Saturday, February 23, 2013
A Greater Good
Our inner effort is aimed at having an intention, and having an attention.
But why do I wish to have an attention? And why do I wish to have an intention?
These are not actions unto themselves.
There is a greater Good — a reason that I have this wish. And that wish itself is for the greater Good. That greater Good is greater than myself, the small world I inhabit which is formed by my ego. It is actually a greater Good that flows inward into me from above, a spark from the Divine impulse that forms the universe. That spark, that higher energy from above the top of the head — which in fact can come from anywhere, not just there — is what is received to express the attention and the intention of a higher level.
Attention is the exercise of Wisdom. That is, attention is wisdom made manifest, a higher intelligence that can be born within our life and within ourselves, such that we are no longer intelligent unto ourselves, but intelligent in so far as we are intelligent unto God.
Intention is the exercise of Love. Ultimately, everything must intend towards this greater Good of Love or it is useless. That which intends in any other direction is a downward spiral that leads to the destruction of the good; and never doubt that such forces exist. You can see them all around you. But it is up to each of us, as individuals, to go against that actively, by opening ourselves to the higher influences that can guide us in the direction of Love. This is forever unselfish; and to the extent that I receive this higher influence of Love, so I am less under the influence of ego.
So the whole point of these "exercises" towards having an attention and having an intention are nothing other than an effort to open to receive a higher influence, which seeks to align itself with this greater Good.
In fact, there are no exercises. Forever, there is only a single action, and it is always an action of turning — either I turn towards the Lord, or I turn away from the Lord. This action is forever expressed in life and in the material circumstances that create the universe. Perhaps this is enormously difficult to understand, because I am not so open and very little of me is available to receive this kind of teaching. But in fact the teaching is always an inner one, not an outer one, and can never quite be received through books, films, church services, or other people. To be sure, it can be stimulated by them; but ultimately, the only teaching is the inner teaching, and the only inner teaching is received to the extent that I am open. And that openness is an openness of submission and an openness of the heart.
In attachment to the immediate, to the flesh, and to the circumstances around me, I perpetually forget about this effort to open to the greater Good and instead I easily become identified with ideas, organizations, exercises, literature, unpleasant things that happen to me, and so on. I do not suspect or sense the incredible abundance that is available if I am open. Yet if I begin to understand what this question of turning towards the Lord means, that could be entirely corrected.
As Ibn Arabi points out, there are many secrets to be understood in this action, because ultimately, I cannot even turn. Only the Lord can turn me towards Him; there is not another. Every impression that casts this in a different light is a mistaken one. In the end, I only exist, I only have Being, to the extent that I have Being in the Lord. And this greater Good is actually the only thing to be worked for; any other understanding becomes attached to mistaken directions.
Above all, this effort is an effort to become human. An effort to become human, and to inhabit a human condition in which exchange takes place.
I'll speak about that in a later post.
May your soul be filled with light.