Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 16

Here I am, the halfway point. I've followed the rules as closely as possible and have done everything I am supposed to do. I read scripture every day, avoid killing any form of insects or animals, walk carefully, strut naked whenever legal, abstain from flesh, detach myself from my body (hair), speak correctly, meditate daily, only eat when offered, spend no money, reflect on my soul and try to pass as little judgement as possible. I'm doing as much as I can to transform myself into a lay Jain and I've gotta admit that it is hard. The respect that I have streaming from my heart for these followers can't be seen through text, but the brilliance of their sacrifices and dedication can be seen by anyone who dares to open their eyes (like Kucinich did).

While doing research for Jainism, I have stumbled across the same introduction to the religion over and over again: non-violence is the highest religion. 

man who is averse from harming even the wind knows the sorrow of all things living. . . . He who knows what is bad for himself knows what is bad for others, and he who knows what is bad for others knows what is bad for himself. This reciprocity should always be borne in mind. Those whose minds are at peace and who are free from passions do not desire to live [at the expense of others]. . . . He who understands the nature of sin against wind is called a true sage who understands karma.

In short be who understands the nature of sin in respect of all the six types of living beings is called a true sage who understands karma.

This is essentially a more complex golden rule and while I'm not yet at the point where I am willing to claim that 'The Golden Rule' is the common thread behind every religion (Jainism has taught me the true complexity of spiritualism), I am honest enough to say that some people would do just as well to adhere to that timeless creed than to any religion. 

Non-violence is important to everyone, but there's more behind it as expressed through this quote from :
Live and let live.  Love all ‑ Serve all.
We all know the first part of this concept and since it has become an fairly common idiom to English speakers, we even use it in everyday speech. The second half is actually the more important part on which the entire message hinges. 

There's a certain southerner in my family who used to lecture me about accepting people who were different from me. 
"Different strokes for different folks," he would say.
He usually used it while we were arguing about politics and threw it in there only to end the conversation without having to prove anything. People unfortunately misuse God in this way as well. 

The problem with saying it was a "miracle" is that the conversation stops there. Nothing more (or less) can be added. It's a deflection. The same goes for people using idioms like "different strokes for different folks" and "live and let live." They use them usually as deflections or cheap show-stoppers, but have essentially divorced themselves from what it means to live and let live. They have omitted love.

One could easily alter the expression and make it "love and let live", but Olivia Newton-John ruined that one with an awful song that has nothing to do with what I'm saying. For people to truly live and let live they must love unconditionally. They must love other humans as they love animals and insects. They must love the earth as they love their own soul. We should love not because we're told to or because our soul will transmigrate in a certain direction. We should love because every single one of us want the same thing in life: peace.
All beings hate pain, therefore one should not hurt or kill them.
After meditating this evening, I think I got a clearer picture of what the Jain approach to "live and let live" actually is. I think we need to switch the whole thing around.

Serve all
Love all
Live and let live

We should all strive for love, but not the love that we can feel personally. Rather, we should first strive for others' love and not for own. Once everyone else knows love then we can enjoy the emotion with them in its pure form.  This scenario is the only way for us to truly live and let live. It's not an deflection or a cheap way to make yourself appear open-minded. It's the only way to achieve peace.

The question is, how easy is it to put into action?