a code for living

By August 18, 2014 12 Comments

Last week, I read these words from Marianne Williamson

One theory of death is that, upon our passing, we experience our lives again backwards. Whatever I gave or did not give to others, I will experience what they experienced — times ten. That would mean that for every laugh — either a small chuckle or outright guffaw — every smile that Robin Williams caused to occur in others, he is now experiencing tenfold. That would amount to bliss unending. May it be so.

I was so struck by the beauty of this idea. Whether it’s true or not, it’s a potent code for living. What if you lived knowing every experience you gave to another person would be experienced by you – times ten – at the end of your life?

I have been asking myself that as regularly as I can remember to this week and it changes every interaction I bring it into.

The first day after I read these words, an acquaintance was coming home from a friend’s funeral out of town, and mentioned her trip to me. Because of Marianne’s words, I was thinking not my usual thoughts (“What is the right thing to say to her? How can a person ever say something good enough in these moments? How much should I ask about it or not ask about it?)

Instead of all that mental chatter, I was highly attuned to the fact during our conversation, she was going to experience something – a feeling. Was I giving her an experience that I would want returned to me, times ten?

I quietly turned inward and tried to sense what would provide a feeling a comfort and love in that moment. The answer I sensed clearly within myself was to listen, with great attention. And so I mostly listened, but in a more inviting, spacious, focused way than I otherwise would have.

Instead of the five minute conversation we could have had, she talked about her experience a lot. She unfolded it before a present witness. I could tell that because I’d paused to try to to intuit my way to the most loving response – though we can never know for sure what that will be for another human being – I’d done something more helpful than if I’d spoken from my shoulds, or from my patterns of how to respond.

The news these past weeks has been so horrible. This morning I couldn’t stop thinking how we’ve been given the instructions. Do unto others as you would have them do to you.

May we begin to practice that simple task. A life’s worth of emotional growth, of spiritual development comes down to this. Do unto others as you would have them do to you. Do not give anyone an experience that you are not eager to receive, tenfold, at the end of your journey.



Click to tweet: Do not give anyone an experience that you are not eager to receive tenfold.

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Lisa says:

    Beautifully said as always…

    much love

  • Anaïs says:

    Wow. Thank you Tara for sharing this very inspiring guidance. It’s exactly what I need right now 🙂

    bless you

  • Selena says:

    What a BEAUTIFUL thought, Tara. From my point of view, sometimes “doing nothing” when we witness injustice to others, is the sickness which quietly and silently destroys our souls. Almost like second-hand cigarette smoke. We may not light the cigarette, but slowly die from the effects anyway.

    Why not find the courage to take a pro-active “good karma” position and pressure local, state and federal entities to change their policies that affect African-American citizens. After all our FREE labor for over 300 years built the foundation of wealth and opportunity enjoyed by Americans of all ethnic groups. Fortunately, as an African-American business woman, who must endure “spit-in-my-face” racism from cradle to grave, I choose to maintain my dignity, humanity and fairness in all relationships. I thank the Creator and my ancestors for not giving me a spirit of hatred and contempt for other races. Thank you Creator, for giving me the strength of character and spiritual awareness, to get up everyday and treat every person, either black, white, brown or yellow as an individual who deserves respect, dignity and love. And not to inflict on them any hatred from the past and present history of the horrors inflicted on me.

  • Donna says:

    Hello Tara,

    Very beautiful. It speaks to the soul and self of who I, you, we are.

    I have been reading an older book by Schiese-Leonard. She is writing about the struggle to overcome addictions and the struggle to follow a creative–life-giving–path in the world. In one passage she strikes to the heart: That we can never, if we are truly awake and aware, overcome a sense of guilt that we will not ultimately return to the universe gifts, work and love equal to the great gift of life in the world, with all its potential, that we have received. When Lacan says, we only are adult when we accept our castration, this jargon really means the same thing.
    If we can’t face up to and own this guilt, this responsibility, we live in fear, denial and blame, holding back, never letting go.
    Will I do it when I am grownup?
    Will I do it when I am well?
    Will I do it when I can afford to?
    Do it now…but I’m not…good enough, ready…
    To believe we may experience tenfold what we have given speaks to this angst, I think, gives us courage.
    “Now we see as through a glass, darkly; but then, face to face. Now I know; but then I shall know even as I am known.”
    Bless you and Marianne and all who illuminate the way.

    Love, donna

  • Meital says:

    Beautiful and touching as always

  • Lisa Froman says:

    Thank you for this message….it feels like a blessing. I will remember it.

  • bhudeb says:

    Thanks a million for reminding what I have forgotten for ages. Cheers and being mindfulness

  • Maria says:

    “Example is leadership” – you are showing exemplary leadership by choosing your own responses and behaviours, even when you experience such poor behaviour on the part of others. The world is a better place because of you; may you continue to find the power to keep your light shining.

  • Maria says:

    Simple concept but so strong. Thanks for sharing this and your other thoughts and insights. Somehow whatever your message is, it transmits its authenticity of personal honesty, and my spirit seems to reverberate in response with an “aha – so that’s what I’ve been thinking/feeling”! Thank you so very much :-).

  • Maya says:

    Tara, I love it so much about you – your ability to take an abstract concept and immediately turn it into a down-to-earth, practical exersize, that can be practiced right now, benefit you and the world right now.

  • […] A Code for Living: This thoughtful quote from Tara Mohr is a true gem: “Do not give anyone an experience that you are not eager to receive, tenfold, at the end of your journey.” […]

  • Maggie says:

    Hello to Tara and all: With this subject sometimes words spoken in tender moments are more responsive gentle than when written at least by me due to lots of practice out there in the big world…I’m still earning my writing wings..but it sure feels good to know that I was there in full comfort or joy providing that love one a one to one moment or group hug when most needed in tender times…true story

We are on a mission to help you realize your playing big dream.
Dive into our resources here: