Considering that all of us, each in his, her own way are parts of our own one, greater Being, SWAMI KRIYANANDA suggests 18 simple ways to live in harmony with each other
The following suggestions will help you to recognize and affirm your own broader reality, which dwells within everyone. As you adopt them in your daily interactions with others, your understanding of yourself and others will deepen.
As you begin to understand others more deeply as extensions of your own self, harmony will follow automatically. These suggestions will therefore be helpful as a checklist for how well you are succeeding in your efforts to live in harmony with others.
A checklist for living in harmony with others:
1. Never judge anyone. Accept all as they are.
2. Realize that each person has a duty to change and improve himself. Whether or not he does so is not your responsibility.
3. Develop a sense of humour, first as regards your own foibles, and second as regards the foibles of others.
4. Don’t accept error when you see it, but simply accept that people do make mistakes. (Haven’t you made a fair share of them?) Thus, love people not for their faults, but in spite of them, and because everyone is trying, each in his own way, to find his way out of his own pits of error.
5. Look upon other people as friends and acquaintances whom you may have known in past incarnations, some of them perhaps closely and dearly. It is, indeed, probable that you have known many of them before, for we live a vast number of lives on earth.
6. Whether or not they are your friends from before, God in His infinity is omnipresent. He therefore resides in everyone – as everyone! See all whom you meet as expressions of our one common Father/Mother God.
7. Be strict in practicing the moral principle of ahimsa, or harmlessness. Never wish harm to anyone or to any creature—nor even (if you are deep in this practice) to any thing. Automatically, as you continue this practice, you will find yourself wishing everybody well.
8. Never covet another’s property. Wish everybody happiness in their possessions, and in their ideas and inspirations.
9. Dismiss from your mind the thought of personal attachment to anything. Thus, when dealing with others, you will find that you have no ulterior motives to warp your understanding of them.
10. Never view anyone with the thought of needing or desiring anything from him. Give him perfect freedom, mentally, to simply be himself, and to be complete in himself.
11. Be ever truthful and sincere – first of all with yourself, and then with everyone you meet.
12. Never tell yourself, regarding anyone else’s shortcomings, “I could never be like that!” The sad fact is, you could be. We all have the potential to be like anyone on earth, from the most debased to the most saintly. Be compassionate, therefore. Pray inwardly to God never to let you fall into that error again. For who knows what mistakes you may have committed yourself—perhaps in the far distant past.
13. Smile at others when it seems right to do so. Smile with them, not only at them. Let your smile be not only with your lips, but from your heart. Let it rise from there to shine out through your eyes.
14. Laugh with others, never at them.
15. When others grieve, never withhold your sympathy from them, but, instead of grieving with them, try to give them your heartfelt joy.
16. When others tell you of their troubles, try gently to steer them in the direction of finding possible solutions.
17. Try to love people as extensions of your own self. We may think of each person as specializing, on behalf of the whole human race, in being, simply, himself!
18. Live in the thought of God’s loving, blissful presence within you. Next, try, when in the company of others, to share with them His inner bliss.
As you follow the above principles, your own inner understanding may suggest to you countless other ways of recognizing and affirming your own broader reality, which dwells within other people also. Seek ways, then, to befriend and help them. All creatures, indeed, each in his, her, or its own way, are parts of your own one, greater Being.
Swami Kriyananda (born J. Donald Walters) was only 22 when he became a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, the author of Autobiography of a Yogi. At Yogananda’s request, Swami Kriyananda devoted his life to lecturing and writing, helping others to experience the living presence of God within. He founded the Ananda community.