It is amazing how quickly we can lose our edge. I hadn't been gone that long, and I had already lost some energy in walking. So it was back up the hill to try to get back in shape.
As Liz and I recuperate from our sunburns, I have continued to ponder the universal nature of truth. It continues to amaze me how different cultures, different races, living in different eras of time, can agree on universal principles of good and evil. Christians and Islam talk about the consequences of sin--reaping what you sow; while Buddhists and Hindus talk about Karma--what goes around, comes around. No matter where one lives, or when, we all must feel the consequences of our actions. All people have a conscience.
To Mormons, this conscience is the Light of Christ, to Buddhists it is the truth that binds and unites all things, to scientists like Einstein, it is energy. Whatever one might decide to call it, there is something that exists that runs through all things, binds all things together, and gives all intelligent beings a similar innate knowledge of right and wrong--a conscience.
Buddha felt he had discovered the source of this knowledge--this eternal truth--and came to understand that if one lived correctly (the eightfold path), one could obtain and become a part of that eternal truth. One could obtain Nirvana.
Moses, fasting and praying on the heights of Sinai, discovered the very same truths. Both instructed their followers in exactly the same way: teaching them not to steal, not to lie, not to commit murder, to be faithful to one's wife, and always to do good to others. By following that path, one would automatically receive blessings--a return of good for good. The eternal principle of Karma would work for anyone, living anywhere or in any era.
Since these principles had become so obvious to these great men, and have been taught continuously for thousands of years, it seems odd that each generation must continue to debate and re-learn these eternal truths.
Oh well, I guess we all have to touch the fire to learn that it burns. No matter how often people are told of these principles, it seems our lot in life to learn best by experience. Nothing teaches better than losing. Nothing is remembered more deeply than pain and suffering. They become lessons etched into our souls, so we remember. Perhaps that is why God planted the tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden...to ensure that men would fall, and by falling, would be able to learn for themselves the difference between good and evil. He understood, as we now do, that we would never understand the lessons He was trying to teach us without experiencing the consequences of our own actions. So the tree of Knowledge was planted--the laws of Karma were put into effect--so that we could learn for ourselves good from evil. Then it would be up to us to choose! Would we choose the good, and the blessings that come from those actions? Or would we choose the evil, and the devastating consequences that come from that path?
As Joshua once said: As for me and my house, we will choose the Lord!