As I have written before, I have two precepts I follow in life. One is to love one another, the other to do unto others, as I would like others to do unto me. They may seem too simple at first glance, but they can take a lifetime of practice to achieve.
Let’s look at the first one – love one another. Some of the others may be easy to love – our parents, siblings, spouse and children are hopefully on this list. But what about that mean boss we have at work, that workmate who tries to make us look bad, the teacher who makes us feel inadequate, the classmates who bully us? Can we truly learn to love these people? As I said earlier, what seems so simple a statement is actually quite complex.
The key is to look beneath the layers – the personas people adopt for a variety of reasons. Most likely they experienced a lack of love themselves, somewhere in life; perhaps they act as they do because that is what or how they were taught; perhaps there are biological reasons for their actions – brain injury or psychological disorders. If we try to peel away the layers and reach the core of a person like this, we will find a lost soul, confused and abused and acting as they do because they know no other way. Even if we can’t change them or cure them, we can understand and have empathy for these lost souls, and we can succeed in loving one another.
With the second precept, unless one is a total masochist who wants to be abused and treated badly, we desire to be treated fairly, to love and be loved, to be accepted and cared for, appreciated and needed. To receive these desires one must transmit these desires to others – as in karma, what goes around comes around. If we approach others with understanding rather than judgment, with kindness rather than hate, we are following this precept. If we think about how we like to be treated and carry it forth into the world, love will find a way in and spread throughout. To make changes in the world we each have to be the change; to be loved, we each have to love one another.
It is as simple and as difficult as that,
I will repost my favorite poem that reflects these thoughts:
He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic , rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In !
– by Edwin Markham