Choosing the path of least harm

words & photo by Brian Thompson.

If you want respect, then you first must give it.

If you want to be heard, then you first must listen.

If you want to be loved, then you first must be loving.

If you want to be understood, then you first must accept all of those who are different.

If you want to end suffering, then you first must eliminate it within your very own mind.

If you want freedom and equality for all, then you must first be non-judgemental and non-discriminating yourself.

You must stop all inner resistance to that which you strive towards. Surrender to your own ideals and be the very change you seek. Words are empty — it’s your actions alone that express your sincerity.

Throughout daily life you are faced with many difficult predicaments, but your decisions needn’t always be made to be so tough or complicated. No matter the situation, you must realize that there is never a definitive right or wrong, there is only the path of least harm.

So which will you choose? The selfish choice that will benefit only you and you alone, or the one that will benefit the greater good of all?

Your choices should be much simpler than what you turn them into — always just lean on the side of love, compassion and empathy. After all, isn’t what everyone seeks?

Whatever you give, you will receive in return.

When you choose respect for all things, in even the most mundane of your choices, the weight of the world becomes less of a burden. You lighten your karmic load. You become the cure rather than the cause, and your actions shine as an example for all others to see.

No action is too small to bear the mark of your mindfulness — every purchase, every product, every word, every opinion, every laugh, every desire, every dollar, every deed.

When you choose to abide peacefully in the present moment by steeping every decision in the cleansing waters of compassion, your wisdom will enlighten the world.

In so doing, you will create peace, here and now.

“Peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” —Alan Watts