Sunday, January 18, 2009

Nature Rabbi Tweaks The Golden Rule

Actually, the Golden Rule is a deliciously delightful way to live: Love your neighbor as yourself. My tweak is to make it the Second Rule we follow.

The first rule should be: Love Yourself.

Am I right? Of course I am, sayeth she ever so humbly.

For example, in these past weeks, if I loved my neighbors as I loved myself and treated them accordingly - they would be wild with revolt! "Okay neighbors - we are waking up before the break of dawn, hurling our books, clothes, food, and coffee into our vehicles and we are going to work, drive, telephone, email at red lights, eat while driving, read, study and catch up while in waiting rooms, and then come home, leaving the car looking like Toto and Dorothy were in it with the tornado winds of Kansas and the Ruby Red Slippers clacking wildly to go home, and then crawl into bed before the alarm clock rings again."

There would be wild insurrection, anger, frustration, and out and out revolt.

Obviously I exaggerated a bit, sayeth she hopefully.

But I do think that if we all truly loved, valued and cherished ourselves as bearers of the divine spirit, made in the image of God, THEN and ONLY THEN can the Golden Rule of "loving our neighbor as we love ourselves" really work.

Look at the conflicts around the world, the country, the block, in your homes -- imagine what would happen if the aggressors loved themselves with the divine kind of love, and not merely put themselves first in a greedy, evil, or bloodthirsty way. Putting yourself first is different from loving yourself, depending upon the motive for the former.

My challenge to me, and to you if you want to sign on, is to spend these next days making sure that I am truly loving, cherishing, and honoring myself. This may mean, putting myself first, but doing so with love and respect. It may mean saying "no" to further commitments; it may mean making sure I get to bed well in advance of the ringing alarm clock; it may mean stopping for a meal that is nutritious and drinking water instead of gallons of coffee.

And from this wellspring of love for myself, then I know when I love my neighbor with the same genuineness, my neighbor will be truly loved and respected and that I am infusing meaning into the Golden Rule.

As a footnote, the Jewish version of this "rule" was spoken by Rabbi Hillel regarding the true meaning of the Torah: "That which is despicable to you, do not do to another. That is the whole Torah. All the rest is commentary - go and learn it." amen

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ann, that is brilliant...and your fans and loved ones out here in cyber-space are so glad you have come to those very beautiful and self-preserving conclusions, for your health's sake. I will join you in the challenge...and I'll start by exercising outdoors in the crisp-cold dawn air.