Monday, February 18, 2013

Do No Harm

I am on the verge of finally finishing a book that I feel I began years ago. It is called Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It is a book about mindfulness. This morning I read about the idea of doing no harm. If you don’t know what to do, at least do no harm. This is a good mantra for those who find it difficult to actually practice love, kindness, and compassion. It is similar to the Dalai Lama’s teaching that if you can’t love everyone, at least don’t hurt them. This particular Dalai Lama teaching is something I practice a lot in the work environment. However, I think the idea of doing no harm is a great default mantra when love, kindness, and compassion seem beyond our ability. I like to believe that myself and most other people are driven by idealistic motives. However, my experience is that being optimistic, positive, and caring takes a lot of energy. It is energy well spent but it does take a lot of effort to be a good person. Doing no harm may seem like a negative way to live but I think it can only have positive results. By doing no harm we keep ourselves from unleashing negative energy into the world. The laws of karma would say that by doing no harm, no harm will be done to us. In a perfect world we would all be driven and motivated by care for others and doing good things. In the real world it is challenging to always do these things. I still hope to practice love, kindness, and compassion as much as possible and whenever possible. However, I also know that some days it seems beyond my ability. When I am feeling less than charitable, I hope my backup plan of doing no harm kicks in and keeps me from saying or doing things I will regret later.

No comments: