The National Spiritualist Association of Churches (NSAC) Declaration of Principles functions as an outline for a personal ethics code based on the understanding that our “… existence and personal identity continue after the change called death” (Principle 4). When it comes to ethics in daily living, the personal responsibility described in Principle 7 sets the tone for the highest standard of right living. It reads: “We affirm the moral responsibility of individuals and that we make our own happiness or unhappiness as we obey or disobey Nature’s physical and spiritual laws.” (See nsac.org under the Spiritualism Tab for more on this)
The simplest understanding to come from Principle 7 is first that we are responsible for our actions. And second, we benefit from understanding and living in accordance with the principles governing the operation of Nature. But how do we do the work to understand those ordering principles?
Mindfulness or mindful living is a technique in which a person learns to be present in everyday life. The idea is to become aware of our actions by habitually questioning what we do and why. Mindfulness a powerful way of coming to understand Natural Law and teaching our unconscious mind to replace belief in our worldview with beneficial understanding. It is our worldview that informs our mostly automatic responses in daily living.1
Roadmap to Spiritual Maturity
The idea of morality has a lot of baggage that comes from the social engineering of priests and teachers. As it turns out, it is the claim of being ethical that dominates pledges to the public posted by organization and individuals on the Internet. Ethics are all about how one person treats another. Done right, a personal code of ethics looks a lot like a roadmap for progression/spiritual maturity. (The concept of progression is discussed in the book, Your Immortal Self.2)
If you look around the Internet for codes of ethics, you will see that most are really a hybrid of business practices and service promises. Most have little to do with ethics, and in terms of a personal code, they are much too general.
Useful guidance in ethical conduct came from Jane Roberts’ Seth in regard to how a person should interact with others. The advice is simply that “Thou shalt not violate….” 3 Seth went on to explain what he intended by violate:
An outright lie may or may not be a violation. A sex act may or may not be a violation. A scientific expedition may or may not be a violation. Not going to church on Sunday is not a violation. Having normal aggressive thoughts is not a violation. Doing violence to your body, or another’s, is a violation. Doing violence to the spirit of another is a violation, but again, because you are conscious beings the interpretations are yours. Swearing is not a violation. If you believe that it is then in your mind it becomes one.
Killing another human being is a violation. Killing while protecting your own body from death at the hands of another through immediate contact is a violation. Whether or not any justification seems apparent, the violation exists.
Seth explained that there are ways to deal with situations that do not involve killing. He also suggested that “You would not be in such a hypothetical situation to begin with unless violent thoughts of your own, faced or unfaced, had attracted it to you.”
As for the Golden Rule, in Jane Roberts’ The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, session 852, Seth says, “When you are discussing the nature of good and bad, you are on tricky ground indeed, for many—or most—of man’s atrocities to man have been committed in misguided pursuit of ‘the good’.”
Ethical Treatment of Human Research Subject
The Belmont Report published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 4 gives us another measure of ethics. It appears to be the golden standard for research ethics involving a human subject. The major points from the Belmont Report are that researchers must respect the person, do no harm (beneficence) and provide due benefits (justice). These three points provide guidance in how to define basic ethical principles.
A Useful Code of Ethics
Here is a suggestion for a universal code of ethics. It should be useful for anyone and any level of society. The idea is to stay with a foundation ethical concept for Tier 1 that sets the tone for the code. Seth’s Do not violate is an excellent foundation concept. Tier 2 is concerned with reasonably basic principles which complement or further define Do not violate. These should be intuitively obvious in the context of progression. Tier 3, Expression, includes phrases intended to provide guidance for how to live by the principles. Catchy phrases are useful here, as they make it easier to remember the principles.
You will likely want to add Principles and Expressions as you become used to working with the code. Be careful not to overcomplicate it, though. It is important that you can remember the elements so as to apply them as warranted.
Personal Code of Ethics
|Ethical Understanding||Ethical Principles||Ethical Expressions|
|Do not violate||
Ethical Conduct is a Lifelong Learning Experience
Learning to live by a personal ethical code often means realigning our unconscious mind away from our human avatar’s survival instincts and cultural dogma we have been conditioned with over the years. Such a change in consciousness takes time and attention that comes through experience.
The process of managing expectations of those you share time with, in friendship or service, provides opportunities to exercise mindfulness. Unspoken questions and concerns can quickly cast a shadow over a relationship. An Expression for the Principle of Kindness might be “Citizenship means cooperation” or “How will my actions affect me and others?” In practice, these translate into making sure people know what to expect from you.
Above all, think of a personal code of ethics as a lifelong way of learning. It is unlikely any of us are able to always live up to the ideas represented by a code of ethics. The most important thing is to set our intention to apply the code to our every action.
- Butler, Tom. “Mindfulness.” Etheric Studies. 2014. ethericstudies.org/mindfulness/.
- Butler, Tom. Your Immortal Self, Exploring the Mindful Way. AA-EVP Publishing. 2016. ISBN 978-0-9727493-8-1. ethericstudies.org/books-tom-butler/.
- Roberts, Jane. The Nature of Personal Reality. Amber-Allen Publishing and New World Library. San Rafael, Novato. 1974. ISBN 1-878424-06-8
- “The Belmont Report.” The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. 1979. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/belmont.html.