... as thyself. A version of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. First found in the Old Testament. Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan to illustrate this commandment.
Often quoted, not lived often enough, sadly!
What does it mean to me? Who is my neighbour? Is it really just the persons living in close proximity to me?
As I understand this quotation today, my neighbour is myself in a different form. After all, I did nothing to be born to the parents I had and in the place they were living. It could just as easily be parents in, say, China or India or the West Indies, or anywhere at all and to parents rich or poor or loving or indifferent. I am certainly not conscious of having chosen. Wherever and in whatever circumstances I was given the gift of life, it's my opportunity to make that life count. In other words: "There but for the Grace of God, go I".
As, in my view, even quantum physics is slowly coming to the same conclusion, it is the same power which creates, sustains and changes constantly all things in the universe, including you and me. If I can truly understand that, then when I see you or anyone, I am, in fact looking at myself. The separation is part of the illusion. If only I could experience that power, then clearly I would also be able to relate to every other human being on the planet.
Currently there are huge debates about racism, sexism, etc. going on. The word "schism" is defined as "a split or division between strongly opposed sections or parties, caused by differences in opinion or belief". This defines nicely all these parties who support one view or the opposite. Using my understanding of the relationship between all human beings as described above, it should be clear that the cause of all these conflicting views and attitudes is because we do not see our neighbour as ourselves.
Focus on the commonalities: we all have the gift of life; are basic needs are the same: air, water, food, shelter, warmth and love. Our differences in comparison, are what makes us unique, not better or worse. At the end of life, we certainly realise what's important: breath! At that point, we may come to realise that we have spent our lives chasing the ephemeral at the cost of the eternal.
The dreadful death of George Floyd by preventing him from the ability to breathe, has made many people aware of the importance of breath. People dying from COVID-19 choke to death as their lungs become incapable of breathing.
Breath is the manifestation of the eternal in a person. We don't control it, we just have it. That's the definition of the gift of life. And, to me, only love can manifest such a gift, a love I can't understand, only accept.
If we had to do our own breathing consciously, there would be no human beings. How many breaths do you take in a day? Apparently an average person takes between 17,280 and 23,040 breaths a day. Of how many of them were you aware? The gift of life is amazing and staves of death right to the end, when that gift moves on. How conscious of that are we? Speaking for myself, I am aware that I have ignored this fact for most of my life. Now I practice being conscious of that power in me. Not very successfully, I admit, but practice makes perfect and the benefits are huge. Next to a breath, nothing can have the same value - try buying some! The more conscious I become of this, the less importance and value the everyday problems become. That is definitely closer to having peace for me.
I'm grateful for having learnt this lesson. I've been close to real death more than once in my life and as I get older, the more I learn the value of the life I have been allowed to experience. That makes me very thankful to that power, whatever anyone calls it, God, Allah, Jehova, The Great Mother, or any other term. After all the term we use will never encompass the universal power.