to benefit yourself.
-Do it only to benefit others.
In other words, help others for no other reason than to make others happy.
Now you may be thinking, ‘How can I really do something without the tiniest reward in it for me?’ Simply do every action as purely as you can without thinking of any rewards. Completely detach yourselves from the rewards so that you are not being guided by the ego, but rather, by God. When you set your ego aside, you no longer have the desire for the rewards, the desire for self-benefit. The only concern now is helping others for the pure and simple desire to help others (without any strings attached).
Now imagine that we follow The Golden Rule and Karma Yoga simultaneously. In other words, imagine that you are living a life where you treat others as you’d like to be treated, while at the same time helping others without any attachment to the rewards of your actions. What do you think would happen? What would the result of this positive loving behaviour communicate to the world around you?
First off, it would have long lasting positive effects on every person you interact with. Because you are no longer interacting in a negative way and are instead doing good for the simple good of others, the reactions of the people you encounter in your life will be positive ones. Moreover, those positive reactions will multiply like a virus and spread to others. What could be more beautiful than a virus of love and selflessness?
Today I propose we think less about ourselves,
and more about others.