It doesn’t really matter what you celebrate
Season of light, illumine the night
Fill our hearts full, keep our hope bright
We will call on our common name
For we know in our hearts we’re the same
Because many traditions have major celebrations during this time of year, it is often called the Season of Light. The opening lyrics of Season Of Light composed by Jill Rose touch me deeply. Perhaps deep down, we really do know we are all the same. However as I absorb the news of the massacre in Newtown, CT, it is clear once again that many of us do not feel that we are one, don’t know the spark of the Divine that animates each of us is indeed, the same. My heart is so heavy I am having trouble finding words and yet my conviction of our oneness remains strong.
Certainly the deep structures of the spiritual traditions seem to agree. The Golden Rule from 13 Traditions prepared by Paul McKenna for Scarboro Missions is a beautiful testament to how we are to care for each other. Here are a few of my favorites:
Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.
Bahá’í Faith Bahá’u'lláh, Gleanings
Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
Buddhism The Buddha, Udana-Varga 5.18
In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; this is the law and the prophets.
Christianity Jesus, Matthew 7:12
One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct . . . loving-kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.
Confucianism Confucius, Analects 15.23
This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.
Hinduism Mahabharata 5:1517
Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.
Islam The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith
One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated.
Jainism Mahavira, Sutrakritanga 1.11.
What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.
Judaism Hillel, Talmud, Shabbath 31a
Beautiful aren’t they? Each in their own way reminding us, commanding us really, to recognize that we are not separate but one. They are pleading with us to awaken to our sameness and be responsible for each other. One of my favorite new books is Dr. Marc Gafni’s The Unique Self. The message he conveys is that we are all One, often called the True Self, and that the True Self manifests uniquely in each of us.
In order to explain the deep oneness of the True Self, Marc tells the story of two waves, one small and one large. As they move toward the shore, the large wave tells the small one that they are headed for disaster, for when they crash onto the sand it will be the end of them. Quietly the small wave tells the large one not to worry because it knows a secret and the secret is this: we are not waves, we are water! At our essence we the same, one with all there is. As we move into the new year may this Season of Light inspire us to realize that we are water, that at our core we are the same, and do whatever we can to affect changes to insure the well being of the rest of the ocean of humanity.