Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The unknown goodness

I suppose that if I am going to examine this question of goodness, I ought to know what goodness is; and this is perhaps difficult, because I think about goodness, whereas, I more properly ought to try and sense it. 

That is quite definitely possible; and yet I constantly forget it.

Gurdjieff and Swedenborg both saw that a person measures their own goodness from their likes and dislikes. Swedenborg called them a person’s loves, and Gurdjieff used the more technical term of desires; they both find that all of a person’s measurements are subjective. 

The good, in other words, becomes what I like. One can’t think of a more twisted, self-centered piece of territory; and yet there it is. From this perspective, good is solely of the ego.

The feeling capacity in human beings, however, has the ability to encounter and sense objective good, that is, good in and of itself. This capacity isn’t accessible from ego and stands in antithesis to it; so the thinking mind believes it can know and understand it, even though its capacities, abilities and qualities are for all intents and purposes irrational. 

I know this sounds contradictory; yet if I look at the objective results of the egoistic understanding of goodness, I see it is these results- the violence, the conflict, the misunderstandings- that are in fact irrational. The results prove the cause; it's my rational belief in my own good that leads to the irrational expression of what is objectively bad, that is, harmful to myself and others. 

Hence I'm compelled to look towards the supposedly irrational capacity of feeling for a sensitivity to the good. Remember here that I speak of feeling, an altogether deeper and more sensitive part than emotion.

It turns out that feeling is rational, after all; its rationality is not, however, deductive, but intuitive. And it is this intuition towards the good, this inner teaching which arrives through the awakening of conscience, which can lead us. Feeling knows the good from a new perspective; and yet we have so little contact with it, we do not even know what the good is. 

From this perspective, the expression of the good ought to be very nearly instinctive, organic in me; my ability to sense it lies in my spiritual DNA itself. It is in my heart, which means, here, the very center of Being.

Yet I don’t know it properly. I don’t understand. And it is this need, to understand goodness from within the heart, that is so urgent for me; this need to understand the unknown goodness, the goodness that so much exceeds me.

The beginning of that unknown goodness might lie as close to me as the next inward breath; and perhaps I could begin by sensing it there.


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