“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” –Luke 6:31
“One should seek from others the happiness one desires for himself” –The Buddha
“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” –Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien
Virtually every religion and philosophy has some form of the Golden Rule, the ethical concept that the agent should act in a way that they wish to be modeled. Violence is met with violence. Hatred is met with hatred. Happiness and joy met in kind. The cycle continues as each successive generation conceives and strengthens the symbology and ideals of cultural action. The greatest confusion arises though when faced with overwhelming force or with anger and hatred directed out of dogma and doctrine. What does one do when faced with the thought that to simply stand by and act in kindness will result in the death and destruction of family, self and community?
Walking the path of peace is not the simplest of journeys. This is especially true when the actions we choose make it so that we have to choose between moral and mortality. Few would sit by quietly and lay their lives in the hands of their enemies with the simple conviction that an act of kindness and peace will ring true even through the discordant noise of hate and violence. Those that have done this have been called saint and simpleton both. Figures such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. are the pinnacle of example. None in the modern era has the outcome of Biblical Daniel.
When we see peace and harmony within ourselves, the world around us changes and the majority of people are seen through a different looking glass. They become individuals with their own issues, challenges, loves and fears. The number of those people who are out to get us or truly detrimental to the community drops. This is not to say that they do not exist. The inclination for hate, distrust, callousness, and bullying is the product of seeing the world through a cracked lens.
Setting even a single foot on this pathway draws us forward, the weight of fear and ego sliding away and making us lighter. Taking the first step is difficult and filled with apprehension. The second becomes easier. The third even more so. The secret though is to keep walking, moving forward, even when we step from the pathway and watch as the mirror ripples, creating a fearsome landscape.