“Immortality is to live your life doing good things and leave your mark behind.”
The Bhagavad Gita, holy text of the Hindus, recommends that we perform actions without expectation of reward. Pure action, it says, just happens—there is no doer, no receiver, just the action itself. Theologian Karen Armstrong reminds us, “Jesus did not spend a lot of time discoursing about the trinity or original sin or the incarnation, which have preoccupied later Christians. He just went around doing good and being compassionate.” Our relative goodness is not measured in individual acts—such as our monetary contribution to our church, temple or mosque—but in the life we lead every day.
We sometimes seem to believe we can compartmentalize life. We can spend some of it being angry and belligerent (for good reasons, of course), and as long as we espouse the right beliefs, and do our due diligence down at the homeless shelter, we can count ourselves among the “good people.”
“Good people,” however, sometimes do good things for the wrong reasons; and sometimes even do and say things that fall into the category of “bad actions.” Conversely, some folks who most of the world considers “bad dudes,” sometimes act out of kindness and compassion. None of us is purely good or purely bad.
The very best we can do is live consciously. We can pay attention to our actions, and when we are wrong about something, admit it and make reparations. We can let life happen and simply do what comes next without assessing whether or not there's a reward in it for us. Living with an open heart is usually enough to steer clear of most bad actions. It's impossible to be open-hearted and hateful at the same time! I hope today, we can all just go about doing good and being compassionate.
In the Spirit,