My sister sent me a brilliant article about New Year’s resolutions and so I thought that I would share the essence of it with you.

It opened with a quote from the Dalai Lama:

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

KInd1

It chimes incredibly with my own thoughts on religion and faith.

So much of conflict, certainly in the middle east, seems to centre around a whole slew of man made, and then man interpreted, rules and regulations about just who God is and what he wants.

Somehow it would seem to be a much better approach if we were to forget about organised religion and its “do’s and don’ts” and instead to work on a personal level. Following the simple Buddhist (and Christian) idea that If you can’t actually help someone at least make sure that you do not do them any harm.

That isn’t because it is following some major philosophical or religious teaching, but because it makes all kinds of practical sense. Let’s face it if we all followed that simple rule than we would immediately rule out 99% of all conflicts.

In one science fiction book I recall that there were only a couple of rules.

The first was:

               “Don’t upset or harm your neighbour.”

And the second was:

             “If you are the neighbour, don’t get upset easily!”

Although that is too simplistic to work in modern society, it does sum up a lot of the groundswell of opinion – particularly about the impact of social media. Yes, there are a growing number of trolls who seem to delight in being able to mouth off about other people, relatively safe in their anonymity on twitter for example. But we also have a bunch of people who are all too easily upset by the actions of these unthinking trolls.

Life would get much easier if we simply ignored the idiots and didn’t bother to give them the oxygen of attention. For me at least, it would seem to be much more worthwhile to focus on the things that are important to me and my friends, rather than getting het up about the inconsequential comments of those who do not merit another thought.

resolutions3Going back to the article I had been sent, it summed up New Year and the Resolutions that so often accompany it. The five most popular or common being:

To lose weight, get fit, drink less and take up or re-start a hobby and learn a new skill.

Instead of that, how about doing something much smaller and yet more effective?

We can bring about massive change in ourselves and also in those around us by being kind to people around us and to ourselves. Instead of beating ourselves up for things we fail to do we could instead take that as an opportunity to try once again. In the same way we can hold off our judgments of others and simply praise their successes.

We all flourish much more when we are loved and cared for. Especially so if that is in an atmosphere of kindness, generosity and forgiveness. So for me at least I will be investigating what I can do to bring more kindness into my own life and that of the people around me.

Any ideas from you?

(The original article is by Alison Murdoch in the Times SaturdayJan 2nd 2016)