Twenty Commandments for Ethical Living

High Desert Canyon, Photo by Romain Guy

High Desert Canyon, Photo by Romain Guy

1. Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen, if you only speak.

2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance.

3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.

4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor.

5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. If it was not earned or given, it is not yours.

6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth - whether it is people or plant.

7. Honor other people's thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.

8. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.

9. All people make mistakes, and all mistakes can be forgiven.

10. Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body and spirit. Practice optimism.

11. Nature is not FOR us, it is a PART of us. They are part of your worldly family.

12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life's lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.

13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.

14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of ones will within this universe.

15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self - all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.

16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.

17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others - especially sacred and religious objects. This is forbidden.

18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.

19. Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your belief on others.

20. Share your good fortune with others. Participate in charity.

Editor-in-Chief: @ayannanahmias
LinkedIn: Ayanna Nahmias

America's Dark Days of Intolerance and the Lessons of Religious Judgment

I was shocked, confused, bewildered as I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all, nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven who made me sputter and gasp–
The thieves, the liars, the sinners, the alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine, looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal? I would love to hear your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here? God must’ve made a mistake.

‘And why’s everyone so quiet, so somber – give me a clue.’
‘Child,’ He said, ‘they’re all in shock. They never thought they’d be seeing you!’

This story was told by Joel Osteen though the source is unknown.

The Answer is Behind Every Door

miao shaman china, photo by ruro photography

miao shaman china, photo by ruro photography

Author Unknown: There is an old Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she went to the holy man and asked, "What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?"

Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, "Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life." The woman went off at once in search of that magical mustard seed.

She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door, and said, "I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me."

They told her, "You've certainly come to the wrong place," and began to describe all the tragic things that recently had befallen them.

The woman said to herself, "Who is better able to help these poor, unfortunate people than I, who have had misfortune of my own?"

She stayed to comfort them, then went on in search of a home that had never known sorrow. But wherever she turned, in hotels and in other places, she found one tale after another of sadness and misfortune.

The woman became so involved in helping others cope with their sorrows that she eventually let go of her own. She would later come to understand that it was the quest to find the magical mustard seed that drove away her suffering.

Editor-in-Chief: @ayannanahmias
LinkedIn: Ayanna Nahmias

Source: Spiritual Stories

Greed is the Hardest Task Master

gangajalis-photo-by-ursula.jpg

Long ago there lived in Northern India a merchant whose wife had died and who went daily from his lonely house in the foothills to the town below, for buying and selling.

"I must have a holiday," he said to himself one day, and he began to climb up into the hills to enjoy the view and the sounds of the forest. In the hot afternoon, feeling sleepy he looked for a quiet place for a nap. Soon he discovered a kind of hole in a cliff, actually a cave; so he lay down in the dark interior and slept. Waking up, he felt there was something with him, in the cave.

Crawling back inside he found a large earthen jar. Then another, and another and another -- there were seven jars there, altogether! Now the merchant wondered if he dared to open them. There was no sound of anyone about, still it seemed a bit risky. But curiosity, as you know, is powerful indeed. He found he could lift the lid of the first jar. What do you know! It seemed to be full of gold coins. So were the second, third, fourth and fifth. Under the lid of the sixth jar he found an aged piece of paper.

On it was written, "Finder, beware!! The seven jars of gold are yours, but there is a curse. No one who takes them with him can leave the curse behind."

Now, next to curiosity, greed is the most powerful urge. Our merchant overjoyed with his luck, wasted no time in borrowing a two-wheeled cart to carry the jars of gold to his house. It was exhausting and next to impossible.

Bulky and hard to lift, they had to be taken two by two; in the dark of night he lugged them to his house. On the last trip, with the seventh jar alone thankfully the load was lighter, and he noticed nothing.

"Let me count the coins," he thought, "and see how great my fortune is." But when that seventh jar was opened he found it was only half-full.

"What!" he cried, "I was promised seven jars!"

He had thrown the note away and forgotten about the curse. The merchant was overcome and obsessed by a spirit of grasping and greed. Now, in the town, he went at his money-making hand and fist; it was all he lived for.

"I must fill the seventh jar with gold,": this was his constant thought. Yet the more he put into the jar, strangely the more it remained half-full. He lived some years more, but never did he enjoy spending the gold he had found, because it was never enough.

Source: Spiritual Stories

The Wolf of the Matter

10039483454_3b528fd7cc_z.jpg

Two Wolves | A Cherokee Legend

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego."

He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute, then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Contributing Editor: @MAndrewRansom

If Wishes Were Horses and Envy Complete

duddo-stone-circle-photo-by-richard-goddard.jpg

There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life. One day he passed a wealthy merchant's house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. "How powerful that merchant must be!" thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined, but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. "How powerful that official is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a high official!"

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. "How powerful the sun is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the sun!"

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. "How powerful that storm cloud is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a cloud!"

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. "How powerful it is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the wind!"

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it - a huge, towering rock. "How powerful that rock is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a rock!"

Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. "What could be more powerful than I, the rock?" he thought.

He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.

 Source: Spiritual Stories

Brick, Boy, Jag.....Prioritization

aaarghhh-photo-by-gpower74.jpg

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door!

He slammed on the brakes and spun the Jag back to the spot from where the brick had been thrown. He jumped out of the car, grabbed some kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting,

"What was that all about and who are you? Just what do you think you are doing?" Building up a head of steam, he went on. "That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?"

"Please, mister, please. I'm sorry, but I didn't know what else to do!" pleaded the youngster. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop." Tears were dripping down the boy's chin as he pointed around the parked car. "It's my brother," he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." Sobbing, the boy asked the executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He lifted the young man back into the wheelchair and took out his handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts, checking to see that everything was going to be okay.

"Thank you and God bless you," the grateful child said to him. The man then watched the little boy push his brother down the sidewalk toward their home.

It was a long walk back for the man to his Jaguar...a long, slow walk. He never did repair the side door. He kept the dent to remind him not to go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention.

Editor-in-Chief: @AyannaNahmias
LinkedIn: Ayanna Nahmias