Friday, March 25, 2016

A single impression of goodness

Drawing by the Author, 2016
Created on the iPad Pro with Procreate, using the Apple pencil.
February 25

Something struck me this morning at breakfast that hasn't occurred to me in exactly this way before, even after many years of experiencing it.

It's possible for a single impression of goodness to have a quite remarkable impact on one’s inner order. These impressions of goodness, which generally emanate directly from relationship with other people, come when an individual offers an openhearted and warm expression. 

No matter what the general being and overall constitution of that individual is, there is a certain moment where it's possible for the essence of God and of goodness to flow out of a person unimpeded. We all have that potential, to manifest on behalf of God in a loving way; and it almost always takes place, as it were, in an offhanded way, when we least expect it, and at that odd and unpredictable moment 99.9% of what we are in our ordinary way is somehow forgotten for an instant, allowing that bright light of divinity that exists within all mankind to shine forth.

When one sees such a manifestation, and receives it in a right way, one is filled with an inestimable and indescribable joy of Being, and an affirmation of the essential goodness of life and of people. This one instant, if it goes in the one deeply enough, can serve as an antidote for one hundred years of poison. That is to say, one instant of goodness is greater than ten thousand instants of evil.

Taking in such an impression provides a very fine and unusually powerful food for one's inward Being. It is, at the same time, a tiny thing; and it is just this kind of tiny thing, this very nearly unnoticeable instant, that brings the greatest grace. It's exactly what Meister Eckhart was referring to in his last instructions to his pupils, when he said that what is least in our own eyes is often greatest in God's.

It was notable to me this morning how this moment arose within relationship between two people; and with a complete stranger. In the instant that it took place, there was a radiance that transcends our ordinary Being. True, it was nothing more than a woman with an arm full of laundry saying hello to me in a corridor of the hotel; but it was also all men, and all women, and all the moments of good work that we can do together, our arms perhaps filled with laundry, but our hearts open to the possibility that we can, in some small and immediate measure, love one another — not with any demand or desire on the table, but just quite simply, knowing that to express this goodness is a right and sacred thing.


Lee van Laer is a senior editor at Parabola Magazine.

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