Current Issue

The Golden Rule: Parabola Volume 46, No. 4, Winter 2021-22

One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.”

This Yoruba proverb is one of hundreds of iterations of the Golden Rule around the globe and through human history. Given the prevalence of the Rule, often expressed in Western culture as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” we can consider it the universal human ethic, distilled from the well of humanity’s conscience. 

Yet the Golden Rule is more than an ethic; it also offers a Golden Path. As we engage with it and its wish, it can offer a way to self-knowledge and to the awakening of mind, heart, body—as explored in Stephen Aronson’s “The Golden Rule and the Transformation of Being,” the opening essay in this Winter 2021-2022 issue of Parabola. Myriad aspects and lore of the Golden Rule are considered throughout these pages, from Confucian wisdom on doing the right thing to the captivating story of how painting the Rule changed everything for renowned artist Norman Rockwell; from an exchange of letters on friendship between a journalist and a Trappist monk to a stirring story of compassion and respect between bear and human.

There are cautionary tales here too, one a memorable Hanukkah lesson and the other a deep look at what can happen when the Golden Rule is ignored in spiritual work. These pages also feature an enjoyable and ready-to-assemble magic device to teach the Golden Rule, and a conversation with its creator, magician Steffan Soule.

In addition, Parabola is proud to again present the annual winners of the Poetry of the Sacred Contest (2021), chosen by the Center for Interfaith Relations.

Our gratitude to Bonnie Phillips and the Golden Rule Project for their help and support on this issue, which we hope will serve all readers well.

—Jeff Zaleski

table of contents

The Golden Rule and the Transformation of Being  Stephen Aronson 
How the Golden Rule can be the Golden Path

Norman Rockwell and the Call of Conscience Kim Wagner-Hemmes
Painting the Golden Rule changed everything

A Profound Connection  Jennifer Skiff and Jill Robinson
A bear, a human, and the arising of purpose

Pure Gold  Margaret Wolff
A conversation with Br. Satyananda of Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship

The Golden Rule and the Law  Trevor Gruwell,
Tamara Lemmon, Elizabeth Kronk Warner

The ongoing struggle to get it right

The Golden Coins of King Kanishka  Nartana Premachandra
He ruled through cruelty; then came the Dharma

Friendship  Judith Valente and Br. Paul Quenon
A journalist and a monk exchange revelatory letters

The Consummate Commandment  Ezra ben-Pesach
Jewish wisdom on loving one’s neighbor as oneself

What the World Needs Now  Jennifer Rose 
A conversation with magician and educator Steffan Soule

The Golden Rule Tetraflexagon  Steffan Soule
A ready-to-assemble magic device

Golden Words  The Golden Rule Project
The Golden Rule as expressed around the world

A Universal Ethic  Paul McKenna
A powerful poster spreads the word

The Runaway Guru  Amir Freimann
A conversation with teacher and former Adi Da student
Saniel Bonder

All That Glitters Is Not Gold  Taylor Sucec-Phillips
The tarnished state of fast fashion

The Clay Set  Enid Kassner    
A Hannukah gift brings an unforgettable lesson

To Overflow with Love for All  Miles Menander Dawson 
Confucius on the best way forward

Loving-kindness  Translated by Laurence Khantipalo Mills
The Buddha’s teaching on benevolence

Charter for Compassion  Council of Conscience
A global call to live the Golden Rule

The Language of a Good Heart  Florence Hartley
Manners matter


The Lion and the Mouse  Aesop / Ancient Greek

poetry of the sacred

Beast of Burden  Sofia Skavdahl

Grace  Tom Hunley

Human Beans  John Berry

Season on the Equator  Skip Maselli


Tracking Leopold and Thoreau  Keith Badger 
Extending the Golden Rule to all and everything

book review

Gurdjieff Reconsidered: The Life, the Teachings, the Legacy  Roger Lipsey / reviewed by Jim Metzner