Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

“I just ascribe to being a good, down home, Christian,” he drawled.

“I don’t even get that specific” I replied.

“Well, then, what are you?” he gasped.

“Amazing!” I laughed.

“Haven’t you seen her laptop? It just says ‘my religion is kindness,'” my friend jumped in with a chuckle. He’d stopped being surprised by me a few years ago. And, though devoutly catholic himself, I think he understood me on this.

“Well,” our new friend from the south began slowly, “I guess amazing and kind are pretty good ways to be then!”

 

We were a couple of drinks in and had been trying to explain both the liquor laws and the ways of the dominant religion in our northern Utah town, as respectfully as possible. It rarely went over well with outsiders. The only one who had a direct connection to the so-called Mormon religion, I always felt the burden of support and justification fell on me.

Although I’d long since abandoned (is it abandoned if it’s happened more than once?) the LDS church and many of its teachings, I definitely understand the appeal. I miss it even. And anything teaches and creates supports for improving ourselves and helping others has its value in a society.

After all, I have studied religions from all over the world and integrated practices from each. I’ve also rejected practices from each.

Recently, I came across the perfect representation of my views. I lay in savasana after a soothing yoga practice in the red rocks of Utah and the soft, sweet voice of our instructor sing-songed, like some ethereal canter of old,

“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.

May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”

May I contribute. That’s my hope, my religion.

And, if I’m to contribute, I cannot allow others to deride or mock or marginalize others and their beliefs. I cannot allow anyone to make someone feel less than valued, less than worthy either. For we are all doing the best we can at any given time under the given circumstances. That does not mean we accept the status quo. We keep striving to improve, but we must honor where we are, where each of us are.

Maybe that striving is why I always seek the spiritual. Maybe it’s why I cannot allow even the most seemingly unusual or outrageous belief to be laughed at. Because I know I still need to improve. And I know I’ve been laughed at.

So, I believe in love. And I will love accordingly. Kindness is my religion.

“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.

May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”

 

 

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