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Along with “You are what you eat,” that watchword of the organic food movement, I’d suggest you are what you do. We each enfold, summarize and then radiate our actions right back out into the world. We become our deeds. You reap what you sow. This karmic law, as old as any wisdom, universal across all beliefs and philosophies, tells us that our deeds and our actions make us who we are:
It is part of a good man to do great and noble deeds, though he risk everything. – Plutarch
It was my care to make my life illustrious not by words more than by deeds. – Sophocles
The Lord of this universe becomes pleased with him who is engaged in doing good to the world, since the Lord is its soul and refuge. – the Hindu Mahanirvana Tantra
And here they say that a person consists of desires,
and as is his desire, so is his will;
and as is his will, so is his deed;
and whatever deed he does, that he will reap. – the Upanishads
Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue. – Buddha
A gentleman would be ashamed should his deeds not match his words. – Confucius
Seek ye a store of good deeds, men and women! For a store of good deeds is full of salvation. – the Zend-Avesta
As a man himself sows, so he himself reaps; no man inherits the good or evil act of another man. The fruit is of the same quality as the action. – the Mahabharata, xii.291.22
God plays and laughs in good deeds, whereas all other deeds, which do not make for the glory of God, are like ashes before Him. – Meister Eckhart
One whose wisdom exceeds his deeds may be compared to a tree whereof the branches are many and the roots few, so that when the winds come it is uprooted and turned upon its face. – The Talmud
…he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing. – James 1:24-25
The good deed drives away the evil deeds. – the Qur’an, Sura II, 116
This life and its maturational cycle give us quite a bit of opportunity to practice planting the seeds of good deeds. As our consciousness expands while we grow physically and spiritually, we gradually become aware of the people around us and their needs. Slowly we develop the empathy and the sympathy necessary to prompt us to care for and help those people. When we extend ourselves in a kind and loving way, we learn that kindness and love tend to come back to us, sometimes increased exponentially. The ongoing cycle of human growth and development allows us to widen our circle of love and concern, which in turn increases our exposure and our receptivity to the additional, reciprocal love we receive in return. As that process deepens, we become even more aware of the suffering of larger and larger groups of people, our heart opens, and we expend our energies to do what we can to alleviate that suffering.
Soon, if we follow this pattern of spiritual growth, we begin to understand Baha’u’llah’s exhortation to “Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own self:”
O thou who art serving the world of humanity! Thy letter was received and from its contents we felt exceedingly glad. It was a decisive proof and a brilliant evidence. It is appropriate and befitting that in this illumined age — the age of the progress of the world of humanity — we should be self-sacrificing and should serve the human race…
Every imperfect soul is self-centred and thinketh only of his own good. But as his thoughts expand a little he will begin to think of the welfare and comfort of his family. If his ideas still more widen, his concern will be the felicity of his fellow citizens; and if still they widen, he will be thinking of the glory of his land and of his race. But when ideas and views reach the utmost degree of expansion and attain the stage of perfection, then will he be interested in the exaltation of humankind. He will then be the well-wisher of all men and the seeker of the weal and prosperity of all lands. This is indicative of perfection…
Therefore, ye must also be thinking of everyone, so that mankind may be educated, character moderated and this world may turn into a Garden of Eden.
Love ye all religions and all races with a love that is true and sincere and show that love through deeds and not through the tongue; for the latter hath no importance, as the majority of men are, in speech, well-wishers, while action is the best. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, pp. 68-69.