This I Believe

Stacey - Fair Lawn, New Jersey
Entered on September 6, 2007

I believe in the golden rule. Yes, it is very simple. You probably had a poster that stated it hanging in your kindergarten classroom, “Do onto others as you would wish them do onto you.” When I learned “the golden rule” some 15 years ago, it was the mantra of how to play well with others. I did not know that is was in fact the Golden Rule as Christianity. However, I believe that it may be the single most important concept for a human being, living in society. The Christians were not the only ones to get it right; all organized religions preach to live ones life in this manner. In Buddhism, “a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?” And in Judaism, “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man.” 1

Regardless of your religion, race, gender, nationality; living by this seemingly simple concept may be the most vital criteria in being a “good person”. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if all people acted in a way that they themselves found pleasant? I believe there would be less hostility, less negativity, less conflict, less selfishness. Who knows; maybe even less war, and hatred, a little more mutual respect and kindness.

I believe in trying to live my life by this “Golden Rule” each and every day. I believe it is not so hard to do. All it requires is thinking about the way one acts before they act- first; how will this affect the people involved? And then, how would I feel if this were done to me? The ability to see things from another’s point of view is essential in carrying out this rule.

When a person lacks the ability or desire to see things from another’s perspective, the “Golden Rule” is a broken one. Perhaps some people do not care about how their actions affect others. They do not wish to stop and put themselves in someone else’s shoes. To them, I guess I would warn them that I also believe in karma. Many religions are also deeply rooted in the belief of karma; the concept most people simply understand as “what goes around comes around.” Although the belief of karma is much more complex, the basic notion is that “one become virtuous by virtuous action, and evil by evil action.” I believe that every person decides for themselves which end of the spectrum they will be one through their actions. It is cause and effect. I believe someone who treats others poorly, who is selfish, will eventually be the recipient that kind of negativity in the end. It may not be immediate. It can be as simple as being treated badly by someone or everyone they have wronged in the past. That is the thing with karma, you don’t know when it is if fact going to come back around. This is not to say that I believe that those who do not follow the golden rule should be avenged, because “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”