“Look to your own heart, discover what it is that gives you pain and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.”
The golden rule made plain. In thinking about what gives me most pain, I believe it is seeing children caught up in a web of violence that they cannot escape, and did not create. Whether they reside in our own country, or in some foreign land, my heart hurts when I see the mistreatment of children. I'll bet yours does, too.
Karen Armstrong has said, “Here in America, religious people often prefer to be right rather than compassionate. They've lost the Axial Age vision of concern for everybody.” That seems especially true at the moment, with our “America First” president shutting us in with walls and tearing down bridges to our open hearts. He, at least, has little concern for the pain he may be causing others. This chest thumping not only is not supported by our religious values, but is also grossly damaging to our political power and standing in the world. No one likes a bully.
Karl Jaspers described the Axial Age as one that produced great spiritual thinkers such as Confucius, Lao Tzu, Buddha, the writers of the Upanishads, the Jewish prophets and Jesus. It was a pivotal age, “an interregnum between two ages of great empire, a pause for liberty, a deep breath bringing the most lucid consciousness.” The current backward gazing, with its attitude of powering over others, and squashing dissent, is the opposite of such an age.
Here is my prayer: that people of true conviction will oppose going backward on any grounds whatsoever. We have worked too hard and come too far in our faith, compassion and consciousness to sacrifice it to a temporary tyrant. Let us move ahead with steady resolve, keeping open hearts and clear vision.
In the Spirit,