How do you resolve the paradox of expecting nothing and expecting the best? It came to me when my husband brought some tomatoes in from the garden. He planted the seeds with the expectation that if he fertilized and watered them, he would be able to pick tomatoes from them in a few months. He did not order up a dozen tomatoes on July 13, he simply did his part and let Nature take care of the rest, trusting that his actions would result in tomatoes.
When we put an addition on to our house, I was hoping for the best, so we did not purchase extra wide doors. I did not realize that I was engaging in wishful thinking. Now I expect the best in a more spiritual sense – having the faith that we will have the courage and strength to handle any situation that comes our way. So if we do any work on the house, we plan as if I may continue to deteriorate, even though I eat a healthy diet and meditate and seem to be maintaining my strength physically.
Applying this to relationships, you get the ethic of reciprocity, or the Golden Rule, which is universal. If you do good to others, good will come back to you. You don’t choose specifically how the good comes back to you, or where it comes from, you just have faith that it will.
The Golden Rule in other Religions and Philosophies:
Aristotle: “We should behave to our friends as we wish our friends to behave to us.”
Baha’i: “And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbor that which thou choosest for thyself.” – Lawh’i ‘lbn’i Dhib, “Epistle to the Son of the Wolf” 3
Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways you yourself would find hurtful.” – Udana-Varga, 5:18
Christianity: “ And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” – Luke 6:31
Confucianism: “Do not unto others what you do not want them to do to you.” – Analects 15:13
Hinduism: “This is the sum of duty: do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.” – The Mahabharata, 5:1517
Islam: “Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” – Fortieth Hadith of an-Nawawi,13
Jainism: “A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.” – Surtrakritanga, 1:11:33
Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole of the Torah; all the rest of it is commentary.” – Talmud, Shabbat, 31a
Native American: “Respect for all life is the foundation.” – The Great Law of Peace
Mohism: (considered a rival to Confucianism) If people regarded other people’s families in the same way that they regard their own, who then would incite their own family to attack that of another? For one would do for others as one would do for oneself. – Mozi
Platonism: “May I do to others as I would that they should do to me.”
Scientology: “Thus today we have two golden rules for happiness: 1. Be able to experience anything; and 2. Cause only those things which others are able to experience easily.” – Scientology: A New Slant on Life, Two Rules for Happy Living
Sikhism: “Treat others as thou wouldst be treated thyself.” – Adi Granth
Taoism: “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.”
– T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien
Wicca: “That that which ye deem harmful unto thyself, the very same shall ye be forbidden from doing unto another, for violence and hatred give rise to the same. My command is thus, that ye shall return all violence and hatred with peacefulness and love, for my Law is love unto all things.” – The Book of Ways, Devotional Wicca
Zoroastrianism: (aka Mazdaism) “That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself.” – Dadistan-I-Dinik, 94:5