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On living the Golden Rule

Several years ago while reading The Mindful Woman, a thoughtful book written by Sue Patton Thoele, I came across a meditation on the Golden Rule that both struck and stayed with me. The following is an excerpt from that book.

Doing unto Others

Because it expresses ageless wisdom regarding living a good life, the Golden Rule is taught across the world’s religions. Here are some examples:

Christianity: In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you. (Jesus)

Buddhism: Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. (Buddha)

Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it. (Hillel)

Hinduism: Do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. (Mahábhárata)

Islam: Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself. (The Prophet Muhammad)

Sufism: The basis of Sufism is consideration of the hearts and feelings of others. If you haven’t the will to gladden someone’s heart, then at least beware lest you hurt someone’s heart, for that is our path. (Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh)

Native American Spirituality: All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. (Black Elk)

Living the Golden Rule philosophy is easier when you are present to other beings, the earth, yourself, and the moment. Conscious, aware presence to anything deepens our understanding of it. Understanding opens our hearts. Acting from the center of our hearts promotes both personal and global peace. Practiced faithfully, the Golden Rule is the only guideline we need for leading a compassionately mindful life.

Stop for a moment and just imagine the impact it would have if every single one of us throughout the world took the spirit of these guidelines to heart and put them into practice in our day-to-day lives.


Apart from the obvious changes it could bring to our encounters with others in our immediate circles, think of how governments might be influenced to make different policy decisions… how church members’ responses to people outside their walls, both physical and ideological, might be transformed… how peace might be brought to relationships between warring countries.

I know it all sounds rather simplistic, and maybe even a bit preachy… but couldn’t we just give it a try?

What do you think?
Please share!


NaBloPoMo July 2014

(Updated from original post in November, 2009.)

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • elainelk July 17, 2014

    The Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments. For all that philosophers argue over ethics and morality, those are really the only guidelines we need. Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Laurel.

  • Becky Blades July 17, 2014

    I love this list. I’ve always wondered what the underlying principles of these beliefs were. Not preachy at all! Let’s get the word out. I’m sharing!

  • Jeanine Byers
    July 17, 2014

    Well, I’m in! 🙂

    LOVE that all those religions have a version of it.


  • Christi Johnson July 17, 2014

    I just had a long conversation with a friend from church, today, and we discussed the fact that there is a person sowing a lot of discord. It’s a shame because he could be so likable, but he’s a massive gossiper, tearing down the character of others in an effort to make himself look good.

    Nowadays, people do not take this very seriously, but I believe that they most certainly should! We live in a world of reaping and sowing, and the need to treat others as we’d like to be treated is very real, even though we don’t live like it is. Thank you so much for this reminder! Great article!
    Christi Johnson recently posted… My Choice For Blog Monetization – Ingreso Cybernetico, The Company Best-Suited For Online Personal Branding!My Profile

  • Alana
    July 17, 2014

    As we teeter on the brink of an international crisis with today’s downing of a passenger jet near the Russian/Ukraine border (100 years after the start of World War I), I could so wish we all followed this philosophy. But, as long as some hate, and have the power to disrupt the lives of millions, I am pessimistic that this will ever happen.
    Alana recently posted… My Cheesecake SecretMy Profile

  • Lisa Mallis
    July 17, 2014

    Great post! I usually adapt the golden rule a bit to “do unto others as they would like you to do” . . . because, when it comes down to it – what they want / need is really what matters!
    Lisa Mallis recently posted… How to Eliminate the “I’m All Alone When Working Towards My Goals”My Profile

  • Cathy Graham
    July 17, 2014

    This is great, Laurel. Fascinating to see that each religion has a version of the golden rule idea. Thanks for enlightening us. Wish we all could enforce it and see how great the world could really be. Maybe I’m being idealistic but we mustn’t lose hope.
    Cathy Graham recently posted… UBC Day 17 – If Only Life Was A MusicalMy Profile

  • Krithika Rangarajan July 17, 2014

    Hey Laurel

    What a beautiful sentiment – I have shared your heartfelt insight on my FB Timeline and Twitter feed. Everyone needs to read this ‘shocking’ truth.

    Every religion preaches the same – love, trust, respect, humanity, peace, hard-work and happiness. Why then are we so proprietary about some silly labels? 🙁

    Thank you so much for this much needed reminder – Do UNTO OTHERS!



  • Carol Cassara
    July 17, 2014

    Wholeheartedly agree. I’m going to share.
    Carol Cassara recently posted… Pretty thingsMy Profile

  • Joy
    July 17, 2014

    Yes, simple. But sometimes the problem lies in over-complication, and the answer lies in simple truths. 🙂
    Joy recently posted… The Curse of the BlobMy Profile

  • Sulekha July 17, 2014

    What a beautiful list of golden rules! Loved reading your post and agree with you about treating others as you would like to be treated.

  • Shilpa Garg
    July 18, 2014

    Agree completely. We must treat other people with the concern and kindness we would like them to show toward us. And taking this golden rule a step ahead… that’s because, it all comes back… the karma… the good and the bad! So it is important to keep our circle positive 🙂
    Shilpa Garg recently posted… BoomerangMy Profile

  • Pixie July 18, 2014

    That’s truly a beautiful sentiment. And all religions and practices say the same thing don’t they?
    I really try to not harm anyone with my words or actions because I know if the reverse were to happen I would get hurt..
    Completely agree and as Shilpa has mentioned, its always good to keep our circle positive and happy.

  • Kathy
    July 18, 2014

    What a great way of reminding us all that The Golden Rule and the consciousness behind it has nothing to do with any ONE religion, but is a part of whole. Yes to the peace and love that would come to everyone when that time comes.
    Kathy recently posted… Alternative Medicine—How Far Will You Go To Be Healed?My Profile

  • Sherri Hayter July 18, 2014

    Laurel, what a lovely post. I think the greatest solutions to our worlds problems are surprisingly simple in concept, yet difficult in action. The golden rule is definitely something we can all agree is something we should strive for, and yet we fall quite short of the mark. I agree with you, it could indeed change the world, when we truly see eachother as people, no better, and no worse than ourselves, completely equal in our humanity. Thanks for spreading hope <3
    Sherri Hayter recently posted… Pondering on Small Space LivingMy Profile

  • Fab July 20, 2014

    It’s a beautiful thought Laurel, but one that’s almost extinct in today’s world. But as you said, we can try, and it is sure to do more good than harm!!
    Fab recently posted… Morning MusingsMy Profile

  • elly stornebrink
    July 21, 2014

    I do my best to live by that rule, though I am not perfect and have my moments. The key then is to forgive myself as even I need to be compassionate with myself. It starts with me after all in how I treat and see myself! 😉 <3


  • Kindness Begins With Me March 7, 2017, 8:43 pm

    […] happened to the Golden Rule?  (And guess what??  It’s not just a Christian thing either.)  This blogger has a great post about it and she is spot on when she says, “Stop for a moment and just […]

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