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Values of the Ancient Egyptians

3 May 2009 No Comment

Most often, we go about our lives content in our belief systems, developed as a result of the circumstances of our birth.  Our values- the things we hold dear and precious- begin from that heritage, too.   We are comfortable with what we know and what we believe.  Once in a while, we learn of a belief by others that conflicts with what we believe, and it stuns us into contemplation.  It is a beauty of our newly interconnected world that we can so learn from each other.  Still free to determine our own values and beliefs, but able to weigh our beliefs, carefully, with heart, mind and soul against alternatives.  Thus, we grow,  even if only stronger in our own convictions.

I have always measured my life from the perspective of my deathbed.  If I were in my final hours, looking up at the ceiling, ready to go to God, would I be proud of how I lived?  And so I have tried to live to the best of my ability in those values I believe God wills:   integrity, compassion, empathy, love, honesty, loyalty, faith, hope, courage, valor, candor, charity.

It has come to my attention that the ancient Egyptians had a value I have not previously included in my own value set. 

The ancient Egyptians believed that upon death, only two questions would be asked by God:

Did you bring Joy to others?

Did you find Joy?

Joy as a value- something precious to seek and give. The thought is like a bitter olive as I roll it in my mouth, weighing the concept and comparing it to a value set  grounded in belief that the charitable self denial of Mother Theresa is the best way to heaven.  But even as the olive stings the buds bitter, it smooths delicately into a savory taste.   Yes, joy is right and good.  Joy is inextricable from love.

I am joyful for a world where it is possible to learn from others, past, present, near and far.  Our world is like a symphony where each of the countries is an instrument, contributing its own unique, right, necessary and perfect voice to a masterful work that is greater than the sum of the instruments.

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