What's the golden rule and what does it have to do with me and life?
"Treat people the way you'd like them to treat you", is one interpretation of the good ol' golden rule (put into modern terms).
Pretty simple, eh? Not to much to ask. Yet at the same time, when you really think about it, it's the most profound and powerful idea ever - for you, you, you, you, and I.
Imagine if you or your spouse actually lived by that simple rule? If you don't have a spouse, imagine your last boyfriend or girlfriend. If you're young and don't have one yet, do imagine if your parents, or you, really did it.
I'm not joking, please, really take a few seconds, close your eyes, and think about what it would be like - you can do it!
OK, are you done?
It would be great, wouldn't it?
Now try it with your friends.
Now with your relatives.
Now think of what it would be like if EVERYONE in the whole world, treated each other that way.
Yep, it would be an incredible, wonderful world. No war, no hurting, no stealing. Just everyone caring about each other, sharing and giving to each other. THERE IS NO REASON IT CAN'T BE THAT WAY, is there? Wait, there is a reason it isn't that way. And it's really simple.
SELFISHNESS. Some of you thought it was greed. Some thought power and control. Some thought lust. Some thought... whatever.
But ALL of those things, come from one source, selfishness.
Some people think that selfishness isn't a bad thing. Well, in a way they're right. It's the natural thing that comes from everyone being separate and alone. You start thinking about yourself. We do have to look out for number 1 first after all, right? Not necessarily. To understand what I mean, start small. Start with your immediate family relationships - your spouse or boy/girl friend if you have one, parents if you don't.
If you thought of them first, really cared about them all the time, really did what was nice and made them feel good and took care of them first all the time, it would be a super great life and relationship with you right? (as long as it was actually good for them naturally, not something feeding selfishness or making them weak and dependent).
But what about me, you say? Well, that's what we're talking about - everyone feeling and acting the same way towards each other. So they would also be thinking of you first, really caring about you all the time, doing things that were nice for you and made you feel good all the time (again, as long as it wasn't bad for you).
Wow. Hey, you know what. It can be that way. Consider the story of Adam and Eve, whether you believe it or not. The idea that once we were totally close and in a loving relationship with God and each other, that we were basically like one, putting God and the other person first. Original sin just boils down to being SELFISH, see? That's why we are so miserable, so many people are suffering, and the whole world is a mess.
But we can change it. Really. All it takes is going back to where we came from and what we were like. That's what Jesus and others have been telling us and SHOWING us by example - love each other UNSELFISHLY.
Here's the deal though, to be fair, and realistic, you can't just expect everyone else to put you first and care about you like that. You have to be that way too. In fact, you have to be that way first, because no one can change anyone else, they can only change their own self. But once you do that, you will both BE an example, and your words, actions and love for those around you and everyone in the world, will have meaning and power. Because you put your money where your mouth is. Or in this case, your life where your words are. Some people will respond well to that, and start changing themselves. Other people who are stuck in the darkness of selfishness, forever chasing their desires and trying to avoid their fears, will hate you though. But, you have to decide if the benefits outweigh the downside. Is it worth it to you?
And let me tell you, it's not easy. Shaking off the chains of our selfishness and changing into someone who does what they need to for others because they care, even when they get cursed for it instead of thanked, hurts. But it also brings inner peace and the self esteem of feeling good about yourself because you know you're doing good.
And that brings you back to the universe, God, or whatever you choose to call this amazing One great thing that's all around us and life itself. Whatever you call it, being back together with that One, also brings you back to all the benefits, love and support it has to offer (I know everyone has a different concept about what that means, but for argument's sake right now, let's say God is something wonderful, universal, love, everything and everywhere, etc.). That makes it easier too.
Now imagine an entire world where everyone is being the same way. It can and will happen folks. Maybe it won't be here, maybe it will be. But something I know is true is that everything, and everyone, ends up with their own kind. If you are a murderous selfish gang member, guess who you are going to be around and living with? If you are a kind, gentle, compassionate person, guess what your friends are going to be like? Change yourself, and your whole world changes around you.
Some religious folks don't like the idea of self-help or self-improvement, because they take the stand that you can only achieve that by turning to God. But consider this... even turning to God (if it's real and not just preaching to others what you don't practice) involves doing the same thing I've just been talking about. It can only start with you. You can only change yourself. For centuries, people have been praying for other people to change, world changes, winning wars, world peace, etc. But it still seems that the only thing that gets consistent results, is praying for God to change you (or help you change), always gets the results you desire.
But in any case, you CAN be a positive constructive individual who can achieve any goal you set your mind to. You can also help others around you do the same, so at least you can live amongst those who share your beliefs and have a better life with your immediate family and friends (and hopefully those you work with).
We offer books and tools that can be used by individuals, families or groups wanting to improve their lives and the world around them. The techniques are effective, simple, and based on proven (and new), principles of changing yourself. And being based on the GR, it fits the belief/moral systems of all truly GOOD people.
We like all the various interpretations of the GR that you'll find on this site, including those on the page "GR quotes from various religions".
For instance, my kids loved a movie called "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure". In it, the "not too smart" heroes coined a couple of sayings that supposedly altered the future - "Party on dudes!" and "Be excellent to each other". Well, partying aside, the second saying is a wonderful modern version of the Golden Rule. We like that, along with many others, just a few of which are well known, like "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" and "Love thy neighbor".
The most powerful is probably the commandment given by Jesus in the bible. Besides containing the essence of the popular quotes, it is more defined, and includes Jesus' own rule requirement about being a Christian, and how to know who is or isn't a Christian. This can be found in our "quotes of various religions" webpage. According to it, you could be a Buddhist, clown, atheist or alien and still be a Christian, as long as you really live by the Golden Rule. As Bill & Ted would say "Woah Dude... Bodacious!"
We consider anyone who lives by the GR friends and family, because they believe it is most important to live a life of compassion and not do anything hurtful or harmful.
We also believe any philosophy, moral code, religion, spiritual path or tradition that â€œbrings outâ€ such behavior, is good.
Why are you called
The Golden Rule Organizationâ„¢ (GROâ„¢)?
Are you a religious group?
Because of our name, we hear that a lot.
GRO offers a workbook that teaches how to do group golden rule (GR) oriented therapy meetings that don't compete or interfere with most religions. In fact, we encourage people to start their own GR therapy groups within their chosen faith (if they have one) or just with family or friends at home, whether they are religious or not.
We're officially sanctioned by the IRS as a religious education non-profit. We hope that the concepts and self-improvement methods we teach, will be something embraced by religions, and by those who aren't religious.
What's the Golden Rule?
Probably the most famous references to the GR, are those made in the Bible and especially by Jesus. But most religions have a version of the GR, and even some atheists live by it as a moral code. Thus it is a particularly universal common ground.
There is "love thy neighbor", "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", etc. Jesus also essentially says "I bring to you a new commandment, to love one another as I love, and by this you will be known as my followers". According to Jesus it is both a commandment that Christians must live by in order to even be considered Christians, and ironically, everyone who practices it is also a Christian.
We would like to see churches formed some day, that focus on living and practicing the GR. But we'd prefer to see it blossom independently.
Benjamin Franklin and the GR
Many people aren't aware that an organization like this, and techniques like those we teach, was a longtime dream of Benjamin Franklin's. Unfortunately, he never lived to see his dream realized. He also wrote about how such methods as those found in our Workbook could be used.
Thus, our methodology to promote an individual or group therapy method based on living by what are widely known as golden rule virtues, are also from Benjamin Franklin. We believe that he would be pleased with the organization and techniques we've honed.
We're all about teaching a method that helps you become a better person and improve relationships with your family, friends or spouse. We would like to be able to have a place to teach the method in seminars someday, but the methods can easily be learned from step-by-step instructions in our Workbook, or from experienced teachers/counselors.
One of the great things about this is that it can be used by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose - child abuse therapy, substance abuse, becoming more successful, happier, "do it yourself" marriage relationship therapy, etc.
It can also be used by as few as 2 people. And there is no centralized contact, "rules" or dogma involved.
It sounds simple, and can be, but don't let the simplicity fool you. This is actually the most powerful method of self-improvement we've ever seen - and we've seen and tried just about everything.
The techniques use virtues, real love, constructive criticism and goal success oriented positive affirmations to help people become more kind, caring, compassionate, loving and harmless - and when that happens, it just naturally "spreads around". How?
Developing those virtues then strengthens the entire self-improvement process. Every individual who cultivates them within themselves, tends to "spread" it around just by "being themselves" - not trying, not preaching, but just through being an example.
Making others feel better, makes you feel better about yourself. Love and kindness are contagious. It might start by spreading to your family, friends, spouse, etc. - but it also has an effect on everyone, including strangers, and people who are "grumpy", mean-spirited and miserable. One caring person can, just by feeling good themselves, "accidentally" spread it around, influencing another person to get out of their "dump" and start feeling good too.
Just imagine, if enough people keep spreading it around, it can help make the world a better place - sort of like the movie "Pay it Forward". It's the ultimate win-win situation. There's also a song by an artist called Basia that reflects this idea - "Love is contagious, we are part of a chain".
You have seen it yourself, and probably been influenced yourself - both positively and negatively. Like if you or someone else is in a "bad mood" and "pisses off" someone else. Maybe someone "cuts off" someone else in traffic. They respond by yelling or "giving them the bird". Then someone else comes in contact with the person who got cut off in traffic, and they are mean to other people they meet or come into contact with. Then they have a lousy, unhappy, miserable day and piss other people off. And the bad feelings just spread on and on. It can even get to the point of "road rage" or physically hurting people.
Fortunately, that sort of thing works both ways. A little kindness and courtesy can change someone's whole day. And someone who is kind and caring towards you, can change your whole day. If you take this concept to its logical conclusion and ultimate limit - entire lives can be changed.
You can have GR meetings using a "fellowship" type of setting (with other people working on the same goals as you). Or you can do it more casually and easily by phone. The methods can also be used daily, weekly or monthly - whenever. Consistency is important whatever intervals you choose, and reminding yourself of your goals throughout the day. There are even great software and "electronic reminder" tools that can be used to help with that.
Many people choose to start their day off by having morning meetings that help get their day off to a good start. Of course, that's not a new concept - Japanese corporations have long implemented daily pre-work success and inspiration meeting methods, sometimes including calisthenics, to improve employee performance and morale. From what we've heard, a very popular use of the GR group therapy method is having a longer, relaxing get together once a week or so, and very short morning meetings via phone.
We chose the name "golden rule organization" (GRO) because of the universality of the concept - it's agreed upon as being "good", by all good people, whether they're religious and belong to a religion, belong to no religion, are agnostics or atheists. It is also universally agreed on as "good" by many religions.
Thus, instead of dividing people, it can be common ground that can bring all good people together in support of one of the most important spiritual and lifestyle principles ever known - the GR. And as we'll detail later, it creates the foundation of one of the most profound, powerful self-help methods ever known.
That being said, what are some of the various points of view about what the golden rule is?
First, most religions have some version of the GR in their sacred texts, although it's probably most commonly known by Christians and in Western civilization as "Love thy neighbor" or "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".
BUT if you translate that into modern non-biblical language, doesn't it simply mean "treat people like you want to be treated", and "love others".
It can be "boiled down" even further, to an ultra-simple statement - "living by the GR just means being a "good person".
Self-improvement is about becoming a better person. Thus, shouldn't self-improvement eventually lead to becoming the best that we can be - a truly good person?
Behind all our other desires, fears, goals, etc., don't we all want to live in a world of good people? People who love and care about us? Of course we do. And we can have it - we just have to pay the price.
I'm not talking about money, I'm talking about how living in such a world requires that we first change ourselves into the kind of good people who belong there. That's the price! Is it worth it? Those I know who've done it, wouldn't trade it for all the money and power in the world. And how can that be done?
It's so simple. Kindness, caring, and harmlessness are universal, common sense virtues to live by, goals to strive for, the results of, and means to achieve, self-improvement and improving the world we live in.
SOUND LIKE A GOOD IDEA?
Isn't anything that â€œbrings outâ€ the best in us good? Whether it's a religion, a method, philosophy, or whatever? If it works for you, and makes you a better person (rather than self-righteous and arrogant), we think that's great.
Yet many so-called "spiritual" people consider the virtues of the GR too simple and "old hat" to be profound. They overlook the GR in favor of the latest spiritual fad, or whatever the dogma is of the "path" they're into.
When all is said and done, the only truly important "result" of spirituality or any method, comes down to what kind of person you are, and thus, what kind of people you end up being around. As the old saying goes, "what goes around comes around".
It doesn't matter what you preach, what style of yoga you do, if you meditate or not, if you have a guru or minister or whatever - IF it doesn't make you a better person - a more caring and harmless person, it doesn't matter and you've missed the point to what true spirituality is all about. If it DOES help make you a better person, it's good.
DOESN'T ALMOST EVERYONE AGREE WITH THE IDEA OF THE GOLDEN RULE?
Yes, and no. I know people who go to church, who meditate, who pray, etc., who are still just selfish jerks that will step-on or abandon those in need if it serves themselves. But when it comes down to actually being spiritual in the sense of living by the golden rule (kindness, caring, compassionate actions), they are threatened by the self sacrifice required. And often, where you find the absence of compassion and caring for others, the void is filled by hate.
It doesn't matter what you call hate, or if it is severe or mild, or justified. Hate is always destructive, regardless of the "justification".
There are many ways to channel one's energy for constructive purposes. Whether it's replacing anger in relationships with love, or laziness with being a "go getter", or dozens of other things that are merely walls that get in the way of being the type of person we want to be, the GR concept is the root of many methods for REAL Change.
Again, in our opinion (based on observing many people doing many different things), whatever you do that makes you a more caring, compassionate and harmless person, is great. Go for it. We're right there with you.
The GR Workbook
We have MDs, PhDs and experts in behavior change who work with GRO â„¢, and we've discovered that using that philosophy as the root tool for motivation, goal setting success and achieving real change, works better than anything we've seen.
Our best self help techniques and methods are in The Golden Rule Workbook (also available as an e-book). Free sample chapters are available to read online (see link).
It uses a simple "workbook format". Some pages are made to be taped to a wall (or other place where you'll see them daily). They have pre-printed inspirational goal setting success messages and ready to use positive affirmations for almost any topic. Other "workbook pages" you fill out with your own self-improvement goals, desires, or what you don't like or have problems with, etc.
Thus the GR workbook can easily be used as a "do it yourself" self help program by individuals, families or work groups wanting to improve their lives, their relationships, and even the world around them.
While the methods are simple, they are very effective and based on new and time proven principles of changing yourself.
We believe that by helping individuals improve themselves one person at a time, by starting with ourselves then "passing it on" through example, we can at least slowly help our world become a better place. Meanwhile, we still find our own peace of mind and an unshakable self-esteem that depends on nobody else. How can personal goal success be far behind?
The "golden rule" (GR) philosophy, GRO â„¢ books, volunteers and contributors can be from various religions, or none (we only exclude anyone or anything promoting hate). Some religions find our self-help books and programs don't conflict with their beliefs though. And we sell many to teachers (both lay & religious).