It's not often that I read something that really has an affect on me but recently on a flight, I came across an article by Paul Sutherland that really got me thinking. Paul is living in Uganda encouraging young and old alike to push past fear and contemplate a spiritual and practical path each day.
He is in a place where the churches fill up on Sunday with people in their best clothes, yet who seem to find unity in exclusion and bad behaviour. They condemn homosexuality, yet seem indifferent to corruption, spousal and child abuse, selling girls for cows and all kinds of other atrocities. Fathers sell their daughters for $10 to pay their son's school fees. The local parliamentarian spoke one day and did not mention the atrocities in the every day life of Uganda, yet railed against homosexuality, supposedly brought to Africa by American and European colonizers. How do we combat such horrible nonsense? Well Paul says that until a country, society or individual gets beyond victimhood and it's manifestations of blaming and complaining, to look at the truth - that we set our own destiny (A belief that I firmly accept) - we will make no progress.
Paul created the 10 "Fine Print" Commandments to get people thinking about and calling others to truth.
The 10 “Fine Print” Commandments
Paul used God in his commandments. Use whatever works for you – The Creator, Spirit, Allah, Buddha … For me, it’s Spirit so I’ve changed it.
1. I will live a love-centered life: open to connection to all of Spirit’s creation, with my heart open to the intuitive, the creative, the mystical, and the holy.
2. I will see the good in all; I will love first and value Spirit’s creation and people over possessions. I will place positive relationships with people, animals, plants, and meaning over material things. I will treat others and the world as I would wish to have others and the world treat me.
3. I will be impeccable with my words; I will speak the truth with honesty and respect, being mindful that how people understand my words is what ultimately counts. I will focus on gaining wisdom and truth, not just opinions.
4. I will nurture my spirituality; I will take time to allow each of my breaths to connect me to creation, my highest self, joy, others, my inner calm, and Spirit. My relationship with Spirit fills me with joy, humility, wonder, courage, virtue, happiness, and a desire to be engaged as a spiritual activist and helper.
5. I will act from my spirituality; I will forgive myself and others and let go of comparison, envy, judgment, regret, worry, guilt, fear, anger, competitiveness, indifference, shaming, blaming, complaining, victimhood, bad habits, and laziness.
6. I know I am not Spirit; I will protect and nurture life. Ending someone’s or something’s life is not my right. I believe killing and war is evil. I will be fearless in the protection of life.
7. I will keep my commitments; I will be faithful and act responsibly to those who look to me for love, care, comfort, guidance, and security, even when I don’t feel like it or “something better comes along”. If I wish or need to undo a commitment, I will do it with grace, honestly, openness and love.
8. I will share and care, a brother/sister/mother/father to all; I will be generous in my actions, thoughts, deeds, behaviors, intentions and spirit to all of creation - not just to those that I like, that believe as I do, that belong to my tribe, religion, gender or sexual orientation, or that look like me.
9. I will connect; I will walk in my neighbour’s shoes, seeking to understand their real needs and asking, “How can I love you better?”
10. I will be HAPPY! I will not be addicted to anything except living a spiritual life of love, growth, discovery, joy and gratitude. I will avoid sloth, gluttony, alcohol (except my occasional Martini or a glass of wine!), intoxicants, unhealthy food, and selfish relationships. To know and understand creation is to live a spiritual life that will make me happy and full of joy and will put a smile on my face.
So what do you think? An interesting way to look at life, huh? I like it …