Beliefnet
Your Charmed Life

With all the patriotic feeling extant in America on this Inauguration Day, it seems appropriate that this Tuesday’s Top 10 Tips should be for being a good citizen, in whatever country you live.

  1. Live up to the highest and best within you. One of the guiding lines for my life comes from the late Peace Pilgrim who said, “Live up to the highest light you have, and more light will be given you.”
  2. When you can, lend a hand. Somebody needs help with a bag, or directions, or a dollar. When the gentle nudge inside yourself indicates that this is a place you can help, don’t second-guess it. Little things add up.
  3. Find ways to feel part of the whole. We’re a country of rugged individualists but when we work together we draw on some extra power.
  4. Give your gifts and share your talent. You came to this earth with a mission. When you follow through on it, we all benefit.
  5. Keep a fairly open mind and a very open heart. Listen to people who have different opinions and see things from different vantage points. Allow for differences and trust that they can blend for the good of all, the way different spices blend for the good of a dish.
  6. Take a look at history. What happened in the past can teach us how to behave — and how not to — in the present and future. You can look at history as a spiritual record book, a log of what the late author and minister Ernest Wilson called the “upward progression of the universe.”
  7. Make your own life the best it can be. A nation, or a collection of nations, is really just the total of the lives of the people who comprise it. Make yours sparkle.
  8. Expend some effort. Do something on a regular basis for the common good. Volunteer, or teach what you know, or give somebody something they wouldn’t get if it didn’t come from you.
  9. Stand up and speak up. When things aren’t right, write a letter or an op-ed, join a march or make a donation. Awful things can only happen when nobody stops them.
  10. Be a citizen of world. It does not diminish your patriotism one iota to realize that you are in kinship with everyone on this planet. If reincarnation is true, you’ve lived everywhere yourself! And as a spiritual being, you’re already a citizen of the universe, so carrying an invisible passport from “Planet Earth” shouldn’t be too hard.

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