Morality Play: Reflections On The Self

Where do your morals come from –

– your family?

Your faith?

Your philosophical worldview?

How do you deal with those who don’t share them, or derive them from a different source?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us THE SOURCE.

Reflections On The Self
Reflections On The Self

“Family, Faith, Filosophy …

… so many ‘F’ words are associated with morals!”

That’s what my husband said when I read the requirements of the daily prompt to him just now.

I thought I’d deal with them one by one.

Family:

I was born into a religious family, & so family & faith were completely intertwined when I was a child.

Undoubtedly much of my early moral programming came from my mother, our religious community & my religious education.

I was determined to be a saint from a very young age & worked hard to increase my knowledge of such things by dutifully studying the lives of various saints & mystics, as well as perusing the many religions & cultures of the world featured between the covers of  my grandfathers books.

My grandfather died when I was 8, which was a shame because he was probably the only member of my family (other than my sister) that was not a religious fanatic & that I could actually have a sane conversation with. He taught me about such wonderful things as wiring plugs, fixing fuses & changing the valves in televisions & radios.

Anyway I was taught all the classic stuff starting with the 10 commandments – Remember those?

Here they are in a very simplistic form:

  1. I am the Lord thy God & thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee  graven images.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
  5. Honour thy father & thy mother.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours goods.

They’ve certainly stood the test of time, but life is a bit more complicated these days.

I was lucky to have some truly great teachers & although religious they strove to educate us to think for ourselves & to educate ourselves. Philosophical thinking was encouraged & we were often asked to reflect on a moral issue & then debate it with our classmates.

However, in my early teens I felt the need to move on, & I did, much to my mother’s horror. She tried everything to ‘sort me out’ from threats, to priests, to faith-healers & even a psychiatrist … the verdict of them all … I was a teenager!

Hmm.

Faith:

I wrote recently in my post, “In Good Faith: Discovering Hinduism”, about one of my first independent experiences of faith. I never looked back & in the same year I met my first husband. He, like me, had decided to go solo on the subject of faith & together we embarked on a journey of exploration & discovery. Neither of us were inclined to adopt a new religion, but we were both consumed with a passion for mysticism, &  both ancient & modern scriptures of all kinds.

When you do not subscribe to a particular religion questions of morality become much more personal. You can no longer behave in a certain way because of rules, there are none. Not that I was not affected by my early programming, of course I was. This was something of a problem for me & I looked elsewhere for ways to liberate my consciousness.

Filosophy:

Yes I know it’s spelt wrong! I’m not going to get into talking about the wisdom, or lack of, of various philosophers here. I joined some mystical groups, became involved in a musical ‘family’ touring festivals with my husband & friends. I had good times & bad times, & during some of the worst times I decided to put some of the many theories I’d read about to the test.

Combining teachings & exercises from several ‘schools’ I created a daily routine of ‘practices’ – Yoga, Meditation, Self-Examination & the like. I kept a diary & managed to stick to it ‘religiously’. After some months it worked. I cracked open many layers of restrictive, habitual & unnecessary thinking.

Issues of morality became very clear to me & I literally emerged a different person. This all happened around 23 years ago & I have never needed to look outside of myself for clarification on this subject since then.

I now do what is right because I choose to, because it makes me stronger & happier, & I trust the universe to point me in the right direction & to push me gently, or sometimes roughly, on my way.

I try very hard not to judge others. My mother always reminded me to “never judge a man until I’d walked a mile in his moccasins”. She was so right, but of course it can be very hard not to judge, especially when I see so much apparent injustice & suffering around me. That said, I am generally happy to let others choose their morals, as I choose mine.

The hardest people to understand in life are often the ones from whom you can learn the most about yourself, so it’s always best to try & understand them however difficult it may be, but if I come across someone that I just can’t deal with I move on & leave them to their chosen path.

Morality Play

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