Living in Harmony

one world – one people
one Spirit – one message
Live in Harmony
Lane Baldwin, 1996

This is the creed by which I try to live my life. To me, these eleven words embody the most important “law of Spirit” (to borrow Dan Millman’s phrase) there is. When reduced to their essence, isn’t this what virtually all religions and spiritual paths teach in one form or another?

Look around you. The world in which we live often seems consumed by hate created by fear, misunderstanding, prejudice and selfishness. We make war over resources and the desire to have power over others. I challenge anyone to show me a sacred writing that promotes such behavior. From Lao Tsu to Jesus, from Buddha to modern-day prophets, how many times must we hear that the essence of living a spiritual life is to live in harmony with the rest of creation, to live with love and compassion in our hearts that creates a desire to act in the best interests of others? From the shape of things today, I’d say we haven’t heard it enough. And that’s why I write the things I do.

There is no good reason to hate. Your neighbors may be of a different color; they are still human. They may follow a different religion; they are still worthy of respect and compassion. And, while the definition may be slightly different for each person, we are all trying to live a fulfilling and comfortable life, surrounded by loved ones and friends. Would you deny these things to others simply because they are of a different color, or worship at a different altar?

We all live on the same planet; we are of the same species. There is no “us” and ‘them” on this little ball – we are all “us”. Religions may differ in how they perceive the mystery of the creation and in the words used to describe it, but there is only one spirit that flows through all people and all things. Study a plant and you’ll find the same building blocks used to create animals. Study an animal and you’ll find the same ingredients that, when used in a slightly different manner, become humans. As certain indigenous cultures teach: We are all related.

In the past some have tried to convert me to one religion or another. Their demands fall on deaf ears, as I am quite happy in my own personal understanding of the nature of the universe. Others have wondered if I am trying to convert others to my “religion”. The answer is an emphatic “Absolutely Not!” While I am a Christian, as an interfaith spiritual minister, I strive to serve people of all faiths when asked. Certainly, I cannot do something that is in conflict with my own faith, but neither will I do anything that is disrespectful of another person’s chosen way.

My relationship with the rest of creation is based on my own understanding, and is fashioned by the things I’ve experienced and the teachings I’ve studied. Your perception will necessarily be different from mine. It is not for me to decide for another, nor to judge their choice. My only question is: Is this person doing their best to live in a positive way? If so, I believe we can live in harmony, working together to create a better world. And even if not, I believe I should show compassion for that person, not judgement.

For each of us, there is a spiritual or religious life-way that speaks to our innermost self. Listen closely and follow your heart to the path that works best for you. I am completely confident that, if you do this to the best of your ability, we will find common ground in our beliefs. We will find more than enough reasons to live in harmony with each other, working together to create a better world.

If you are a Christian, I challenge you to be the best Christian you can be by following the teachings of Jesus. If you are a Buddhist, do your best to follow the teachings of the Buddha. Regardless of your religion, follow its teachings to the best of your ability in any given moment. Every moment. Don’t listen to those who would pervert the sacred teachings to sanction actions the teachings specifically prohibit. Don’t justify negative actions by separating yourself from others, regarding them as less than you.

There is only one world for all to share. We are all one people, all the same at the basic level, regardless of surface differences. There is only one spirit that flows through all of creation, and its most basic message to all creatures and things is to live in harmony. It is my sincere hope and desire that my work will help others see the truth of this, and to live their lives in accord with this creed. I believe that, if we do, the world will be a better place. Not just for me, but for all people.

Together, we can create a better day. Let it be so!

©2004, Lane Baldwin

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