“To thine own self be true….” And then Shakespeare goes on to say that, with that truth in place, you cannot be false to anyone. Thousands of words have been written by thousands of people over thousands of years saying that very same thing. You are here reading what so many people have thought and written about no one can count them or tell you how many times they go around the world
But I can tell you your world will be brighter, an easier place to inhabit, if you follow the advice. The kicker is, you have to be doing that today, tomorrow, always. Every minute and hour, every molecule of the day all your days being the compassionate fellow being that is the truth of you. Not the doing that you think brings rewards.
First make your promise to be this way. Then take whatever means necessary to carry it out. Does that mean you don’t get the phone while you are eating? That would be a true act of compassion. It would also keep the person on the other end from having to apologize for having interrupted you. Imagine that! Every time you called someone you would know you were not interrupting them, they were available. What a relief! Now, if you are worried about emergencies – just ring three times in a row, that usually does it.
The Buddha said, “To straighten the crooked, you must do a harder thing – straighten yourself.” If you happen to fly in a commercial airplane and if you happen to listen to what they say about oxygen masks you’ll remember that it always advised to put yours on before helping anyone else.
Have you ever been “helped” by a waitperson who is stressed out, spilling coffee, forgetting orders? Often we are that waitperson in our families if we are parents there are big holes to fall in. How do we keep our children happy when we are about to lose our job, when our boss has just insulted us for the forty-seventh time today? We have to be “saints” to keep our equilibrium. Actually that’s a bit of an exaggeration: we have to take care of our word, we have to not take things personally, and we have to make no assumptions as we strive to do the best we can.
I know that sounds impossible but it isn’t. In order for it to be our reality we need to believe in our own essential goodness, that we are whole by ourselves, that we are loved, that, as my meditation teacher says, we are perfect, we only need a little help.
Today is a good day to believe in ourself. Today is a good day to take responsibility for our actions, words, thoughts. Today we take our first step as we do every day. My mantra is, “This is good because things always work out for me.”