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Most people are not able to foresee the future. If they could, a lot of heartbreak and pain would be avoided. In light of this, what we CAN do is to make the choices and decisions that will afford us the best chances for success. This is the attitude that is the most beneficial for our lives as we move forward into the unknown waters of the upcoming year– 2022.

In living our best lives, it would be handy to utilize spiritual tools that can help us make the best choices in order to forge better futures. One of these is the Golden Rule, which states “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you!” This is basically good advice that has been shared in the Bible as well as in other religious/spiritual traditions. If we keep this idea in focus, we might be able to avoid a lot of blunders, especially those that involve human relations.

In addition to the Golden Rule, there are the Ten Commandments. Following them would help simplify our lives. This blueprint of life presents the following ideas, spoken from the standpoint of God as he gave them to Moses on Mt. Sinai: 1-You shall have no other gods before Me; 2-You shall make no idols; 3-You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; 4-Keep the Sabbath day holy; 5-Honor your father and your mother; 6-You shall not murder; 7-You shall not commit adultery; 8-You shall not steal; 9-You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor; 10-You shall not covet. Of course, non- Christians might take issue with some of the commandments, but most of them make great sense, no matter what religion is practiced.

There are also the Seven Deadly Sins, known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, which is a grouping and classification of vices within Christian teachings, although they are not mentioned in the Bible. Behaviors or habits are classified under this category if they directly give rise to other immoralities. According to the standard list, they are pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth, which are contrary to the seven heavenly virtues. (Wikipedia).

The Seven Heavenly Virtues are: humility, liberality, chastity, meekness, temperance, brotherly love, and diligence. Though these are also specifically related to Christian philosophy, they have value to anyone having a human experience.

Finally, and the newest set of values that could improve the quality of lives if embraced, are the Nguzo Saba, i.e., the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa refers to “First Fruits” and is a concept introduced in 1966 to the African American community by Maulana Rob Karenga. These principles, usually celebrated the seven days following the day after Christmas, are valid and should be practiced all year long. They would pay big dividends if adopted and seriously applied in the African American community. They are: Umoja – Unity, find a way to come to a common vision and actualize it through cooperation; Kujichagulia – Self-Determination, rely on intra-community strength to help forge a common path; Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility, work together to reach common goals; Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics, buy Black; Nia – Purpose, determine what should be accomplished and with others move toward that goal; Kuumba – Creativity, use cultural artifacts to share information and create community; and Imani – Faith, believe that all of the previously mentioned principles can be accomplished.

Ultimately, all of the principles can be realized if the first one, Umoja/Unity, is seriously embraced by individuals and groups; EVERYTHING! For example, the world in general and the Black community, in particular, are suffering from the impact of COVID-19 and its variations. This scourge, as bad as it is, represents one of the best opportunities of something that can be positively impacted by Unity. The simple act of wearing a mask when among others can help save lives. Moreover, for those who are not put off by the idea of vaccinations, getting them would be a demonstration of concern for others. The more people who are vaccinated, the more people can move toward herd immunity. Actually, when you think about it, the issue of cooperating with each other is probably one of the best ways to demonstrate the practical efficacy of Unity. We can all benefit from each other. With this said, have a Happy and Successful New Year, partially crafted by your own actions. A Luta Continua.

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