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The Golden Rule Revisited
"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Buddhism

"What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary." Judaism

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Christianity

"No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself." Islam

"Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself." Baha'i Faith

"When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself." A Course in Miracles

In this day and age with all that is happening in our world and political institutions, it might be good for us to revisit the Golden Rule. So many of us feel too insignificant to make a difference when the "powers that be" dictate the way our world will go. Perhaps you have felt a little helpless and perhaps even angry at those "powers" as of late, especially with all that is going on with the "Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky-Partisan Politics- Impeachment" thing. We have probably picked our sides pro or con about: Bill Clinton, Ken Starr, the Republicans, the Democrats, Linda Tripp and the list goes on. But the need that really should be addressed in this whole thing is: Are we at peace or can we ever be at peace and happy when we are angry, hateful or vindictive toward another? Can separating ourselves with our "rights" and "wrongs" from another part of society help us to feel lasting peace and happiness?

We were all taught the Golden Rule no matter where we were raised or our religious background. The idea of only doing to others what we would want done to us is understood by even those with no religious background — it is just what decent people do, one might assume. Just because we have heard this rule forever does not make it an old or out-dated concept — to the contrary, this concept is our salvation. The fact that it is said in every religion and taught in every culture gives us a chance to finally learn it and practice it if we have been remiss as of late....and who among us has not?

All through A Course in Miracles we read different forms of the Golden Rule:

"Today I learn the law of love, that what I give my brother is my gift to me." (W465/475)

"My sinless brother is my guide to peace. My sinful brother is my guide to pain. And which I choose to see I will behold." (W470/480)

"Teach no one that he is what you would not want to be. Your brother is the mirror in which you see the image of yourself." (T118/127)

"You understand that you are healed when you give healing, You accept forgiveness as accomplished in yourself when you forgive. You recognize your brother as yourself, and thus do you perceive that you are whole." (W293/300)

"...exempt no one from your love, or you will be hiding a dark place in your mind where the Holy Spirit is not welcome. And thus you will exempt yourself from His healing power, for by not offering total love you will not be healed completely." (T227/244)

These are just a few of the hundreds of places in the Course where we are told that our salvation lies in how we treat each other and even how we think about each other.

The other night, we rented a video of the television movie Saved by the Light. The story is about the life of Dannion Brinkley, a man who had two near-death experiences which transformed his life. His near-death experiences taught him first hand not only the importance of the Golden Rule, but that there was really no other way to live -- what we do to others we actually experience.

In the story, we see Brinkley as a man who had always lived his life for himself. He was a mean, vindictive person. He loved to pick fights and never saw any value in kindness or charity. His near-death experience happens as the result of being struck by lightning which leaves him dead for twenty-eight minutes. During this experience, he was shown his life. He not only saw all the vicious acts that he perpetrated on others, but he felt the pain he had inflicted on them. The pain was excruciating. He was then told that love was the way to live. He was told that we all were powerful spiritual beings and that he was being sent back to his life because he was not done with that experience.

Once back in his body, he was in great pain and very confused. Not only did his body have to heal but he had to heal his mind by changing the way he treated others. There are other points to Brinkley's story, and you might want to rent the movie or buy his book of the same title, if you are interested. But the point I want to make in this article is that the interconnectedness that we all share, he felt first hand. The hurtful things he had done to others he felt, and the loving things he did, he felt as well.

Well, you can imagine, as his story progresses, he begins helping others — offering his loving support and kindness. He has another near-death experience in the movie and he is again shown his life. This time, as I mentioned, he not only reviews the first part of his life with the painful acts he did but now he sees and feels the loving things he has done since his last near-death experience and he feels great joy. There is no longer a choice for him — love is the only way to live his life. He cannot see another's needs or hurts as apart from him. He cannot treat another hatefully or cruelly and not feel their pain. He has felt another's pain and joy and knows it is his as well.

The Course tells us over and over again that we are our brother -- there is no separation. And it tells us that we cannot truly know our true Self or God if we see ourselves or our needs as separate from another. Unless we start applying the Golden Rule to all situations, we are not living because we are not really alive -- how can there be life when we are cut off from our Source, which is God.

So the next time you feel depressed, angry or unhappy, check to see if you have missed a chance to apply the Golden Rule. How do we choose the Golden Rule when we think we are so right in our views? Well, perhaps with just a little willingness and a little prayer like this: "Father help me to see this person as you see them, so that I may be joined with them and not apart. I want to know my Self and You, so I am willing to know my brother." And then let God do the rest. Don't try to figure out how He should do His job (how He can make that person acceptable in your sight) -- just be willing to let His will be done through you. He knows the Golden Rule works.....now let Him show you.
by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff

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