There’s only one thing you have to be totally literal about, and that’s that you should always be considerate. You don’t have to be “nice” all the time, but you do have to be considerate. Being considerate doesn’t mean being nice, it means thinking things through before you do them, and thinking about what your interactions with people mean. Because the thing is, all signs point to the fact that you’re going to have to experience all of your interactions from both sides. So if you’re a total jerk to somebody, you’re going to have to deal with you being a total jerk to yourself.
Why? Because you’re involved in God experiencing God. You’re not God. You’re not even close to being God. The only way you’re remotely close to God is that neither you, nor God, are all-powerful in the place you live. Don’t get me wrong; God is MUCH more powerful than you– almost completely so– and is totally Good and Perfect, but there ain’t this one-to-one ratio that you can suddenly “realize.” Enlightenment, if that’s even a thing, isn’t about realizing you’re God, or one with God or whatever. Enlightenment is realizing the value of consideration.
Being considerate doesn’t always mean being nice, but it does usually mean that you make an effort to be good and pleasant. Come on: you know that on the balance it’s better to be good and pleasant when you interact with other people. You know this. If you don’t know this, you’re failing as a human. Or, you’re sick. Sure, maybe other people do things differently; maybe somebody somewhere is a jackass or mean or does evil things, but I’m not talking about other people. I’m talking about YOU, the person I’m talking to right now. Enough with this “that person was mean to me, so I’m gonna be mean to that person.” Wah, you dumb baby! You’re being mean to yourself! Suck it up, and get over yourself! “This person cheats to get ahead, so I’m going to cheat, too.” Boo-hoo-hoo, babydoll! You know cheating is wrong, so don’t do it. Geez, this is really easy! It’s not about other people— it’s about you!
(Now then, since I’m a fox, I should mention that sometimes being considerate means being kind of an asshole. You’re a human, after all; you can’t always help it. But sometimes honesty has to trump niceness. Sometimes ridicule works. Sometimes you need to call somebody out if they’re doing something crappy. Sometimes insulting people keeps the situation from escalating. There’s a certain amount of honesty involved. I can’t tell you specifically when this is; you have to figure it out for yourself, but it might help to study the work Groucho Marx did in this field.)
Generally, though, you know that thing about “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity“? Why are you being so inconsiderate all the time, then? Why are you doing what you know is wrong, when you know it’s wrong? Why are you supporting people who want to kill and hurt other people, without at least calling them on it?
Question: “But what if I get into this specific situation I’m thinking of? What about if there is a grey area?”
Answer: Really? There are grey areas in your life where it means you might need to do something evil? Go ahead, do tell.
Question: “What if I need to hurt or kill someone to save lives?”
Answer: Ah, of course. This again. Sigh. That thing you did there? It’s making stuff up. That question comes from war movies and video games and books like The Illiad. Maybe you’ll get into a situation like that, if you’re not considerate enough to avoid that kind of situation to begin with. I’ll grant, however, that you can’t tell the future, so maybe you’ll be in a desperate situation where you need to do something extreme that might not be good or pleasant.
But I’m not talking about desperate situations. I’m talking about when you get up in the morning and go to work and have chats with your coworkers, or talk on the internet with other people. I’m not talking about hypothetical situations where it’s hard to be considerate. Hey, God knows you’re imperfect; what God asks is that you don’t plan to do something evil to someone else. Don’t plan to have to kill or torture or hurt somebody. Don’t consider doing wrong as a valid option.
Because, remember, God is experiencing God through consciousness. Which means, when you plan something evil, when you plan to do something that requires that you might have to kill somebody– even in a war or conflict– you’re planning to stymie God’s ability to make everybody happy.
Hey, listen, again, you’re not God, and neither is anybody else. In fact, anybody who tells you that you’re God or that you “create your own reality” is trying to sell you something. You can mitigate how you deal with your reality, and you can make some changes that will make it a lot easier to deal with things, and you can make some other changes that’ll make you much happier, but nobody “creates their own reality.” Otherwise it’d be all unicorns and cotton candy all the time, which it’s NOT.
You keep needing to be told this, because sometimes it’s hard to do good and to be considerate. That’s why it might help to remember that when you harm other people, you’re literally harming yourself. So many people think that you need to do good and not evil so you won’t go to “Hell.” But listen, there is no hell. Hell is something people use to exercise power over other people. God is working towards the greatest possible balance of happiness; eternal damnation doesn’t fit into this equation. Instead, you need to do good and not evil because you’re doing it to yourself, and harming yourself is stupid.
Oh, taking care of the poor and sick! That’s great, good to do. But, listen; you can only do so much. I was just telling you the other day, it sure is easy to fall into the trap of self-importance when you’re talking about being responsible for the sick and the poor. Hell, a lot of you are the sick and the poor. Are you really together enough to help all of those people with all of their problems?
The deal is, there’s a lot of misconception about what it means to help the poor and sick. If you want to heal the sick, the best way is to become a doctor (unless you have magic healing powers, which you don’t). If you want to feed the poor, the best way is to buy them food and feed it to them. These aren’t things a lot of people are able to do. It’s really difficult and expensive to be a doctor, and a lot of you can barely afford to feed yourselves, much less everyone who’s hungry. But here’s a thing: you don’t need to go out and look for sick and poor people to help. It’s enough to do your best to be kind to the poor and sick people when they come along.
Have you even started by looking at yourself and the people closest to you? Until you know yourself, you can’t really help anybody else. If you don’t know where the beginning is, how can you even start asking about the end? It’s better to go spend some excellent quality time with your kids, and to teach them to be kind, than it is to donate time or money to a cause just because you feel some sense of obligation. If you don’t start with a foundation of personal knowledge, then how can you even consider trying to solve the problems of the world’s poor or sick? Instead, what you can do is act kindly and charitably to the best of your abilities with the people around you.
Saints are saints are saints, but you’re not a bad person just because you don’t volunteer in a soup kitchen or work in a malarial ward. It’s sufficient to help as well as you can if somebody asks you for help. This is especially important because it really seems like the weather is changing, and you might have to deal with that.
Really, though, it’s up to you to decide how to prioritize the people in your life, from your family members to the people you run into at work or on the street to the people you don’t like to the people who are sick and poor. If you think you’re significant enough to really make a difference in the lives of sick or poor people, go for it! If not, that’s okay.
What it boils down to is this: just try to be considerate no matter what, and God’ll be glad for that. The nice thing is, you already know how to do it!
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