Sunday, April 19, 2009


Since the compassionate teaching of the Golden Rule seems to be a universal ethical principle of human community, it is worth asking why it is not universally practiced: “Do not do to others what you would not like done to you”; or, positively, Do to others what you would like done to you”—same coin, two sides.

From the positive side, let me ask: What do I want others to do to me? I readily reply:

• respect me
• be kind to me
• care for me
• encourage me
• help me
• trust me
• expect the best of me
• enjoy me

And when I feel such an amiable attitude expressed toward me, I’m disposed to feel the same way in return; when, however, I receive chilliness and disregard from others, rather than warmth and kindly radiance, then my own generosity and openness constrict and cool.

Knowing this from my own experience, I therefore know my duty, by the Golden Rule: I must be gentle, generous, genuine and kind. To behave that way, freely and spontaneously, feels natural and good.

Why then do I not always behave so? Because I prefer serving myself, my own desires, wants, and needs than serving others, even if they behave kindly toward me, but more easily if they don’t. In such cases, Me First wins, which happens all too often.