Saturday, January 10, 2009

A page from one of my journals

Last summer while on retreat at Spirit Rock with Ted, Guy Armstrong gave a lecture. I took notes. This page from that journal keeps arising in my mind:

It's not easy for us to so clearly understood that our ethical behavior leads to our happiness. It's more common for us to think that behaving ethically is about "being good" and "doing what we are supposed to do" and following the Golden Rule. External motivation. We seem to believe that succumbing to temptations can make us happy. Not so.

We don't necessarily understand that ethical behavior creates the conditions for sublime happiness. But that's exactly what ethical behavior does in fact do for us, and why we can aspire to have internal motivation to "do the right thing."

Ethical behavior helps us find the peace of mind that permits us to begin to refine our minds; our minds won't be occupied by regrets over our misdeeds.

Once we've achieved a refined mind, we have a chance to glimpse wisdom.


Katherine said...

So, in a nutshell - 'Be nice.' ?

Mr. Kinder said...

Yup, because ultimately, being nice to others is the best way to be nice to yourself.

Katherine said...

Yes. It is, isn't it. I thought about that, and that's why I didn't write 'Be nice to others.' If you just 'Be nice', then it includes being nice to YOU as well. Eating well, exercise, thinking about being kind to you, as well as others...

I always knew this. In my head. But something has really clicked today. And now I have it in my heart too. Just today I think I have finally successfully overwritten the childhood training that installed a default "others are more important than you" thing. It has to be that BOTH are important, doesn't it?

Thanks Dan.

I feel .. somehow .. lighter.

Mr. Kinder said...

Katherine, I'm glad this post spoke to you. I'm finding it less and less obvious where "me" ends and "other" begins. Taking care of your health (eating right, getting exercise, rest, managing chronic ailments, etc.) is indeed what you must do so that you can serve others with energy and wisdom, so there's that. And taking good care of the people around you means you'll be surrounded by contented people, which is what everyone wants. So you end up helping others by caring for your self, and you end up helping others when you care for yourself.

The Dalai Lama once said,

"If you want to be happy, practice compassion. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion."

The thing is to stop drawing lines and building walls and instead put the energy into kindness, compassion and caring.

Mr. Kinder said...

And when I said,

"So you end up helping others by caring for your self, and you end up helping others when you care for yourself."

I meant to say,

You end up helping others when you take care of yourself, and when you help others, you take care of yourself.

In much the same way, I think it's impossible to do any good whatsoever in warfare. In war, the bad guys fight the bad guys.

The good guys are the ones who don't get involved in fighting war.

Delwyn said...

Hi My name is Delwyn, in Queensland Australia. After reading this part of your blog I thought you may be interested in the original text of the golden rule, which goes:

I read your link to the multi layered Golden rule. You may be interested to know that the original goes like this:

Give birth to love for the one next door
as you do for your own soul's self
and the part of it that feels like a neighbour

Give birth to compassion for the nearest,
yet unfamiliar, aspect of yourself,
as you do for the one outside
who feels like a stranger

Give birth to the deepest warmth for
the neighbour, inside and out,
as you do for your own
subconscious community
inside and out

makes a difference doesn't it. In aramaic there are not clear distinctions between inside and outside so that the neighbour can refer to a member of your inner community!
So its about honouring, respecting, expressing and opening up to all of our parts....and our neighbour, food for thought...

Mr. Kinder said...

Thanks for chiming in, Delwyn. Your comments deserve display in today's post.