The problem is that we do love our neighbour as ourselves, but we don’t love ourselves at all. In fact, we have so many judgements with ourselves, and project these out to the people around us, which leads to all the discrimination and violence in the world. The only way we can change this is by really learning to love ourselves and then we will effortlessly love our neighbour.
There are certain principles that are universal truths, and they appear in most religions. The golden rule "Love your neighbor as yourself" is an aspect of compassion, based on the principle that we recognize others as an aspect of ourselves. It is so universal that in 1993 it was included in the "Declaration of world ethics by the Parliament of the World's Religions", and signed by leaders of the main religions of the world.
But why is it so difficult for us to comply with this golden rule? Because we lack love for ourselves. The violence, discrimination and repression that humanity "inflicts on others" is a reflection of the judgments and rejection we feel for ourselves. We are often our own worst enemies, judging ourselves with more vehemence than anyone else can, repressing and punishing ourselves, and striving to behave differently than we naturally are.
This golden rule relates to the emphasis on service, which is shared by religions. Giving is the blissful extension of a realized heart, because when we experience inner fulfillment, our greatest pleasure is to extend our own bliss towards others. Charity, in many cultures, is perceived as self-denial; but well-understood charity "begins at home". When we learn to accept and be kind and loving to ourselves, these qualities overflow into our environment, as an extension of our own love and acceptance.
India, perhaps more than any other country, shows us that religions can coexist peacefully. With its unique cultural diversity, it hosts followers of almost all the religions of the world. During a recent visit to New Delhi, I met Ezequiel Isaac Malekar, leader of the Jewish community in India, who told me that this is the only country in the world where Jews have never been persecuted, where there has never been anti-Semitism.India is a deeply religious country and this attitude of mutual respect shows that religions do not necessarily have to disagree. If we preach tolerance and love, peaceful coexistence should be a priority.
Hinduism is the predominant religion of India. I wonder if the acceptance of other forms of worship in that country, is related to the fact that Hindus venerate only one God, but in multiple ways. There are millions of "gods" in Hinduism, each representing a different aspect of God himself, so when foreigners arrived with new names for their gods, the Hindus accepted their beliefs without judgment.
Just as the spring cannot do anything but give of itself, the realized heart cannot avoid sharing its discovery with all humanity. Our duty is to discover love for ourselves and then, giving with joy arises as a natural consequence of this.
Isha Judd is an Australian humanitarian spiritual teacher based in Latin America, author of “Love Has Wings” and “Why Walk When You Can Fly?”. Watch “Why Walk When You Can Fly?” on itunes. Her website is www.ishajudd.com. Watch more movies and inspiring videos at isha.tv
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