Where do your morals come from –
– your family?
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.
“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.
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:
- I am the Lord thy God & thou shalt have no other gods before me.
- Thou shalt not make unto thee graven images.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
- Honour thy father & thy mother.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness.
- 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!
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.
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.