By Diane Donovan-Vaughn 7/8/2017

The Golden Rule is found in almost every religion in some form or another. To love another as oneself takes on an even deeper meaning when we study A Course in Miracles and The Art of Spiritual Peacemaking (by James Twyman) because both books point out over and over that there is no other. There is only one and that whatever I do to another, I am doing to myself. If the world could fully accept this concept, all war would cease. Looking into the mirror and repeating, “I am the love of my life,” helps one understand the love you can extend to others by first extending it to yourself.

Unfortunately, as the mind or ego categorizes everything into separate items, we can believe that there exists an us and a them, an in-group and an out-group. The out-group is the one that we leave aside when we treat others as oneself because the ego is capable of seeing some people as not deserving of our love. In fact, we easily move into the realm of punishment and judgment and away from the Golden Rule. Every time we make this movement, we miss the opportunity to increase love in the world as we withhold love from ourselves because there is only one. The rejection we give to others arises first in self-rejection or self-hatred, a belief in unworthiness or lack of self-value.

Returning to the voices in the mind or ego, one can easily find the belief that one knows all about other people. The mind actually has no idea what is going on inside the brains of other people, but this never occurs to us as we decide to believe the interpretations that easily arise about others. In fact, we have trouble even knowing what is going on inside our own mind, in the subconscious and even in the conscious mind. We easily believe lies about our own motives in life. For example a person could say, “I will no longer smoke cigarettes,” completely believing that they can quit using words alone and in the next minute be smoking. A person observing these words and behaviors can then judge the failure of the other person and even accuse them of being a liar, especially if that judgmental person has never been the prisoner of nicotine.

It is probably impossible to completely stop the spontaneous judgments that arise in our mind. The mind has the job of sorting through the sensory data and considers human activity to be important. The mind is sort of obsessed with what is or could be wrong. However, we do have the ability to retrain our brains, to make new pathways that include a skeptical view of the voices in the head, to stop believing our spontaneous judgments of the world, and to allow love to be our guiding force.

The first step is always observation of how you think. The next step is to practice that skeptical view of those thoughts, to know that there exists seven billion or more possible interpretations of the world around you. Finally, you move your attention to your heart, to your higher self or higher power and ask for a loving attitude, solution and if necessary loving words to extend into the world and to correct your hateful, defensive, reactions.

Being able to choose love over fear takes practice. The fear occurs easily. Love is a choice that will remove the fear. You are the one who will benefit from this form of forgiveness. Forgive yourself and forgive everyone because you are technically making it all up anyway. Offer only love and you will receive the love you give.

The Lesson for today is Chapter Two in A year of Living with more Compassion – 52 Quotes and Weekly Compassion Practices (Edited by Richard Fields) pp 14-15. Compassion practice from that lesson is: “Before you get out of bed in the morning, put your hands over your heart and remind yourself, ‘I and all beings, wish to be loved.'”

Let’s close with a practice.

Close your eyes and take deep connected breaths. With each inhale, imagine that your life force is expanding. With each exhale, relax and release all your thoughts, beliefs and judgments. Move your attention to the center of your chest and find your true self inside. Breathe in light. Exhale negativity. Breathe in love. Exhale love. Connect your heart to the hearts of all others on the planet. Send a surge of love from your heart to the hearts around the world. Vow to be the love you seek to find. Namaste.