Tuesday, October 1, 2013
North Towards Heaven
It's probably disingenuous to say that, because I am writing this post three full days before my birthday, but keeping these essays organized for the readership and making sure that regular publication takes place takes a good deal of foresight, that is, intention... which is what I said I was going to write about in the next essay.
As one ages, one begins to examine one's intentions more closely — at least, we would hope one does that!— and one questions exactly where the point of one's life emanates from. What are its roots? What is its origin? What is the aim? These may, on the surface, seem like exactly the same questions one started out with in one's inner quest when one was young, but they undergo a complete change in morphology as one ages. If one truly begins to question everything, one questions one's own point of view as well as everyone's else's. What I've noticed about most people is that they tend to question everyone else's views, but not their own. I certainly have enough of that in me myself; yet, at least, if I see I'm truly wrong about something, I admit it and change my mind and activity. This is a feature I find distinctly lacking in most of my fellow humans.
If one sees one is truly wrong about anything — and this only comes about by an exact and immediate willingness to question whether one knows, at all, what one is doing — one must step up to it 100%, and immediately, and take ownership of that fact. Recovering alcoholics, as I have pointed out many times, are intentionally trained to do this.
The rest of society, generally speaking, isn't, and it is a sad example of the weakness in human beings that no one admits it.
We have to have an intention, in other words, towards the right, and our faculties of intelligence, discrimination, and feeling all need to be turned towards the understanding of what is right. Many things that are acceptable, legal, and even labeled as right in our society are, in fact, profoundly wrong, and there are some actions which are generally considered wrong that may in fact be exactly right under the correct circumstances. That's because the measurement of the right and the wrong is accomplished by whether an action ultimately points towards God or away from God; we are like iron filings that are supposed to align ourselves and point north towards heaven or south towards hell.
Heaven is defined by actions that are intended to ultimately benefit others, and the good; hell, by actions that are intended to benefit solely oneself. A man who claims to be spiritual but is without generosity is a liar; there can be no such thing. A generous atheist is closer to heaven than an avaricious Catholic. We live in a world which is currently obsessed with greed and avarice; dominant forces are not for the good, but for the bad.
No one man is expected to heroically sacrifice himself by throwing himself on a hand grenade of abject poverty in order to save everyone else. But God has arranged it so that within the context of ordinary life, it is possible for a man or woman to continually make choices that in one way or another point the iron filings of the inner Being in the right direction. We are not expected to be superhuman; even the Angels have limitations, and some inhabit lower portions of heaven, where (and because) they are less able to do everything that is necessary to honor God and His creation. It is the striving that matters; not the result. A terribly bad man who goes against something in himself strongly and achieves a better result has made more progress than a good man who does little.
The measurement of the right is in the wrong.
Our intentions matter. As I grow older, I try to see what I intend. Is what I am doing for me? Who am I serving? Am I trying to help others, to educate myself, to offer everything I can of who I am and what I know to others to help improve the conditions of their life, their experience, their inner growth?
If we have to question, to have a question, or if we want to question everything, perhaps all questioning ought to align itself with this idea of intention. My teacher Betty Brown used to say (and I love this saying) "What is the truth of this moment?"
It occurs to me today that one could also configure it, "What is the intention of this moment?"
May your soul be filled with light.
Note to readers: there's a new post at the microbial octave.