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The following is a KSCO commentary. Here is Kay Zwerling:

This bewilders me that I have lived so long, but never heard of the Paradoxical Commandments until recently when my friend Marcia told me about them.

Here’s the story – evidently the Paradoxical Commandments were written by an 18-year-old named Kent Keith, a freshman at Harvard in 1968. He is probably 60 years old now. The Commandments were later found posted on Mother Teresa’s wall in India.

One wonders how an 18-year-old could have the wisdom and depth of understanding of human nature to be so right-on and so humanly generous as Kent Keith had to be to come up with those mature thoughts. It is like finding meaning in a crazy world, and how many of us humans achieve such wisdom? I wonder, also, how can an 18-year-old have become so disenchanted so early in his life? That is a paradox, too. And, maybe there was a little bit of paranoia in him, also.

Here are the Paradoxical Commandments:

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered – Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives – Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies – Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow – Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable – Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds – Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs – Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight – Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them – Help people anyway.
And finally –
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth – Give the world the best you have anyway.

So much for the Paradoxical Commandments.

There is another little gem that I think fits in here because of the strength of its honest unsolicited loving kindness.

At the heart of medicine, we find soul medicine.

I once met a Jewish patient who happened to be a medical doctor. He told me how he practiced medicine.

He said "Whenever a patient would come to me, before I would do any examination, I would place my hand on the patient’s shoulder and say ‘I offer you Racamonos’."


Racamonos is a Yiddish word which means loving kindness or compassion. It occurred to me that loving kindness is the primary medicine, the first medicine that we can offer. It is soul medicine. To offer loving kindness to our patients and clients verbally and nonverbally supports the atmosphere for every other service we do. Loving kindness creates hospitality and welcome. It creates comfort and safety. Loving kindness offers a relationship in humility; it encourages receptivity and openness for the wellbeing of those who serve. Loving kindness softens and opens the heart of the one who offers it. I thanked the Jewish doctor for the gift of his words to me. May the soul medicine of Racamonos be a healing bomb in your heart.

And, this was quoted from Dominican Hospital Scanner in July 2004

For KSCO, this is Kay Zwerling.

© copyright 2010

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